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Moist Cooking

Moist Cooking

About moist cooking methods

Moist cooking is done by cooking food in a liquid. Water, broth or many other liquids can be used. Here are some different kinds of moist cooking:

Poaching: You can poach food by heating liquid in a pan. The liquid should be hot but not bubbling. Poaching is used to cook delicate foods like eggs or fish.

Simmering: This method of cooking is done at hotter temperatures than poaching. Bubbles will form and gently rise to the top of the pan. The liquid will not be at a full, rolling boil. Simmering is used for making things like soup, stock and starchy foods like potatoes.

Boiling: This method of cooking requires a high temperature and will make some foods tough. Pasta is a food that is cooked by boiling.

Steaming: When a liquid is heated past its boiling point it turns to steam. Food cooks quickly with steam without losing nutrients. Food that is often cooked with steam are vegetables and seafood.

Blanching: This is the process of quickly boiling and then quickly cooling foods. The food is placed in boiling hot water for a short time. It is then immediately put in ice cold water to stop the cooking. Blanching is used mostly for fruits or vegetables.


You will need a pot or skillet large enough to hold the amount of food and liquid for your recipe.  A steaming basket is nice to have when you steam food. If you do not have a steamer basket you can also use a kitchen strainer or colander.

Tips for successful moist cooking


  • Poaching is a fast way to cook tender protein foods like eggs or fish.
  • Don’t stir or disturb the food too much so it doesn’t fall apart or break up.
  • Use the poaching liquid as a base for a sauce.
  • Poaching is a good way to cook without adding fat.
  • Heat the cooking liquid to a simmer and then gently slip the food into the liquid.


  • Most foods cooked in a liquid are simmered. Remember, do not bring the liquid to a full boil.
  • Vegetables are a good food to simmer. Watch them carefully so they do not get too soft.
  • Simmer vegetables just until done to keep the most nutrients and color.


  • Pasta is a great food to cook at a full, rolling boil.
  • Bring the liquid to a boil first, then add the food and bring back to a full boil.
  • Start counting the cooking time once the water has returned to a full boil.

Steaming Basics

Steaming is a fast and gentle way to cook food.

Steaming helps retain the shape and color of foods. It is a great way to prepare your favorite vegetables.

Steps in steaming vegetables:

  1. Bring water to a boil in a pan.
  2. Place vegetables in a steamer basket or a large kitchen strainer and place on top of the pot of water.
  3. Cover and steam until tender.
  4. Green vegetables keep their color best when the lid partially covers the pan.


  • If you plan to freeze fruits or vegetables, blanching should be done first.
  • Foods should only stay in boiling water for 3-7 minutes.
  • Quick cooling is important to make sure the foods still have their flavor, color, and vitamins after cooking.

Best foods for moist cooking

Many foods lend themselves to moist cooking.  Try using pasta, vegetables or fish using one of these methods.