Using a stovetop steamer to cook vegetables requires the pot, water, steaming tray, lid and vegetables. Steaming vegetables is more consistent if the vegetables are chopped into similar sizes.
While stovetop steamers come in a variety of styles and sizes, most require filling the bottom of the stovetop steamer pot with a few cups of water to begin. Ensure the water is not touching the steamer tray. Bring the water to a boil to create the steam, and place the vegetables in the steaming tray after that. Place a lid on top of the pot and allow vegetables to steam.
Different vegetables require different amounts of steaming time. Peas, arugula and spinach only require about 3 minutes of steaming to cook properly. Denser vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, potatoes and kale typically require between 8 and 20 minutes of steaming, depending on the desired consistency and texture. When steaming mixed vegetables, place vegetables that require a longer cooking time in the steamer pot first, then add the vegetables that require less cooking time.
The National Institutes of Health suggests steaming vegetables helps maintain many of their nutrients, such as vitamins and phytochemicals. Other methods, such as boiling, frying and baking, can make vegetables lose their vital nutrients.