About Steaming Food & Food Steamers
If you want to stay healthy, or get healthy, thereís nothing like
fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats and poultry to help you. A lot of
the secret to keeping these foods healthy is the preparation. For
example, broiled meats are going to be much healthier for you than fried
meats. And steamed fresh vegetables are a lot healthier than boiled or
canned vegetables. This is where a food steamer comes in handy.
A food steamer, or steam cooker, cooks the food with steam (surprise!)
which helps to preserve the vitamins and minerals in the food. Boiling
leaches most of them out of the food. For this reason steamers are very
popular with vegetarians and those on macrobiotic and raw food diets.
But you donít have to be on one of those diets to enjoy the benefits of
a good food steamer.
A lot of Chinese cooking is done in a steamer. You can cook just about
any kind of food in a steamer and the beauty of them is that they are
easy to clean up. Another benefit is that they donít make the kitchen
hot like an oven does and they donít require a lot of energy to operate.
There are many types of food steamers available: bamboo - tiered
(stackable) - stove top - electric - baskets that you insert into pans
of boiling water - plastic and silicone steamers for the microwave Ė
those with multi-compartments (side by side) and rice steamers. Most all
of them work on the same premise of having a tray just above the water.
The tray has holes in it or is slotted to let them steam rise up to the
With the multi-compartment and tiered steamers, you could actually cook
several parts of the meal, or even the whole meal in the steamer all at
once. For instance, if you had a 3 tiered steamer, you could cook your
vegetables on one tier, your protein on another, and even your bread or
desert on another. Pretty handy, right?
Food steamers are not expensive, either. You can get a simple basket
type steam for a pan for just a few dollars. On the higher end you might
want an electric steamer which would still only set you back about $40
USD or so.
Just about any type of vegetable does very well with steaming: broccoli,
cauliflower, corn on the cob, carrots, artichokes, zucchini and so on.
Try some steamed pears instead of baked pears. Cornish Hens and chicken
breasts do well in a steamer, as do julienned or sliced beef strips.
Fish and seafood is perfect for this type of cooking. You can even steam
So if you donít have a food steamer already, you should try one out. If
you wanted to just see if you would like them, get one that is
inexpensive and sits down in a pot of water (donít let the water come up
to the level of the food). More than likely, before you know it youíll
be using it all the time; at least for your fresh vegetables. Happy
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