Are Steamer Bags Worth the Money?
March 31, 2014 | Peggy Martin
I’m all for increasing the amount of vegetables in the diet. Vegetables provide nutrients we can’t get from other foods plus they are low in calories and high in fiber. I also think frozen vegetables are a great value. They are usually flash frozen right after they are picked so they may have more nutrients than fresh vegetables that have spent a long time traveling across the country. Sometimes they are less expensive than fresh vegetables, and they are already cleaned and prepared.
A few years ago manufacturers began selling frozen vegetables that can be microwaved in the bag they are sold in. Microwave steam bag vegetables are supposed to be a healthy solution for those who want to increase their vegetable intake without sacrificing convenience. These “steamers” have gotten so popular that it is hard to find frozen bags of vegetables that are not “steamers”.
I just don’t get why these are so popular!
1) They are more expensive. An ounce of frozen mixed vegetables in the steamer bags in central Iowa cost between $.10 to $.14 an ounce. While the same food in plain plastic bag cost $.08-.09 ounce. (Sometimes the bags cost the same, but the “steamer” bags had only ¾ as much as the plain bags).
2) I can’t see that they save much time or save washing dishes.
a. The advantage of frozen bags of vegetables has always been that you could take out just what you need and put the rest back in the freezer. With “steamer” bags you have to cook the whole bag to get the steamer effect. I think this leads to wasted leftover vegetables.
b. Unless you serve the vegetables in the plastic bag you still have to get a container dirty.
I cook frozen vegetables without the aid of this specialized packaging. All it takes is a microwave safe serving bowl and some ordinary plastic wrap or a lidded microwave-safe container. I put about a cup of vegetables per person in the bowl, add about 1 tablespoon of water, cover and cook on high 2-5 minutes, depending on how much is in the bowl. If you’re unsure how much time is needed, start at two minutes. Keep cooking the vegetables for an additional one minute at a time until hot.
Before you jump on the steaming bag trend, make sure you compare the price per ounce and think about whether it will really save you time.