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Cook your veggies the quick and healthy way – in the microwave

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Green, leafy vegetables with high water content do not require the addition of water when cooked in the microwave – helping to preserve the nutrients in them.Microwaves like the EMS2048X have auto-cook programs that can find the optimal settings for cooking your vegetables.

Microwave ovens are typically seen as a quick and easy solution for reheating food and defrosting frozen ingredients quickly. Did you know that they can also be one of the most useful appliances for cooking fresh vegetables?

Leafy Vegetables

Photo Credit: Freedigitalphotos.net
Green, leafy vegetables with high water content do not require the addition of water when cooked in the microwave – helping to preserve the nutrients in them.

Microwaves cook food by vibrating water molecules within the food, thus producing the heat required to cook it. It does not change the chemical composition of the food in any way. Fresh vegetables, with their high water content, can be cooked more quickly than other foods in the microwave oven.

Any cooking method utilising heat and water tends to  destroy the very nutrients that make vegetables good for us. The longer the food is cooked and in more water, the more nutrients will be lost from the vegetable.

This makes microwave ovens’ quick cooking times and limited use of water in the cooking process , more suited for steaming and blanching vegetables. Spinach, for example, loses about 77% of its folate when boiled on the stove, but retains nearly all of it when cooked in a microwave.

Microwaves like the EMS2048X have auto-cook programs that can find the optimal settings for cooking your vegetables.

Microwaves like the EMS2048X have auto-cook programs that can find the optimal settings for cooking your vegetables.

Generally, to cook vegetables in a microwave oven like the Electrolux EMS3067X or EMS2048X, simply place them in a microwave-safe dish and add a small amount of water depending on the vegetables being cooked. Leafy vegetables like spinach and cabbage may not need water at all, as they have a high water content – the water left on them from being washed should suffice.

Simply cover the dish with a safe plastic wrap and poke several holes or leave a corner open to allow the steam to vent.

Microwave ovens like the EMS3067X and EMS2048X come with auto-cooking features that optimise the time required to cook varying amounts of vegetables with just a few turns of the control knob.

For those whose microwaves do not come with auto-cook programmes or if you prefer to use manual settings, here are some tips for cooking some popular vegetables in the microwave.

Asparagus

Trim the root ends from the asparagus spears and cut the remaining spear into 2-inch or equal lengths. Fill the dish with about ¼ cup of water, then add the spears and cover the dish with plastic wrap. Cook on a high power setting for three minutes, then stir. Cook for another three to four minutes until the spears are slightly tender.

Broccoli

Cut up the broccoli into bite-sized florets before placing them in the microwave dish. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water for every pound of broccoli. Microwave the broccoli on a high setting for 3 to 5 minutes.

Corn

Pull off any brown silk covering the corn, rinse it and place them in the microwave. Have the narrow end pointing towards the centre of the oven and cook for 5 minutes on a high setting, then turn the ears over and repeat.

Spinach

Simply place half a pound of washed spinach into the microwave dish and cover with plastic wrap. Cook on a high power setting for 4 to 6 minutes until the spinach is tender.

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