Do you salt the water when boiling vegetables ?

I usually steam vegetables , but tonight I am boiling my green beans . Do you add salt to the water or not . Maybe it had something to do with the brightness of color when finished . So since we are on the subject . Your best way to boil or steam vegetables ?

In the MW with just a little water. Yes on the salt.

I will add the salt . They are about ready to go in . Thanks

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Always with salt, especially potatoes. To stop green vegetables turning yellow, need to stop the heat instantly by putting vegetables in cold water (with ices) for a little while.

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Hi, emglow:

Yes, mostly. Whether I boil, steam, nuke or saute, I find that first blanching in highly salted water and then icebathing fixes the colors, especially of green vegetables.


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Always. I also like to use a 1/4 cube of knorr chicken bouillon for carrots, yum.

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Add me to the chorus of “yes” votes. New thing for me, but I really find that the salt enhances the vegetables.

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I havnt cooked with salt for years.

I work to the assumption that if folk don’t find the food salty enough for their tastes, they can always add it to the food on the plate (personally, I don’t).

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About the only veggies I boil in water are potatoes, and carrots, for which I do add a pinch of salt to the water and a small piece of lemon to help keep the color.
All others are steamed, and I generally add a few drops of lemon to the water to again help keep the color, but no salt.

Yes, I add salt to vegetable cooking water, even when I steam. Adding it later does not produce the same flavor.

However, when I have guests and don’t know if they prefer a low-salt diet, I keep salt to a minimum in the cooking and offer it at the table.

I steam or microwave all vegetables, having come late to the realization the the more water used, the less flavor and the more nutrient loss. I haven’t found it necessary to acidify for color - the only time cooked potatoes discolor is if they are later refrigerated as is. Fried, mashed, etc - no problem.

I don’t salt but I do use MSG.

Nuking veggies for perfect doneness and flavor is highly underrated.

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We’re a low salt household (family history of blood pressure) so have not salted water for years. And don’t miss it.

Your and other comments cause me to wonder if there are any studies supporting the idea that boiling vegetables in salted water results in appreciable addition in dietary salt. In my subjective experience, it does not render the veggies any “saltier” (except perhaps from surface water). I mostly use salt–and a lot of it–for blanching green vegetables, then rinse and chill them prior to actually cooking them to doneness, so there is no excess salt on the surface.

My suspicion is that, even if you boiled in high salinity water to doneness, there would not be a lot of salt osmotically moving into the cell structure.

Someone with actual knowledge of this practice, please educate me.


I salt the water for veggies, pasta, etc. I find a little salt in the water saves a lot of salt later. And no, I have no proof; just a sense.


Totally agree on the water…boiling destroys them, a light steam or roasting , I find optimum for flavor, and in that case if they are healthier, more the better!

As probably noted elsewhere, it’s no secret that Italians often boil or bake their vegetables to a fare-thee-well, I guess for historic sanitary reasons, but maybe for digestion as well as taste (to remove bitter flavors). Grilled and steamed veg are sometimes found on menus, in case someone feels a need to point that out, but living in Italy, I have come to prefer boiled in many cases, and I especially have come to not favor grilled vegetables (with some exceptions, like new scallions, zucchini, eggplant), so when I visit the US, I sometimes have (literally) a hard time in restaurants getting vegetable dishes I like.

I never liked grilled vegetables either .

Yes, partly because salted water actually gives a lower salt content than salting at the table. There are some favorite restaurants whose only flaw is that they will NOT salt their vegetables at all, because some nutrition “expert” told them back in the Fifties that it’s bad for you. I wish they could be persuaded otherwise …

I must say that I rarely boil veges anymore at all. What I mostly do is a stovetop braise, starting them in oil then adding a little water or whatever and covering to steam. I decided to try that as an alternative to following Julia Child’s instruction for cooking haricots verts the French way, blanching them in lots of water, draining and chilling, then sautéeing in lots of butter. It worked very well, the haricots verts experts in the family gave it their blessing, and now just about anything that won’t get steamed and gratinéed gets braised like that.

I have proselytized for years about the results in nuking corn, husk still on, about 6 minutes for 3 ears arranged in a triangle. Extra fresh flavor is contributed by the husk, and once cool enough to handle, the husk and silks come off completely with just 1 or 2 tugs.