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How to Steam Broccoli With a Metal Steamer

By Edited Nov 17, 2014 7 22

Fresh Vegetables vs Canned

Fresh Broccoli
Most of the vegetables we ate when I grew up either came from a can or were the frozen kind from Green Giant. When I moved out on my own, I learned about the nutritional value of fresh produce and began to explore a variety of recipes for preparing fresh vegetables. Cooking raw vegetables is not only easy, but the improved taste made a huge difference in convincing my young son to eat things like broccoli and cauliflower.

When I discovered cooking with a metal steamer, it opened an entire new world of preparation. Timing is key when preparing meals. To get everything on the dinner plate at the same time requires a bit of planning. Broccoli is easy to keep warm as it waits in the covered pan over hot water while the rest of your meal finishes cooking.

Cooking in a Metal Steamer

Vegetable steamer
This collapsible metal steamer takes up little space in the cabinet and is handy to steam a variety of raw food. They can be found at the grocery store, eBay or at Amazon. I own two of these which I bought long ago.

Metal steamers are versatile and work beautifully whether you're cooking broccoli, cauliflower, carrots or other raw produce. I've also used mine to cook frozen shrimp and the results were fantastic. Even frozen veggies turn out nicely when steamed. It's a great investment that you'll actually use and which will last you for many years.

Equipment That You'll Use for Years

Medium Sized Saucepan
The steamer should fit easily in a medium sized saucepan with a tight fitting lid. This Revere Ware copper bottom pan was a wedding gift that has stood the test of time and remained beautiful since the late sixties.

All that's required to keep the copper bottom shiny and clean is a sprinkling of Barkeeper's Friend and a light rubbing with a regular sponge. The inside of the pan can be cleaned with a quick scrubbing using an S.O.S. or a Brillo pad, even when food sticks or overcooks.

Choosing Raw Produce

Trimming Broccoli
There are a variety of choices when it comes to selecting raw produce. Sometimes it's quicker and easier to take a little help from the grocery store and use prepackaged fresh raw broccoli. This is usually found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store in the produce area.

We do a lot of shopping at stores like Costco and Sam's where bags of prepackaged produce are economically priced, already triple washed and ready to cook. This saves a volume of time and effort in preparation.

Placing the Vegetable in the Steamer

Broccoli in a metal steamer
If you want to take the time to buy broccoli in bulk, it's not difficult to separate the stalks from the bunch with a sharp knife. Trim off excess ends of the stalk and remove any wilted leaves as you would for fresh flowers. Our family doesn't particularly like the chewy stalk, but it is edible and can be chopped smaller and steamed until it becomes soft.

Once you've trimmed the produce the way you like it, arrange the florets on the metal steamer one layer deep. I like to put all the cut ends of the stalks facing toward the metal but that's not really necessary.

Cooked Broccoli
Add a small amount of water to the sauce pan and lower the filled vegetable steamer down snugly inside. The water should be shallow enough not to allow the broccoli to soak in the water. About an inch of water is usually enough to create a steam bath when it begins to boil.

Cover the pan with a snug fitting lid and place it over medium to medium high heat. Watch the process carefully to note when the water begins to boil underneath the steamer. It generally takes between five to eight minutes to cook, depending on your preferences of texture and firmness. You can steam the veggies longer for softer results or shorter if you prefer your veggies to have a firm texture.

When is it Done?

Nutrition Chart
Once you've prepared steamed broccoli a couple of times, you'll know when your broccoli is done by its smell and bright green color.

Your family may not realize the possible cancer preventing and antioxidant effects of broccoli, but they'll enjoy this tasty side dish that's so easy to prepare. Kids will eat more of this healthy green vegetable if you pour a nice cheese sauce over the top.

Broccoli has been around for at least 2,000 years, and was considered a valuable food source even as far back as the Roman empire. It's rich in fiber, Vitamin K, Vitamin A and Vitamin E. One serving of cooked broccoli provides 303% of the daily requirement of Vitamin C which is even more than orange juice.

Revere 1400 Line 3-Quart Covered Saucepan
Amazon Price: $31.03 $21.99 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 17, 2014)
I have a set of these copper bottom pans that have served me well for over forty years. They make a great Christmas or Wedding gift for a new household.


