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

Preferences for steaming of vegetables.

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The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK.



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.


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.


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.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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