Boiling food is the commonest method of food processing. It is the process of using pot to cook food with the help of a stove or gas. E.g boiled rice, boiled yam, boiled plantain etc.  You can also cook in a liquid which contains water, stock or milk. However, boiling may be fast when cooking green vegetables or slow simmering.

  1. To make a specific quality of food, colour, design, flavour and texture. eg boiled vegetable.
  2. To make foods healthy to eat by killing bacteria which can cause diseases.
  3. Producing foods which are palatable, enjoyable and digestible.
  4. Breaking down and softening the starch content, cellulose, protein and fibrous properties.
  1. Boiling is very healthy because little or no oil is used. e.g. boiling yam, rice, or potatoes.
  2. Boiling makes food to be soft to eat and very easy to digest.
  3. It is a very fast method of cooking.
  4. Boiling our food kills microbes.
  5. Boiled food is safe to eat due to a reduced number of microorganisms.
  6. Boiled foods contain fewer calories. Healthier than fried foods.
  1. Most of the water-soluble vitamins such as C and B are destroyed by the high heat while some are lost to the cooking liquid.
  2. Boiled foods tend to blend hence adding seasonings which will improve the taste.
  3. If not properly monitored, food can easily be overcooked or burnt thereby giving it a bad taste.

There are two major methods of boiling foods. They are as follows:

  1. Cold liquid cooking: Here, the food is placed in a cold liquid or water and cook. This method allows scum and impurities to rise to the surface as the liquid comes to the boil. It is also safe and easy to cover food with cold liquid then bring to the boil.
  2. Boiling liquid cooking: In this method, food is placed into boiling liquid and cooked. This helps to keep cooking times as short as possible; retains the nutritional value and colour as much as possible by keeping cooking time very short; reduces vitamin loss when cooking vegetables by destroying oxidative enzymes, and decreases the chance of burning cereals and starch mixture such as rice and pasta.

The following commodities are suitable for boiling. They are as follows:

  1. Meat and poultry: Boiling is used to make the food tender and digestible. It helps to make plain dishes.
  2. Fish and shellfish: It is good to boil fish but better by poaching.
  3. Eggs and pasta: You can boil eggs and eat with fresh vegetables, boiled yam or rice stew.
  4. Fresh and frozen vegetables: A good example is a cabbage; peas, green beans and potatoes.
  5. Dried cereals and pulses. Examples are rice, oats, and various dried beans.
  1.  Drain out as much salt as possible from salted joints before cooking. e.g hams.
  2. Remove fat from the cooking surface as it forms.
  3. Cook vegetables in batches to preserve its nutritional contents. Avoid overcooking and reheating vegetables.
  4. Avoid soaking or preserving vegetables in water. Always start the cooking of vegetables in a boiling liquid if possible.
  5. Keep the liquid content to a minimum level when boiling food to ensure that valuable nutrients are not lost. Always serve the cooking sauce with the food to derive the whole nutrients.
  6. Cook dried beans thoroughly because half-done beans may cause a poison which can lead to sickness.
  7. To forestall food poisoning, cool liquids and foods quickly and thereafter store in a refrigerator until required for use.
  8. Never leave or exposed boiled foods in a warm kitchen.
  9. Be mindful when draining foods with boiling the liquid. Stand back from the saucepan to avoid splashes of hot liquid.
  10. Always check saucepans regularly to ensure the correct speed of cooking and to determine the degree of cooking.
  11. Many cooking commodities have long cooking times. Ensure you allow for this in your time plan.

It is often said that placing the cooking item into a very hot or boiling liquid seals the juices and retains goodness and reduces weight loss.  This is a myth which should be ignored.


The equipment used for boiling foods include saucepans, stockpot, fast boiling pans, Bratt pans and boilers. To see them and purchase, click here


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