You probably know that steaming food retains a great deal of its nutrients. However, how often do you steam your food as opposed to pan frying or just getting takeout? Do you know that there are food steamers that can do the hard work for you?
Let us take a look at it.
A steamer is one of the greatest assets to healthy living enthusiasts, and it helps with more than steaming vegetables. They promote a healthy lifestyle by eliminating the use of oil. Since it only uses steam to cook, you can rest assured that the vitamins are locked in, allowing you to consume foods at their highest nutritional content.
So, want to know how to use food steamer units to cook excellent meals? Stay with us and learn why food steamers are considered reliable and essential in the modern kitchen.
By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of everything about food steamers.
Why Do You Need A Food Steamer?
A steamer is an invaluable addition to any kitchen. Apart from making nutritious foods like steamed vegetables, steamers have a myriad of other benefits.
Let us delve into specifics.
1. Fast Cooking Process
Sometimes, juggling between chores and our professional lives leaves no space to take a breath. When you have minimal time to prepare a meal, steaming is a fast and easy cooking process that ensures your favorite dish is ready in no time. This is especially true of a digital food steamer.
2. Little Supervision
Other cooking methods, such as deep-frying, require you to monitor the cooking process at short intervals. However, steaming is one of the most convenient cooking methods as it requires little supervision. That way, you can rest easy knowing that there is little chance of burning or overcooking the food.
3. Maintains Flavors
As mentioned earlier, steaming locks in moisture, vitamins, and minerals. Steamed foods are flavorful, as the cooking process maintains their natural vitamins and minerals. One of the most attractive traits about the best food steamers is their ability to preserve the natural color of vegetables and seafood. Other high-heating methods of cooking ruin the natural bright colors of vegetables, turning them dull.
4. It Is Healthy
One of the ways to live a quality life is to consume healthy foods. Oil has high levels of bad cholesterol, posing a threat to the health of the heart. Steamers use water, eliminating the use of oil. Also, steamed food does not require additives or other harmful artificial condiments to our bodies, making it one of the healthiest cooking methods.
5. Cooks All Types Of Food With Less Mess
One of the main challenges of cooking is the mess it leaves behind. However, with the best food steamer Malaysia appliance, oil splatters and food spillages are nothing to worry about. Additionally, food steamers allow you to cook all types of foods, including steamed vegetables, meat, and seafood.
Types Of Food Steamers To Use
When it comes to steaming food, the kitchen appliance industry unveils a variety of models to choose from.
Let us expound on the types of food steamers to choose from.
1. Bamboo Steamers
If you are looking for an inexpensive way to steam your food, bamboo steamers are a great option. These steamers are traditional and mostly used in Chinese cooking. They are made from interlocking bamboo baskets on top of each other. They are then placed over simmering water, with the bamboo ridges allowing steam to pass through, cooking the food.
Just like other modern steamers, a traditional bamboo steamer can steam cook a myriad of foods. From steaming vegetables to a variety of meats, they are an effective option when it comes to healthy eating.
One of the key advantages of bamboo steamers is that condensation on the lids never occurs. They are also lightweight as compared to other types of steamers. However, you need to be careful with how much water you use in the pot. Too little water might run out, halting the cooking process, while excess water might not steam but boil the food. If the water is running out, avoid adding cold water that interrupts the steaming process.
Since bamboo steamers will often absorb scent, scrub in hot water with unscented soap. Rinse properly and air dry for up to two days before storage to prevent the formation of molds.
2. Microwave Steamers
Microwave steamers are a popular choice in household steamers. They are lightweight and are easy to use. They come in simple yet elegant designs that appeal to different people.
Microwave steamers are used to prepare a variety of dishes, including fish, vegetables, meat, and rice. They are efficient with an easy steaming process.
Preparing your food in a microwave steamer is not rocket science. All you need to do is evenly cut your vegetables or meat, add some water to the bottom tray, and put your food in the top tray. Once you have placed the lid, you can now place the food in the microwave for steaming. However, make sure you do not tightly place the lid but leave a small vent to allow for the evaporation of steam.
