Quick Recipes and Easy

A Primer on Waterless Cooking

Much research has been done on how to get the most nutrition from the foods we eat. Many articles on waterless cooking cite the following research:
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University indicates that maximizing the nutritional quality of your diet may slow down age-related problems that are otherwise thought of as inevitable.” As far back as 1982, the New York Times recognized this, and said,” The three R’s for nutrient preservation are to reduce the amount of water used in cooking, reduce the cooking time and reduce the surface area of the food that is exposed.” Proper waterless cooking does all three!
This article will show you how to gain the maximum nutritional benefits to your meals with waterless cooking methods.

Waterless cooking is NOT, as the name implies, really free of water. Instead, a small amount of water is placed at the bottom of the pot or pan (usually ¼ to ¾ inch) and the lid is tightly fastened on the cookware. Proper cookware design then allows this small amount of water to circulate and combine with the natural juices of the fruit or vegetable. This in turn locks in up to 98% of the minerals and vitamins, instead of losing up to 42% of the food’s vitamins and minerals by normal boiling. Boiling dissolves water soluble minerals and sterilizes your food – destroying the color and flavor. This is why you need to add butter and salt to make your food taste excellent.

A excellent set of waterless cookware will have several characteristics: It is usually made of multi-ply layered construction for strength, rigidity and brilliant Heat Transfer. The covers will be designed and manufactured to give a tight, repeatable moisture seal. Since the heat is so evenly distributed there’s less chance of burning or sticking, which makes the pots simpler to clean. And of course you don’t have to use oil to prevent sticking. The handles and knobs should be quality, heat resistant plastics. The set should have different sized pots and pans for different jobs. You might want to have “see-through” covers to minimize the temptation to peek. And obviously, you shouldn’t have to break the bank to own it!

Start with a correctly sized pot or pan, filled not more than ¾ of capacity, and preferably only 2/3 the way. Rinse your fruits or vegetables in cold water, and drain thoroughly. Add ¼ to ¾ inch of water into the pan depending on the size of the pan (the large the pot or pan, the more water, but start with the least amount, you can add more later if needed). NEVER ever place cold water into a hot utensil, you WILL get scalded!
Start cooking on MEDIUM heat, and NEVER go higher. When cooking with gas, make sure the flame only contacts the bottom of the pan to prevent discoloration. Leave the steam control valve open until it starts to whistle, then turn down the heat to LOW or SIMMER and close the control valve. The steam and the design of the lid will cause an air-tight seal to form at the edge of the cookware. Solid foods such as potatoes or carrots take about five minutes before the steam control whistles. Watery foods, such as apples, cabbage or onions, take about three minutes. Now, following the suggested times below, let your food cook. Remember that these times are a GUIDE only, and cooking time will depend on the texture you want (the less you cook, the crisper your food will be), plus the quantity and size of your parts. DO NOT remove the lid to peek, as this will cause more of the nutrients to be lost! This will also lengthen the cooking time. At the end of the cooking period, carefully open the steam release valve and remove the lid. Voila! Tasty, nutritious food! No butter or salt necessary because it already tastes fantastic! If you still feel you need to have the taste of butter in your foods, add a small amount when you are done cooking, or use any of several spices instead.

Suggested Cooking Times (After you close the Steam Control Valve)

Always try to keep cooking times to a minimum!

Asparagus 10-15 min.
Beans-Green 15-30 min.
Beans,Lima 30-35 min.
Beets 30-40 min.
Broccoli 15-30 min.
Brussels Sprouts 10-20 min.
Cabbage (shredded) 15 -20 min.
Cauliflower (florets) 10-20 min.
Eggplant 5-10 min
Cauliflower (whole) 20-30 min.
Carrots (1/2 in. cuts) 20-25 min.
Carrots, sliced 15-20 min.
Cut Corn 8-12 min.
Corn on Cob 15-20 min.
Lima Beans 25-35 min.
Mushrooms 4-6 min.
Peas 10-15 min.
Potatoes (quartered) 20-25 min.
Potatoes (whole-sm.) 35-40 min.
Spinach 10-15 min.
Squash, summer 15-20 min.
Squash, winter 25-30 min.
Tomatoes 10-15 min.
Turnips (whole) 20-25 min.

The same principles we’ve discussed above can also be applied to greaseless cooking of meat or fish. Simply heat the pan to medium, brown the meat three to four minutes until it loosens and can be turned, back off the heat to simmer, turn the meat and cook for three to four more minutes. For larger cuts, brown the meat as above, then cook the meat 15-20 minutes per pound on low heat, covered and with the steam valve closed. That’s all there is to it!

Finally, delight in the tasty taste of nutritious, reduced stout meals!
By: Roger Koss Kiss The Cook!

Roger Koss has published articles in the Macmillan Space Reference and various magazines. He is the owner and operator of a retail website, Kiss The Cook!, which sells fine kitchen tools and cookware at affordable prices.

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