Cooking vegetables and other things in a steamer is a healthier choice. It ensures that vegetables and foods have a wonderful flavor and nutritional value. It also helps retain approximately 90% of the nutrients found in veggies and meals. Steaming is a moist-heat cooking method in which food is cooked by being surrounded by a hot vapor in an enclosed space. It’s a highly effective cooking method that doesn’t require oil or fat.
Steaming can be used to prepare various meals, including meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables. To perfect this cooking method, you’ll need some patience and practice. You’ll make some mistakes and maybe ruin a few dishes along the process, but don’t let that stop you. To get you started, let’s take a closer look at different types of food steamers, what materials they are made of, their different sizes, and more! Read on to learn how to steam your vegetables like an expert.
Types of Vegetable Steamer
- Steamer basket
Stovetop steaming is a classic method of steaming meals. Silicone or metal steamer baskets are available. The metal steamer is long-lasting and ideal for steaming larger or heavier veggies. Silicone baskets are non-scratch and may be utilized on the cooktop or microwave. They’ll also fit into a variety of pot sizes with ease.
- Electric steamer
An electric steamer works similarly to a steam basket, but it’s a stand-alone cooking device that works for you right on your counter. You fill the pot halfway with water, add the vegetables you want to steam, close and lock the lid, and then set the suitable setting on your appliance.
- Bamboo steamer
This steamer sits on the stockpot and is ideal for steaming huge quantities of veggies, dumplings, and seafood. They are multi-tiered and come in different sizes-stackable trays with ventilated bottoms that stack one on top of the other makeup bamboo steamer baskets. Steam rises through the layers of the basket and cooks the food when it is placed over a pot of simmering water.
Size of Vegetable Steamer
Steamers for family cooking can be rather large, with a large footprint and deep, wide baskets that take up a lot of space on the counter and in the cabinet. If the room is limited, opt for a taller type rather than one that is wider but has baskets that stack one inside the other. Most steamers hold roughly 9 liters of water, enough to prepare a lunch for four people. A smaller steamer may be preferable when cooking for one to three people because it takes less room.
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How To Use A Vegetable Steamer
The basic rule of steaming is to avoid overcooking! Vegetables should only be cooked till they’re crisp-tender. It also implies that you’ll need to be prepared to taste test with your fork in hand! Cooking vegetables for even a few minutes longer than necessary turns them from bright and crisp to faded and mushy. Here are some suggestions for using a steamer basket for cooking vegetables.
- Prepare your vegetables
Cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces that are uniform in size. If you’re cooking two types of veggies simultaneously, cut the slower-cooking vegetables into smaller pieces than the faster-cooking vegetables.
- Put a sufficient amount of water under the steamer basket and bring it to a boil.
When steaming veggies, the basic rule is to bring the water to a boil first! Don’t be tempted to immediately toss everything into the steamer and start boiling the water. Fill the base of the saucepan or pot with about 1 inch of water, then insert the steamer basket inside. The water’s surface should be just below the basket (so pour out water if you need to). Please bring it to a boil after that!
- Fill steamer basket
Arrange your vegetables in a basket. If you’re using stacking bamboo steamers, start with the vegetables that will take the longest to cook (sweet potatoes and carrots) and work your way up. You’ll be able to remove the baskets on the top as they finish cooking (or reverse engineer it and start by placing the first bamboo basket in the pan and then wait a few minutes to put the second layer and so on so that they all reach perfection.
- Place steamer in pan
Lower heat and carefully place the steamer into your pot or pan. Place the lid on a metal or silicon steamer and steam the vegetables until crisp-tender. Make sure to keep an eye on the water level in the pan, so it doesn’t dry out. If it does, pour a little extra down the pan’s edge.
- Check if it’s done
The most crucial aspect is the taste! To determine when a piece is done, use a fork to test it and taste it. The cook time will vary depending on the thickness of the chopped vegetables and the maturity of the vegetable.
- Drain and season
Transfer the vegetables to a bowl with caution. Then combine with kosher salt, olive oil, or butter. You can also use lemon juice, fresh herbs, feta cheese crumbles, or other spices to enhance the taste.
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Additional Steaming Tips
Cover the dish if needed.
When steaming Leche flan or dumplings, you don’t want excess water in your dish. Use plastic wrap or foil to keep extra water from dripping into your container to avoid bland food.
Don’t steam for too long.
This is where things start to get complicated. Getting everything on the table at the same time while keeping everything hot and pleasant is one of the most challenging chores a home chef undertakes. Cooking steamed vegetables take a few minutes, making them a fantastic last-minute option.
Let the steam collect.
Allow time for the water to boil and the pot to develop steam before adding your meal. Your food will be cooked by the steam that forms when the water is slowly boiling.
Don’t add too much water.
Water is the most crucial component of steam cooking. The secret is to add the right amount of water. If you’re going to use a steam basket on the stove, start by filling the pot with one or two inches of water. Once the steamer basket is in the pot, you don’t want the water to rise above it, as this is one of the quickest ways to ruin the dinner.
Vegetable Steamer’s Designs
A steamer is a specially built unit that includes a specific pot and a steamer layer above it. The gadget may be designed on a stovetop or an electric counter-top device. A steamer can be made on the spot with attachments that fit into or sits on top of conventional pots. Aluminum, stainless steel, enameled metal, and bamboo are all options for these inserts.
