Preferences for steaming of vegetables

J Hum Nutr Diet. 2010 Feb;23(1):108-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-277X.2009.01018.x. Epub 2009 Nov 23.


Background: Steaming retains vitamins and phytochemicals in vegetables better than boiling; thus, it is important to promote this cooking method. The present study aimed to determine what vegetable would be best to use in a campaign to promote steaming.

Methods: Carrots, broccoli and green cabbage were boiled, steamed or microwave steamed. Untrained assessors (n = 50) evaluated the sensory properties of appearance, texture, taste and overall acceptability using a hedonic rating test on a scale from 1-9. Average scores for overall acceptability were calculated for each type of cooking according to the assessors' usual cooking method.

Results: For all features, steaming and microwave steaming were rated significantly higher than boiling for broccoli (for acceptability 6.2 and 7.1 versus 5.1; P < 0.001), whereas carrots were similarly considered better for flavour and overall acceptability. Generally, cabbage was rated lower for all features, with no differences amongst the cooking methods (4.9-5.2 for acceptability). Only two of twenty-one subjects who usually boil vegetables preferred the boiled vegetables in the present study.

Conclusions: Generally, steaming and microwave steaming were preferred for certain vegetables, even by those who normally boil them. Barriers to change need to be considered when planning the promotion of steaming as a regular method of cooking vegetables, although it may be more convincing to use vegetables such as broccoli that are perceived as being most acceptable when steamed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cooking / methods*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences*
  • Health Promotion*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Steam*
  • Taste
  • Vegetables*
  • Young Adult


  • Steam