Cooking method whereby food is placed on a rack or in a special steamer basket over simmering water in a covered pan. Steaming does a better job than boiling or poaching of retaining a food's flavor, shape, texture and many of the nutrients. Special steamer inserts can be purchased for almost any saucepan. There are also asparagus steamers, which are about eight inches tall and specifically designed for this vegetable. However you steam food, make sure the pan has a tight-fitting lid to retain the moisture.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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