3. Electric Food Steamers
If you are looking for the fastest way to enjoy a delicious dish, electric steamers are your best bets. As much as they are not a must-have, they are an indispensable kitchen appliance to facilitate the preparation of good healthy food.
Electric steamers are the most common type of steamers. An electric steamer may also be called a digital food steamer. Their convenience is what makes them a favorite of many. They also come in different designs, with many of the available models consisting of several compartments. These compartments allow you to cook an entire meal at a go.
The complexity of use varies from one electric steamer to the other. Depending on your preference, some electric steamers have pre-programmed settings for various foods, while also giving you the luxury of manual control. The steaming system on this necessary kitchen appliance allows for a uniform distribution of steam, which heats the food fast and evenly.
There is a myriad of electric steamer options in the market. The one to go for largely depends on your budget, convenience, and the level of functionality you are looking for.
4. Multi-Cooker Steamers
If you have a busy schedule and not enough time to prepare a 3-course meal, then a multi-cooker steamer is a great addition to your kitchen counter.
Steaming food is one of the best ways to remain healthy. However, there are times when you want to indulge in the goodness of roasted meat and other food types. Instead of purchasing different kitchen appliances, a multi-cooker steamer might be what you need.
Multi-cooker steamers offer unmatched versatility. Since they can steam, deep fry, roast, boil, and blanch, they are often used as an everyday kitchen accessory. Whether you want to steam vegetables and enjoy their natural flavors or are looking to give your family a deep-fried chicken treat, multi-cooker steamers come in handy.
Besides, they come in varying capacities, which is great news for people with large families. As compared to all other types of food steamers, multi-cookers have more functionality and features. Just like electric steamers, the one to pick largely depends on personal preference, convenience, and functionality.
4. Built-In Countertop Steamer
Luckily, steamers also come in more sophisticated designs. If you are a homeowner looking to save storage space while maintaining a luxuriously-looking kitchen, look no further than the built-in countertop steamer.
Built-in countertop steamers are common with commercial restaurants that feature a high customer turnout. However, this does not mean that you cannot leverage their benefits in the comfort of your home. One of the most notable advantages of built-in countertop steamers is that they can steam a handful of vegetables to evenly cooking high-volume batches. They are either electric or use gas as their source of energy.
Apart from vegetables, seafood, and meat, built-in countertop steamers can also be used to make pizza, bread, sandwiches, and desserts. They also come in different styles. Drawer-style countertop steamers, those that come with portion steamer baskets, and those that come with top-loading capabilities are the available built-in countertop designs. The latter is one of the most-preferred as you have the luxury of checking the food by only lifting the lid.
How to Use Food Steamers
If your health and that of your family is of utmost importance, purchasing a steamer is one of the best steps to take this year. It is a sane decision that limits the consumption of unhealthy foods while opening you up to a world of whole, delicious foods.
In the pursuit of a better quality of life (and out of mere curiosity), it is not uncommon for human beings to yearn for a deeper understanding of the operating mechanisms of the different home appliances. Considering the benefits we can leverage from food steamers, it is only fair that we get to understand how they work.
However, before we get into the finer details, let us first gain an understanding of the various parts of food steamers.
Despite their varying designs, most electric food steamers have identical parts.
Let us take a look at the details.
- Steamer lid: The purpose of the steamer lid is to cover the food to facilitate a fast and even cooking process while protecting the food from germs and other contaminants.
- Steaming trays: These are compartments where the food is placed for steaming. The number of steaming trays depends on the capacity and model of the food steamer. While smaller steamers may have one steaming tray, others may have as many as five.
- Rice bowl: This is where you put the rice before placing it in the steamer for cooking.
- Dip tray: The dip tray acts as a guard. It prevents liquids from the food or water formed as a result of the condensation process from dripping into the reservoir.
- Reservoir: This is the compartment that holds water that is used in steaming the food.