Jan 7, 2010 1:13am
Great article on preparing a dish that is good for you in so many ways.
Jan 7, 2010 4:58am
Yes Brocoli is one of the good guys so they say.Welcome to info barrel
Jan 7, 2010 10:01am
JHKersey, Hi. Thanks for commenting. As you can see from the weird characters in the text I'm still trying to figure out editing. Hope the revised edition comes out soon. Looking forward to seeing you again on InfoBarrel.
Jan 7, 2010 10:07am

You can get rid of those characters EASILY, by simply using Notepad. I'm not 100% sure of the technical aspects behind WHY this happens...

But here is what I do:

1) Write my articles in Microsoft Word
2) Cut and Paste to Notepad
3) Cut and Paste to Info Barrel

I'm not sure WHY this is, but, even with one extra step, I still really appreciate the ease of things around here. It doesn't take over an hour just to publish an article (as has been my experience elsewhere).

....of course, with How-to articles, you'll have to cut and paste each step individually, into notepad. You could also just write your articles strait into the submission form, however, I wouldn't recommend that...especially if you have very lengthy articles.

P.s. Nice article. I love broccoli. :)
Jan 7, 2010 2:06pm
just in case you missed it, thinkwrite...an infobarrel admin ALREADY addressed your 'age' suggestion/concern, over on the forum ;) :)
Feb 21, 2010 9:20am
Actually I had that problem with my first two or three articles, but I am still using office, MS Word. And I do not have any problems I write in it and just copy and paste and wella no probs at all.
Jan 7, 2010 10:03am
eileen, thanks for the welcome and for reading and commenting. Will be checking out your site now that I've met you!
Jan 12, 2010 4:43pm
Thank you x3xsolxdierx3x for the editing help. Turns out this was caused when I tried to add pictures, I browsed and didn't hit the add button. I submitted a revised edit in the interim which had not been processed.

Yes! I did notice an immediate response from the team to address my concerns over the age posting. Very nice - encouraging.
Feb 3, 2010 1:48pm
Broccoli is so good for you. THis sounds a good way to cook it.
Feb 4, 2010 10:56am
You just made me want steamed brocolli at 10:00 am!
Feb 5, 2010 9:30am
Hi JHKersey, sorry it took so long to acknowledge your comment. Thanks for reading and hope to read some of your work soon.
ethelsmith, Sooooo easy. You can do cauliflower this way too!
CWilliams, How about a broccoli and cheese omlet for brunch? Yummm.
Feb 23, 2010 6:32pm
I love broccoli! That is my favorite food.
Jun 29, 2010 5:12pm
Great tips on steaming broccoli the old fashioned way, I have an old vegetable steamer haven't use it in a while. Going to put up the electric one and go back to using the metal steamer and a saucepan. Thanks.
Jun 30, 2010 6:57pm
Ewww... broccoli?! Well, I guess alot of people really do like it. :)
Jul 1, 2010 9:59am
Kristara - broccoli is one of the good guys when it comes to nutrition. I used to prepare it from frozen packages, but it's so much better fresh.

Lynsuz - Sometimes the fancy gadgets are more trouble than they are worth. I love the simplicity of the metal steamer. It's also good for steaming other vegetables.
Jul 1, 2010 10:01am
snowfence, Even my baby nephew eats it. He calls it trees. "More trees" he yells from his high chair, banging his little fist on the plastic tray.
Jul 1, 2010 1:20pm
Sometimes simple things are the best and preparing broccoli doesn't get any easier than this. I have the same publishing problem and solution as X3X. Just can't copy and paste from Word directly to IB, have to put in the middleman. I'm on a Mac so for me that's Stickies. I can copy from Stickies to IB with no problem.
Jul 6, 2010 8:58am
divaonline - Amazingly simple to cook broccoli. Thanks for stopping in. I haven't experienced a problem with copy-paste from Word but I'm on an HP.
Jul 7, 2010 4:08pm
Great recipe for steaming broccoli. I have also discovered the new steamer bags for steaming vegetables. They work great!
Jul 8, 2010 3:13pm
Deborah-D, Steamer bags are a good way to go too. Anything that makes life easier while cooking. Thanks for stopping in.
Jul 23, 2010 10:56am
Thanks, a great article.
Jul 23, 2010 1:13pm
Thanks for stopping by Margielynn, and for your nice comment.
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