Steamed Veggies

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Head Chef
Mar 21, 2008
Haledon, New Jersey
Every time I buy sonething convenient at the grocery store, someone here at DC tells me how to make it way better and for less $$. For example, I like the spreadable butter that I learned to make here much more than the stuff at the store. Lately, I have been getting Hotel Bar Butter for $1.50 a pound, so it is cheaper.

Anyway, here is my latest question. There are but tow of us in the house. Often, fresh veggies go bad, because we just don't get to them in time. I have turned to buying the steam in the bag veggies and the results are good. Since they are rather loosely packed, I suspect that freezer burn is an issue that I may hit upon. Is there a way to "Make my own" steam in the bag setup? I am sort of thinking pressure cooker, but, having never used one I don't know if there is a time savings. Yes it cooks quickly, but how about the "door to door" time. Set up steam to get the air out and then cook?

Thank You In Advance
What I do with alot of my veggies is blanch, shock and freeze them.

bring some water up to a boil. put in veggies for a few seconds remove when aldente and put into ice water. I think put them on a paper towel and dry them. Stick them in a ziplock and label with date.

Now you have ready to go veggies. And all teh stuff that goes bad you can do this with most of them.
Blanching and freezing is definitely a good way to preserve produce. The blanching stops the enzyme action that spoils the veggie and the ice bath stops it from actually cooking. Big pieces can be quick frozen on a tray first so they don't stick together when bagged. Use a FoodSaver vacuum bag if possible to avoid freezer burn. Air is the enemy of frozen foods.

Have you learned how to make your own spreadable butter which doubles the amount of butter you have? Just beat one half cup of lukewarm water into one softened stick (1/2 cup) of butter. If you use a mixer, start slowly to prevent splattering. Add small amounts of water at a time and keep beating until the water is thoroughly incorporated into the butter. The mixture will be smooth and fluffy, and you will end up with one cup of soft butter. Put in a covered container and refrigerate. It will firm up when cold. You will not notice a difference. Not for use in baking however.

I also dehydrate a lot of my produce if it becomes too ripe to be useful in a recipe, including the leaves & leftovers from chopping celery bunches. Carrots, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, all of these get dried and then used later in soups, stews etc. Dehydrated foods last forever.

Pressure cooking for vegetables is not that practical since the cook time is too short. By the time you got the cooker up to pressure it would be time to take them out. Most vegetables only require brief sauteing or steaming to make them eatable. You never want to overcook veggies.

If you don't have a FoodSaver yet, it might be something you will want to invest in some day. In the US they also have a new Reynolds (Aluminum) "Handi-Vac" portable bag sealer which I love since the bags are ziploc so I use them for items I need to open the bag often for.
Thank you both for your info.

I have a foodsaver and a handivac. I find them useful in different ways.

Blanch / shock / freeze seems to be the ticket.

Will this work with scallions?

I see the point on pressure cookers.

I am desperately trying to get DW to agree to a new freezer. We have 2 fridges. The second one is a side by side and just dosen't get it for freezer space.

The price of a WMF pressure cooker would put a heck of a dent in a freezer.

i have had success by just poking 8 10 small holes with a toothpick in a regular ziplock bag, right along the zip closure, then cooking just like the store bought ones.

So I vacuum seal them, then when I want to microwave them I poke my holes and in it
Scallions or green onions are in a nice category of freezing either way - blanching is not required but you can do it. I just chop them up, freeze on a tray, and then store away in a bag until needed. The texture changes a little so maybe not good for salads, but same as fresh for everything else.

GrillingFool, I would not recommend microwaving your ziplock bags. They are NOT designed for that and you will get a chemical transfer. This can be easily researched on the internet. Don't take my word for it. Same for boiling because people were doing that for cooking eggs. Not good.
If you convince him about how much money you will save by having all this bought in season and then used later on i think youll be good to go.

You can get a good freezer chest for liek $150 and put it in the garage with out any issues. out of the way and great for meats and veggies to stay in long term. defrost as needed. etc.. it will payfor its self in no time.
I believe that contrary to what you say about pressure cooking being too fast and not practical, I use my pressure cooker for cooking everything from summer to winter squash. The former takes 30 seconds or so with a quick-pressure release, with the latter taking 3 minutes with a quick pressure release or shorter and let it sit. The big benefit is that the vegetables come out looking bright and fresh since it cooks so quickly and the air is locked out. You might want to give it a try.
Ziploc has just come out with bags meant specifically for steaming veggies in the microwave. Just saw a commercial for them the other day.
They've been out for awhile, along with Glad Steamer Bags.
You could just buy regular frozen veggies and steam them in your microwave or on the stovetop. I'd guess they are cheaper than the ones in special steamable bags.
Adillo - do you have a pic of say a chicken breast sealed with the Handivac? I was htinking about buying one, I just want to see how well it does.
We buy those frozen veggie or rice assortments that you nuke in the bag. They taste pretty good and is a real quick side.

Edit: The Green Giant "Medleys" rotf
In following the original poster's question about an alternative to the steam bags some veggies come in, I think the Ziplock or Glad steamable bags might be the only alternative, other than just steaming on the stovetop. These bags are much thicker than normal bags and I've been cleaning and reusing them numerous times, which would bring the inital cost down substantially.

For freezing foods in general, the FoodSaver vacuum system can't be beat and those bags can be microwaved or boiled in water, which opens more doors for potential meal-in-a-bag options. I, for example, will cook up batches of brown rice that take a long time to make, putting single-serve portions in a FoodSaver bag and freeze. Then I only have to reheat in a microwave or boiling water later.

I do not know if the Reynolds handi-bag bags are microwave or boiling water safe.
Jeeks - I'll get you a pix tonight.

Mcnerd - I do not think the handivac bags are for microwave or boiling. Their greatest value is the open take a little out and revacuum. I know you can do this with Foodsaver, it does keep making the bag shorter. Also the Handivac is battery operated. Grab it, push the button and you are off.

Foodsaver is more reusable. It can be done with Handivac.

I think my final answer is better panning and freezing. I would like to try canning, not this year.

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