Some steamer designs allow for many tiers to be stacked. It allows for more food to be steamed at once without crowding the pot or for various meals to be cooked separately at the same time if desired. Stacking steamers can save time and reduce cooking fuel used in this way. Woks can be used with bamboo steamers. Baskets are another name for steamer inserts, which are sometimes solid pieces. Other steamer basket designs have metal “leaves” that stretch outwards from the center, allowing them to suit a variety of pots. These baskets are designed to be collapsible for more simple storage.
Best Brands of Vegetable Steamers
1. Hamilton beach digital steamer
The primary function of the hamilton beach electric steamer is that it is a flexible appliance that is great for making a nutritious and quick dinner. In one bowl, steam your protein, and in another, cook your vegetables without using any oil. The drip tray and rice bowl can go in the dishwasher after you’re done, and you can wipe the steamer.
2. Cousine Work easy veggie silicon steamer
The Cousine Work steamer is silicone and compatible with a wide range of pan and pot sizes. It can also be used in the dishwasher and microwave. When used in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, this steamer has two oven mitts to make it simpler to handle. The basket’s two handles connect to make it simple to remove and lower the steamer basket from a pot. The FDA-approved food-grade silicone is robust, heat resistant up to 400 degrees, and can withstand heavy foods.
3. OXO good grips stainless veggie steamer
OXO Good Grips’ stainless steel steamer is noted for its versatility, durability, and simplicity. The steamer body can be modified to fit any pot with a diameter of 8 inches or more, and the extensible handle keeps hands away from the scorching steam. This sleek steamer can also be retracted to lay entirely flat for compact storage when not in use.
4. Oster doubled tiered steamer
The Oster Food Steamer includes two layers, which allows you to keep different items separate while steaming them simultaneously. The Oster Double Tiered Food Steamer can cook a full dinner while leaving you with minor cleanup afterward. This steamer is the simplest to clean. It can be hand-washed, or the removable sections can be thrown in the dishwasher. This Oster model cooks efficiently and is an excellent value.
5. Sunbeam steamer
The Sunbeam steamer is a food steamer that can steam cook various meals such as vegetables, meats, fruits, grains, sauces, cakes, and fast slices of bread. Each portion of the machine, including a base, drip tray, steamer bowl, and rice bowl, serves a different steaming function. A timer is also included in the appliance, which helps keep track of the steaming and instructs the equipment to turn off automatically after the timer has ended.
6. Sayfine vegetable steamer basket
Sayfine’s vegetable steamer basket is one of the best on the market right now, and it’s intended to suit a variety of pots, pans, and pressure cookers (6.1 inches to 10.5 inches). It has a 2.4-inch center handle for steaming large foods and three legs at the bottom to keep the foods apart from the pots, pans, and pressure cookers. This excellent stainless steel vegetable steamer basket is dishwasher safe and simple to clean. It’s collapsible for convenient storage. There are three sizes to choose from (small, medium, and large).
Veggie Steamer FAQs
What is the best vegetable steamer?
Hamilton Beach 37530A Digital Steamer
The two-tier design of this Hamilton Beach food steamer will be recognizable to anyone who has used a rice cooker with a steaming tray. The nesting trays allow you to utilize one or two steaming bowls at a time for more significant amounts of food, and the vertical storage saves room. The digital touchpad makes switching between operations and selecting the cooking time simple. You can put food in the steamer basket ahead of time and start steaming later with the delayed start function. It’s a flexible appliance perfect for steaming a quick and healthy meal.
Are vegetable steamers any good?
Vegetable steamers are a crucial tool for certain people, even though they are not strictly a kitchen need. Steamers are frequently purchased for health reasons, as steaming preserves more nutrients and vitamins than boiling. It’s a gentler cooking method than most, preserving all foods’ flavor and texture.
How long do vegetables take to cook in a steamer?
The goal is that your vegetables are cooked to perfection. Supposedly, all of the veggies will be done at the same time. Allow your vegetables to steam for about 6-7 minutes, or until they’re about 1/2 cooked. To ensure that any root veggies are cooked thoroughly, test them and cut them into them near the end.
Suggested times for steaming vegetables:
- Spinach: 3 minutes
- Green beans and asparagus: 3 to 5 minutes
- Kale, Collard greens, Swiss chard, and other leafy greens: 6 to 7 minutes
- Broccoli and cauliflower: 8 to 10 minutes
- Carrots, beets, turnips, potatoes, and other root vegetables: 10 to 15 minutes
How can I steam vegetables without a steamer?
Here are three different methods to steam vegetables without a steamer.
- Plate on tinfoil method
Fill a medium pot with water, set three tennis-ball-sized aluminum foil balls on the pot’s base, put a heat-resistant plate on top of the foil balls, then cover the pot, and bring the water to a boil. Steam and cover the vegetables until they are tender. Remove the vegetables from the platter with care and set them aside. The aluminum foil and plate combination essentially transforms into a steamer basket. This method is straightforward, and the veggies that result are crisp and healthy vegetables.
- Fill the metal strainer or colander.
Choose a saucepan with a wide rim to handle the metal strainer and a deep bottom to keep the strainer from touching the base. Fill the pan with approximately an inch of water, set the strainer over the pan, and fill with vegetables. You may need to work in batches depending on the size of the strainer and the amount of food you’re preparing.
- Steam in the oven
Steaming isn’t limited to the burner; it could also be done in the oven. A roasting pan with a rack is preferable for this technique, but you’re good to go if you have a large pot and a baking rack. Bring a teapot of water to a boil. In a big pot, pour half an inch of water. Organize the food on a baking rack in a single layer and set it over the pot. Cover the entire contraption with aluminum foil to prevent steam from escaping, and wait until the food is steamed.