The Food Lab: How to Steam Vegetables in the Microwave

A microwave is a great tool for heating or defrosting food, but it typically isn’t our go-to for making food. It can be with a few tweaks and adjustments and can be perfect for steaming. While the steam bags may be tempting to get, why pay more when you can get the same results without that extra expense. The key seems to be triple layering with moistened paper towels. This keeps in the heat and allows the steam and water to invade the vegetables effectively. They give a handy list of times and special preps as well, but now you can do this at home effectively and efficiently without the expensive bags.

Key Takeaways:

  • Microwaves cook by friction, not by heat or convection, so the more water an item contains, the more effective the microwave will be.
  • One of the drawbacks to cooking meat, the lack of heat/convection means the meat will not brown but will come out looking a little anemic and flaccid
  • Steaming is something a microwave does very well, especially vegetables for which you want to maintain crispness

“The microwave has some severe limitations as a cooking tool.”

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