How to Steam Carrots to Retain Nutritional Content
Steamed carrots are a quick and easy side dish that go well with almost any meal. Steaming is one of the healthiest ways to cook vegetables, as it retains their nutritional content, along with their color, flavor and texture. You can steam carrots in a steamer basket, in the microwave, or in a frying pan (if you have to). All three methods are outlined below.
Method 1 Steaming in a Steamer Basket
2. Prepare the carrots. To serve four people, you will need about 1 1/2 lbs of carrots. Wash the carrots thoroughly in cold water to remove any remaining dirt or pesticides. Chop off the stems of the carrots with a small knife, then peel them using a vegetable peeler. You can then cut up the carrots any way you like: you can leave them whole, slice or dice them, or cut them into rounds.
4. Put the basket over the boiling water. Make sure the water does not reach the bottom of the steamer basket. If the carrots are immersed in water they will be boiled, rather than steamed.
5. Cover the saucepan. Use a lid to cover the saucepan, but don’t cover it completely. Leave a small gap on one side to allow the steam to vent.
6. Steam the carrots until they are tender. This should take 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of the chunks.
You can check the carrots for doneness by sticking a fork into them. If it slides in easily, the carrots are done.
Although this is the recommended cooking time, you can steam the carrots for as long or short a time as you want, depending on whether you like your carrots very soft or extremely crisp.
7. Drain the carrots into a colander.
8. Transfer them to a serving dish.
9. Add any flavors or seasoning. While the carrots are still hot, you can mix in any flavors of your choice. They work very well drizzled with a teaspoon of melted butter, or quickly sauteed with a little olive oil, some garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice. And don’t forget the salt and pepper.
Method 2 Steaming in the Microwave
1. Prepare the carrots. To serve four people, you will need about 1 1/2 lbs of carrots. Wash the carrots thoroughly in cold water to remove any remaining dirt or pesticides. Chop off the stems of the carrots with a small knife, then peel them using a vegetable peeler. You can then cut up the carrots any way you like: you can leave them whole, slice or dice them, or cut them into rounds.
2. Place the carrots in a microwave-safe bowl. Add a tablespoon of water to the carrots and cover the bowl with microwave-safe cling wrap.
3. Microwave the carrots on high. Cook them in the microwave until tender, this should take about 4 to 6 minutes. You can check the carrots with a fork to see if they’re done.
If they need a little more time, place them back in the microwave and cook in one-minute intervals until they are just right.
4. Serve the carrots. While the carrots are still in the microwave-safe bowl, add in the flavorings or seasoning of your choice. A teaspoon of melted butter and a little salt and pepper is always a good option. Transfer the carrots to a serving dish and serve immediately.
Method 3 Steaming in a Frying Pan
1. Wash and peel the carrots, and remove the stems. Chop the carrots into rounds, cut them into slices, or dice them into bite-size chunks.
2. Add one inch of water to a large frying pan. Salt the water and bring to the boil.
4. Cover the frying pan with a lid and leave to simmer until the water has evaporated and the carrots are cooked. You can add more water to the pan if necessary.
Be aware that carrots cooked in this way are not steamed in the true sense of the word, as the vegetables are cooked in water.
However this is a good alternative to steaming if you don’t have a steamer basket or microwave, and produces a similar result.
Image titled Steam Carrots Step 18