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How to quickly steam fresh vegetables in the microwave

Stop buying frozen, steam-in-bag vegetables from the grocery store. Save money and time by buying fresh vegetables and steaming them with a microwave and a little cling wrap.

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Taylor Martin/CNET

It should come as no surprise that you can steam vegetables in the microwave.

Virtually every grocery store has an entire frozen vegetables section, many of which can be steamed right in the bag. Toss the bag in the microwave, set the cook time to match your microwave's wattage and wait.

However, if you only have fresh vegetables in your kitchen, you can steam them just as quickly and easily with a microwave and a little cling wrap.

Start by preparing the vegetables. Give them a good rinse and cut away any trimmings. Next, chop the vegetables into bite-size pieces and add them to a microwave safe bowl. Stretch a piece of cling wrap over the top of the bowl very tightly.

The time needed to fully steam the vegetables depends on two things: the power of your microwave and the type of vegetable.

At home, in my 1,000-watt microwave, steaming one large, chopped broccoli crown took around 1 minute and 30 seconds to fully steam. Grant Crilly of ChefSteps tells Tested that vegetables like carrots won't take as long as broccoli. But you will have to play with times to figure out which work best in your microwave for different vegetables.

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Taylor Martin/CNET

Set your microwave to full power and pop the bowl of vegetables in or one minute. If they aren't fully steamed, continue microwaving them in 30 second increments.

Remove the bowl from the microwave, season to taste and enjoy!

This method of steaming vegetables is efficient for essentially all types of vegetables. The microwave exploits the existing water content of the vegetables to quickly steam them. It also makes cleanup a breeze. If you and your significant other can't agree on which steamed vegetable to cook for dinner, you can each have the one you want with minimal effort and cleanup.