Yes, Steaming is Paleo!
Steaming: How Does It Work?
Steaming is the gentlest cooking method around and one of the best techniques for maximizing food taste and color. This way of cooking has been used for thousands of years. It has been thought to date back before the discovery of fire when people cooked food over hot springs or stones. It uses hot steam to cook the food. It is a healthy cooking technique that can be used for many kinds of food as it retains most foods’ nutritional contents.
Steaming is best for vegetables and seafood. It works by boiling water continuously causing it to vaporize into the steam. Water becomes steam when it is heated past the 212°F mark. The steam then carries the heat to the food, thus cooking it. The food is kept separately from the boiling water without direct contact to steam. This results to moist texture of food. With most steamers, a tight lid is available that allows the steam to cook through food. Normally, a food steamer is used for steaming but it can also be done in microwave or in a stove top using a pot or compartment steaming.
Benefits of Steaming
Steaming is Paleo and comes with several benefits:
- Keeps the structure of food. Most types of vegetables are quickly cooked with steaming without losing its shape. It does not destroy the structure of food.
- Avoids loss of nutrients. During steaming, there is minimal loss of vitamins and minerals. For example, with broccoli, 81% of its vitamins C are retained after steaming.
- Retains color and flavor of food. Steaming keeps the color, taste, juice and freshness of food. It is recommended to add some spices upon steaming to give the food a special taste.
- Softens food fibers. Steaming makes the food tender and digestible.
- Steaming is a low-calorie cooking method. Fat is not required in steaming. Therefore, for those who are looking after their cholesterol, it is the best method to be used for cooking because it is healthier and low in fat.
- Cooks almost everything. Steaming is not only suitable for vegetables and fish. Almost everything can be cooked by steaming. You can steam fruits, seafood, meat and poultry too. With thin slices of meat and seafood, food can be cooked in a couple of minutes.
- Saves time and energy. With steam cooking, food can be cooked simultaneously just with stacking trays. It is very economical and saves time as it does not require long cooking time. The fresher the food, the faster it cooks.
Tips on Steaming
Steaming is healthy and fun! To enjoy your steamed food, below are some tips that you can use.
- Keep the steam in the steamer. Since the steam carries the heat to the food to for it to be cooked evenly, use a tight fitting lid to keep the steam. Ensure that there are no gaps between the steaming trays (if you are doing multiple steaming).
- Time is of the essence. There are different cooking times for each type of food to be steamed. The thicker and larger the food, the more time it requires to steam cook. Lighter and smaller pieces of food can be cooked easily. Keep an eye on your cooking time.
- Keep the foods being steamed away from the water. As steaming uses steam to cook food, when the food touches the water, it will boil and not steam. Suspend the food at least 1 inch above the water.
- When doing simultaneous steaming, keep juicy foods at the bottom tier. Keep vegetables at the top tier and the meat, poultry and seafood at the bottom to avoid juices to be dripping onto the foods below.
- Add in extra flavor. And because steaming keeps the food’s natural flavour, it doesn’t mean it has to be bland. You can give extra taste to the food by adding some flavouring to the water using herbs and spices. The additional flavour will permeate the food as it cooks.
- Do not leave the food in the steamer after cooking. Although the heat is turned off after steam cooking, the food will continue to cook in its own heat. This will result to overcooked food.
- Watch out for the steam. Hot steam can cause painful and serious burns. Open the lid of the steamer facing away from you.
Click here to see what other cooking methods are Paleo.
What experts say about Steaming.. Is it Paleo?
“Slicing, sitting, and steaming is always a safe bet. For all these foods, try to embrace the bitterness. Love the bite, because that bite and that bitterness means you’re getting those interesting compounds.” – Mark Sisson
All you ever wanted to know about Steaming and Paleo
Paleo Leap. Cooking Vegetables for Optimum Nutrition. January 19 2015.
The World’s Healthiest Foods. Healthy Steaming Cooking Method
About Food. Steaming: Moist Heat Cooking Method
Hub Pages. 10 Reasons Why Steam Cooking Is Good For You
Healthy Food Corner. 6 benefits of steam cooking. March 12, 2013
Did we miss anything?
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photo credit: Gao Choy Go