Water bathing, boiling, steaming    Play Audio
Module 4, Unit 1, Level: Basic

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Water bathing

Food elaboration techniques, traditional cooking, water bathing, boiling, steaming, nutrient conservation, healthy cooking, fat free



Water bathing, boiling, steaming
Food elaboration and consumption techniques, also known as culinary techniques, are very important since they imply the processes of preparing, processing, chopping, and washing the food in order to preserve it properly and make it digestible and tasty. Furthermore, through the different elaboration techniques that we will learn in the units of this module, we will be able to enhance food texture (tenderise it for its consumption), its smell and flavour (with spices, aromatic herbs and other ingredients), and its presentation, to prepare traditional and very delicious dishes.

In this unit we will learn three basic culinary techniques: water bathing, boiling, and steaming.
Dificulty/time required   Cheap / affordable / expensive  
With this technique, food can be cooked homogeneously, and as it does not receive direct heat, the risk of burning the food is avoided. This technique also allows the conservation of food nutrients. It can be applied in any cooker, be it gas, induction, glass ceramic stove, or in the oven. It is a fantastic method to prepare desserts of preserved food.

This technique allows vegetables to be cooked in a healthy way, although almost any food is suitable to be boiled. Greases are not required for its elaboration, what allows a slow digestion. Although during the process the foods will lose some vitamins and minerals, these will be kept in the water, so we can leverage the liquid to make broths, sauces or creams.

This is an easy, healthy and economical technique. By not entering in direct contact with the liquid, foods preserve their nutrients better. This is the best method to cook fish, seafood and vegetables.
Representative Products
Vegetables (i.e., steamed Romanesco), legumes (i.e., vegetable soup with spinach), eggs (i.e., devilled eggs), fish (i.e., steamed sea bass, sea bream, salmon) seafood (i.e., steamed mussels), meat (i.e., tripe), flan (i.e., vanilla flan, Catalan cream), dessert, preserved food (i.e., canned vegetables).
One of the risks we must avoid is food contamination, which can be of three types: biologic, chemical or physical. We must also avoid cross-contamination. This occurs when raw food (not washed) is in contact with cooked one, when the cook’s hands or the cookware are not clean or when the small recipient in water bathing is not well sealed and the water enters in it for example. Other risks we must bear in mind are water overflowing when boiling or to avoid food fermentation by overcooking it. (For more information see Module 3, Advance level, Unit 5)

To be able to consume food healthily, we must preserve it in the appropriate place and at a good temperature, we can freeze it (only those suitable for the freezer), wash it very well before cooking it, and keep a continuous hand-wash and cleaning of the cookware that we use for cooking.
Further references

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