Now that you understand the parts of a steamer, you can easily grasp how these appliances work.
Once you have prepared your food and placed them in the steaming trays or steamer basket, add some water into the reservoir. With the steamer lid in place, make an electrical connection by plugging the appliance into the socket and switching it on. The steamer commences operations by heating its ring heater. The ring heater warms up the water in the reservoir. When this water starts boiling, it produces steam that is disbursed to the food. In turn, the foods cook in this steam.
The above procedure only applies to electric food steamers and not the bamboo and microwave food steamer options.
Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Food Steamer
In as much as there are undeniable advantages to purchasing a food steamer, to get the service that you desire, you must buy the right steamer for you.
Below are some of the factors to consider when making your pick.
Frequency Of Use
The number of times you need to use your food steamer is one of the key deciding factors as to the right steamer for you. If you are adopting a healthy lifestyle and you plan to use it every other day, an electric or microwave steamer is your best option. As popular as they are in Chinese cuisine, bamboo steamers are not the best option to go for when looking for food steamers you can use more frequently. Bamboo steamers are air-dried for up to two days and using them daily might mean they are not completely dry, making your food susceptible to contamination.
One of the major challenges of buying new kitchen appliances is storage space. Food steamers come in different capacities, where some of them have five compartments. In a small kitchen without adequate shelves, storage of large food steamers can pose problems; especially during and after cleaning, where disassembling the appliance is encouraged.
The material used in manufacturing these products is another factor to consider before purchasing. Food steamers are made from a variety of materials, which include stainless steel, ceramic, aluminum, silicon, and plastic options. For a food steamer that you can use every day, aluminum and stainless steel options are the best. However, if you want to easily monitor the steam cooking process without the need to open the lid, plastic steamers will suit you better.
Food Steamer Best Picks From Us!
Want to start steam cooking? Well, there is a wide range of food steaming appliances in the market today. In my quest to find an appropriate appliance for steam cooking, I strived to learn the functionalities and convenience of several of them. All of them are great in one way or the other, but two of them stood out from the crowd.
Here are our recommendations:
The Midea 3 layer Electric Multifunctional Steamer has revolutionized healthy eating. It is a tiered steamer pot model with a large 9L capacity, meaning that your family can enjoy healthy home-cooked meals even on days that cooking seems like a daunting task. It is a multifunctional steamer that allows you to not only steam vegetables and other foods, but also use it in everyday frying, blanching, and boiling.
To further appeal to cooking enthusiasts, this kitchen appliance has a steamboat function and has several digital function settings that make food preparation fast and easy. Besides, it comes with a timing control and an auto power-off button to prevent the food from burning or overcooking.
If you are looking for a durable steamer, this Tefal Convenient Steamer is a great option. With a capacity of 6L, this steamer can cook a variety of foods including fish, meat, dessert, and vegetables. Its visible water level feature prevents occurrences where the water in the steamer runs dry, halting the cooking process. Its mechanical timer is another great feature as it allows for custom cooking, not forgetting its 60-minute autonomy that allows you to cook your food for a whole hour when the need arises.
With this steamer pot, you have the luxury of using a single compartment when you do not have a lot of food to prepare. In the case of a large gathering, both compartments are spacious and come in handy.
Now that you have a deeper understanding of how food steamers work and the types available in the market, it’s to purchase one and switch to a healthier lifestyle. The myriad of benefits they offer is enough enticement to bring one home at your convenience.
However, make sure you add the right amount of water and the lid is sealed-in tight. The water should boil first before adding food into the steamer and make sure not to overcook the food.
All in all, buying a food steamer shares the same logic as purchasing any new appliance. It may take a little experimenting to understand the different settings, and especially when using the manual controls. But once you get the hang of it, you will be able to make your family’s favorite tasty steamed treats without any difficulties.
I hope you enjoyed reading this insightful piece. We would love to hear your thoughts through the comment section. If you have any questions, feel free to post them below.