Steamed and raw vegetables are two of the most healthful ways to prepare vegetables. Although both styles are very healthy, there are differences between the two. Raw vegetables, as the name implies, are vegetables that have been prepared for eating by cleaning and perhaps slicing. Steamed vegetables have been cleaned and perhaps sliced, but they have also been steamed.
Steaming is the process of cooking over hot water. The vegetables are often placed in a metal basket that is then placed over a pan of boiling water. The steam from the boiling water heats the vegetables in the basket, cooking them. Steaming a vegetable has many advantages over the more traditional vegetable preparation method of boiling.
Steamed and raw vegetables both retain many more of their vitamins and minerals than vegetables that are boiled. When people boil vegetables, they typically cook them for an extended period of time. They drain the water from the vegetables, rinsing away most of the nutrients as well.
The short period of time that a vegetable is steamed, as well as the fact that it is not immersed in water, allows it to retain most of its vitamins and minerals. Compare a plate of steamed green beans to a plate of boiled green beans. The steamed beans will be vibrantly green and crisp-tender, while the boiled beans will be a pale shade of green and very limp. It is easy to see which style retains more of its original, raw characteristics.
While most vegetable that are served raw are more nutritious than even steamed vegetable, steaming does have an advantage over raw. Many vegetables, such as broccoli, are difficult for some people to digest raw. Eating a wide variety of vegetables is an important component of a healthy lifestyle. If you avoid certain vegetables because they bother your stomach, you are shortchanging your health. Steaming vegetables that you find difficult to digest can make them easier on your stomach.
Steamed and raw vegetables can be dressed up in a variety of ways. If your favorite vegetable recipes call for cheese sauce or French fried onions, don’t get discouraged. A drizzle of olive oil, the addition of spices such as rosemary or sage or some coarsely ground sea salt can all liven up the taste of steamed and raw vegetables. It may take some trial and error to find your favorite combination, but keep experimenting.