Steaming food is one of the healthiest ways to cook food as you are not adding in any extra ingredients such as fats or oils, it is also a great way to create well cooked, tasty foods such as vegetables as they often get soggy when boiling. I prefer to steam all my vegetables and so I invested in a food steamer.
Food steamers are certainly worth it for a healthy diet rich in natural nutrients, vitamins, and minerals and those looking to steam many vegetables or large quantity in one go. When it is smaller quantities such as vegetables, a food steamer is not worth it as it takes too long.
In this article, I am going to be talking about what good steamers are and can do, how much there are and whether I think they are worth having.
What Does A Steamer Do?
A food Steamer is otherwise known as a steam cooker, and it is a kitchen appliance used to cook with steam heat. It allows the food to be gradually cooked by keeping it sealed in a small pot, reducing the steam escaping chances. Generally, the process is called steaming.
What Can You Cook In A Steamer?
Various foods can be cooked in a steamer, such as vegetables, poultry, seafood, rice, dumplings, or other meats, grains, and legumes. In some cases, specific steamers also have egg holders to cook eggs from soft to hard-boiled.
To cook your desired food in the steamer, all you need is water, then set the cooking time and wait until it’s done.
How Much Are Food Steamers?
There are various types of food steamers. Nevertheless, the most well-known and recommended are the electric food steamers. Still, amongst them, there are different types with different values.
First and foremost, there are metal steamers, specifically stainless steel and aluminium electric food steamers.
Also, there are various types of plastic electric food steamers. The prices of the steamers depend naturally on the material but also on the brand. Regularly, plastic electric steamers are cheaper, starting from as low as ten pounds.
However, you might also find plastic electric steamers reaching prices as high as a hundred pounds or more.
Especially if they are BPA-free plastic electric food steamers. As for metal electric food steamers, they are usually more expensive than plastic ones, yet you can still find steamers ranging from fifteen pounds up to as expensive as three hundred or more.
Can You Find Cheaper Alternatives To Food Steamers?
Certainly, electric food steamers might be more effective and faster with exceptional results in steaming food. However, there are other options for steaming food less expensive but perhaps slower. These options are Microwave food steamers and bamboo food steamers.
Microwave food steamers are generally inexpensive and can be found in various retail stores. They are made of silicone, plastic, polycarbonate ceramic, or other materials. These steamers, when used, do two processes at the same time, which are steaming and cooking by microwaving.
Usually, microwave food steamers are used only by households since they are designed to hold a small portion of food. However, there are also microwave food steamers bigger with several tiers to cook food for bigger crowds. Microwave food steamers can be as cheap as five pounds or less, depending on brand and material.
Bamboo food steamers originate from Asia, and they are the traditional kitchen appliance for cooking dumplings. Naturally, bamboo steamers can not be used directly on a stove. Thus a big pot or wok is required. Pour enough water at the bottom of the pot and place the bamboo steamer on top of it.
The water should not reach the food. Place your desired food in the bamboo steamer and shut the lid for steaming for the best cooking place at the bottom basket, the food that needs the most required time. Bamboo food steamers are also relatively cheaper. They range from five to fifty pounds.
Advantages Of Food Steamers
Food steaming is perhaps one of the most delicious and healthy ancient cooking methods that are still alive and appreciated. Thus, there are indeed many advantages of food steamers. Here are the top three advantages of food steamers.
1. Easy process with little supervision
Food steamers make cooking fast and easy. Generally, food steamers have different tiers, meaning several foods can be cooked. Thus, steaming food saves time and energy since you can cook different kinds of food simultaneously.
Furthermore, it needs little supervision compared to other cooking ways. It almost doesn’t require any checking on the food or worry over burning or overcooking your food. Especially since most food steamers have a timer.
2. Retains nutrients, natural vitamins, and minerals of the ingredients
What is most appreciated and loved by users is that food steamers can preserve the nutrients, natural vitamins, and minerals of the ingredients. Steaming helps in locking in the flavours and vitamins of the food naturally while at the same time the taste is preserved.
Additionally, food steamers retain the natural bright colours of food, especially vegetables. With food steamers, the structure, texture, and colour of the food remains the same
3. Healthiest cooking method
Since food steamers can retain the natural vitamins and minerals and the food’s nutrients, food steaming is considered the healthiest cooking method. Steaming only requires water; thus, you don’t need oil or anything else, such as cooking on the stove.
Since the food does not get dry, there is no need for additives or other artificial flavorings. Furthermore, since oil is not needed, you don’t consume added fat or other saturated fats that contribute to high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Disadvantages Of Food Steamers
Indeed, food steamers have great advantages, but like other cooking methods, there are also disadvantages. Here are the top three:
1. Slower cooking time
Usually, steaming food takes longer than cooking on the stove or in the oven. Specifically, this happens because food steamers usually do not use super high heat. Therefore, it is much more time-consuming to use a food steamer rather than other cooking methods.
Additionally, since food steamers might not use high enough heat, it can be almost impossible or extremely slow to cook beef or pork. Thus, regarding cooking meat, most use food steamers only for poultry or fish.
2. Steam heat
While using a food steamer naturally, you might be exposed to steam heat. Basically, steam heat is water that surpasses its boiling point. Which is over 100 degrees Celsius.
When you open a container, it can easily escape. Therefore, you need to be extra careful when you are done steaming your food to not get burned.
3. Unappealing visual
If you like your food, especially the meat, to be slightly browned or nicely seared on one side, then you might not favour steaming might. Since food steamers use only water for cooking, even though the result can be that of delicious food, it might not look very appealing.
Apart from meat not getting browned, vegetables could also give off an unpleasant-looking residue. Thus, often there are complaints over the food’s display after steaming is done.
Are Food Steamers Worth It?
Food steamers are certainly worth it for a healthy diet rich in natural nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Therefore, if you are interested in creating a healthier lifestyle, then a food steamer is definitely worth it.
Furthermore, food steamers are easy to use and allow you to cook a large number of foods simultaneously.
Thus, if you want a cooking method that is precise, easy, and fast, then food steamers are absolutely worth it.
On the other hand, food steamers are unnecessary if you are simply looking for different steaming options or boiling food. Indeed, it might be faster in cooking a large amount of food; however, when it comes to a small quantity such as vegetables, a food steamer is not worth it.
If you want to cook meat only, a food steamer is much slower than any other cooking method. So, it is better to use other options which could be more effective and faster.