The One Tip To Remember When Steaming Spinach In The Microwave

Fresh spinach leaves
Fresh spinach leaves - Rouzes/Getty Images

A lot of people make a fuss about getting more vegetables into their diet, but it's actually pretty easy, as long as you like spinach. This versatile, leafy green can go almost anywhere your fork can go, like in a classic spinach dip, baked into a casserole, or tossed around with pasta. You can even add it to a smoothie or pureé it into juice. Sometimes, however, you just want a quick, easy side dish for a weeknight dinner, and for those occasions, it doesn't get any easier than steaming spinach in the microwave. If you have a bag in your fridge, all you need is a couple of handfuls and you'll be eating some hot, fresh, nutritious greens in less than two minutes. The only tip to remember, however, is to make sure you add a little bit of water to the dish that holds your spinach before placing it into the microwave.

You don't need much water to steam spinach in the microwave. Because of the unique way that the machines cook food, all you need are a few water molecules to create steam so that the water that's already present in the spinach doesn't escape, which would leave your leaves all dried out.

Read more: 10 Frozen Foods You Should Always Buy At Aldi

How Microwaves Steam Spinach

steamed spinach on a plate
steamed spinach on a plate - Alessio Orru/Shutterstock

Microwaves get a lot of scrutiny because of how they cook food. Basically, they create electromagnetic radiation, which causes certain molecules, like water, to move around. This creates friction, which creates heat. Most of us understand how things cook when we see a heat source like a burner or a broiler, but because microwaves just look like plastic boxes, it's easy to dismiss the machine as science fiction or dangerous (they're perfectly safe unless you sticking your body inside while it's working, according to the FDA). It's important to know how these machines work when steaming vegetables for the best possible results.

If you're ready to steam up some spinach in the microwave, remember to add a little water to whatever microwave-safe container you're using to hold the spinach. The electromagnetic radiation of the microwave will heat up the naturally occurring water inside the spinach leaves if there isn't any extra water in the container, which will then escape as steam. This could cause your leaves to dry out. If you put a little bit of water in the container, however, that water will heat up and turn into steam, which will cook the spinach just like it would in a steamer on the stovetop. This trick also works for heating up leftovers without drying them out. You don't need to do any sort of precise measuring when it comes to adding water for steaming -- just eyeball about half of what would fit in the palm of your hand. Once the spinach is cooked, you'll drain any extra water off anyway, so you won't need a lot; just a couple of tablespoons is enough to create the right amount of steam.

Cover The Dish When Microwaving Spinach

Spinach to be heated in the microwave
Spinach to be heated in the microwave - Tudorean Fotoschuting/Shutterstock

In addition to adding water to the container when you're steaming spinach in the microwave, it's also helpful to use a cover. If you cover the dish with a microwave-safe plate, or use a piece of plastic wrap (just make sure it doesn't touch the food), you'll trap any steam released, which will cook your spinach. This is especially important if you're making only a small portion of spinach, or if you have a large microwave, because the steam will dissipate throughout the space inside the machine. Covering the dish will force the steam to stay in the small area of the container.

Once your dish is covered, place it into the microwave and turn the appliance on high for a minute or two, or until all the spinach looks sufficiently wilted. You can season your spinach after removing it from the microwave with salt and pepper to taste. You'll want to avoid salting the greens before cooking, as salt can draw out water from food during the cooking process. With minimal ingredients and prep time, you'll have tender, fresh spinach to accompany lavish main courses as a side dish, or to enjoy in other recipes.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.