The most nutritious steamed broccoli is cooked as soon as possible while submerging as little water as is needed, according to Harvard Medical School. Wise pruning, close monitoring, and rapid cooling are the keys to steaming broccoli successfully while preventing mold or losing nutrients.
There are three types of steaming baskets, but broccoli is steamed the same way regardless of the type of basket you are using.
Look for plates that are large enough to cover your cauldron and trap the steam if your pan doesn’t have a suitable lid. You must seal the steam in the pan or broccoli will not ripen.
Place pieces of broccoli in a skillet. Add 2 tablespoons of water. Cover the pan with a lid or large plate. Heat the pan with medium-high heat.
Cook broccoli for 4 minutes, watching carefully all the time. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water each time you observe that the pan is dry or no more steam. Frozen broccoli is less likely to require additional water because the remaining frost in the florets will melt and provide additional water.
Floret testing to assess maturity. Reassess broccoli after 1 minute of additional cooking if broccoli is not al dente the first time you test it.
Micro broccoli does not cause an increase in nutrient loss compared to other steaming methods, according to Harvard Medical School. Steaming in a microwave can even help broccoli maintain Vitamin C and other nutrients more effectively than other cooking methods.
Place the pieces of broccoli in a safe microwave bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of water. Cover the bowl with a tight cover or microwave-resistant plastic wrap.
Microwave broccoli with full power for 2 minutes. Break the broccoli and stir to promote even cooking. Microwaves have a tendency to heat food unevenly.
Cover broccoli again. Microwave for an additional 2 minutes. Floret testing to assess maturity.
Continue to microwave broccoli with 1 minute addition to al dente broccoli. Stir broccoli every time you taste it.
Note the total time needed to microwave steam broccoli for future reference. Microwaves vary slightly, so you should start testing early when you first use this cooking method. Once you know how long it will take to steam flowers in your microwave, you can stop for flavor tests less frequently in the future.
Soft broccoli is usually a product that is too ripe. Food retains heat even after you take it out of the heat source, and residual heat can be too long. Cool the florets as soon as they stop the cooking process and maintain the level of maturity you want.
Pour the broccoli into a bowl of ice water as soon as you determine it has the desired texture. Stir the florets until they’re warm, but not cold. Drain ice water and serve broccoli.
Transfer steamed broccoli to a filter, then hold it under cold running water until the broccoli is warm enough to touch. Gently shake the filter to remove excess water.