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The Prime Applications For Your Vegetable Steamer

When people want to eat healthier, they frequently steam their food because it helps them avoid consuming extra calories from cooking oils. Not only does it preserve the nutritional value of food, but it also imparts the purest, most natural flavor. 

Several types of vegetable steamers are available; choose the one that best meets your kitchen’s requirements. The simplest is the steamer baskets made of collapsible stainless steel that fit into various pots and pans. This device is simple to operate and store, requiring only a pot, pan, and water.  

Consider a bamboo steamer if you intend to prepare Chinese or another East Asian cuisine. These multilayered baskets can fit inside woks and frying pans with a water-filled base. 

Vegetable steamers powered by electricity are marginally more complicated, but they frequently include specialized components, such as a rice bowl. A tray in the device’s base holds water and generates the steam required for cooking. Be sure to avoid the common errors made when steaming food. 

When people want to eat healthier, they frequently steam their food because it helps them avoid consuming extra calories from cooking oils. Not only does it preserve the nutritional value of food, but it also imparts the purest, most natural flavor. 

Several types of vegetable steamers are available; choose the one that best meets your kitchen’s requirements. The simplest is the steamer baskets made of collapsible stainless steel that fit into various pots and pans. This device is simple to operate and store, requiring only a pot, pan, and water. Consider a bamboo steamer if you intend to prepare Chinese or another East Asian cuisine.  

These multilayered baskets can fit inside woks and frying pans with a water-filled base. Vegetable steamers powered by electricity are marginally more complicated, but they frequently include specialized components, such as a rice bowl. A tray in the device’s base holds water and generates the steam required for cooking. Be sure to avoid the common errors made when steaming food. 

Regardless of the type(s) of a steamer(s) you own, they are an asset to any kitchen, given their versatility beyond vegetable cooking. Here are the top ten ways to utilize your vegetable steamer. 

Stick with vegetables 

This may be the most obvious way to use a vegetable steamer, but it is a tried-and-true method. Steaming vegetables is simple and fast, and you won’t lose any nutrients typically lost in other cooking methods. According to The Pioneer Woman, the best tool for steaming vegetables is a metal steamer basket if you do not have an electric steamer. 

Follow these simple rules for consistently perfectly steamed vegetables: Do not allow the simmering water (which should be unsalted) to reach the steamer basket, and do not overcook the vegetables, or you will end up with mush. Different vegetables are cooked at different rates. Two to three minutes is all it takes to steam arugula, spinach, and other leafy greens, whereas potatoes and squashes can take up to twenty minutes. Test the readiness of the vegetables by piercing them with a fork; they are done when they feel tender. Serve the dish plain or with the desired seasonings. 

Feast on a whole fish or filet 

Steaming is an extremely healthy method of cooking fish that preserves its flavor. When prepared properly, steamed fish can be a delectable treat, despite its reputation for being monotonous and tasteless. Discover Seafood recommends metal or bamboo steamers for fish preparation, but an electric steamer can also be used. Remember that most vegetable steamers can only accommodate a limited quantity of fish. This method is suitable for small to medium-sized whole fish and a few fillets. Choose fresh fish, metallic-looking skin, clear eyes, and little fishy odor for the best results. 

As with vegetables, it is important not to overcook fish, as this can result in unpleasant texture and flavor. Good Housekeeping recommends 10 minutes per inch of thickness for steaming. When the flesh becomes opaque throughout, it is done. 

Give shellfish steam 

Shelled seafood is also ideal for steaming. Mollusks should be cooked in a covered pot (as instructed in this recipe for steamed clams with shallot butter) so that they can absorb the flavors of the cooking liquid. These bivalves are not ideal for a vegetable steamer, but other shellfish, such as shrimp and crab legs, work well. 

According to Food Network, steaming shrimp can prevent the rubbery texture that often results from boiling, as steaming is a gentler cooking method. In addition to bringing the shrimp in a salt-and-water solution beforehand, they suggest flavoring the steaming liquid with aromatics, stock, beer, or wine. Approximately four to six minutes are required to steam one to two pounds of shrimp. Crab legs are an additional option for preparation in a vegetable steamer. Martha Stewart suggests four to five minutes of cooking time. Add a few extra minutes to the cooking time when using frozen seafood. 

Ensure your chicken breast is tender 

Chicken breast is notoriously tricky to prepare despite its versatility, as most cooking methods leave the meat dry and rubbery. In addition to the health benefits, steaming chicken breast can produce tender, juicy, and oil-free meat. The Infinite Kitchen recommends steaming chicken for 30 minutes, but the time will vary depending on the thickness of the breast. Use a meat thermometer to determine doneness; according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, chicken must reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit before it can be consumed safely. 

There are numerous ways to flavor chicken that has been steamed. SFGate suggests adding fresh herbs, citrus, spice blends, or nori to the steamer basket before cooking. If you enjoy dark meat, feel free to steam chicken thighs. Taste Asian Food suggests marinating rice wine, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and sesame oil and then using the drippings from the steamer to create a sauce. 

Make perfect hard-cooked eggs 

No longer must one wait for a pot of water to boil. Using your vegetable steamer, you can perfectly cook eggs with shells that peel easily every time. According to Simply Recipes, air from the steam passes through the eggshell to facilitate peeling. 

Follow these cooking times regardless of whether you use an electric steamer, metal basket, or bamboo steamer to achieve the desired doneness. 

Serious Eats suggests six minutes of steaming for a runny yolk and twelve minutes for a fully cooked center. Nine-minute steam should suffice if you prefer a runny yolk. Ensure that a bowl of ice water is readily available. Immediately placing steamed eggs in an ice bath accelerates cooling and halts any carryover cooking, preventing the green ring associated with overcooked eggs. This ingenious tip will ensure that you never again consume sulfur-smelling hard-cooked eggs. 

Steam Chinese dumplings 

Chinese dumplings, also known as jiaozi, are famous on most Chinese takeout menus, but you can make them home with a vegetable steamer. According to The Woks of Life, this is an excellent method for preparing dumplings, as it highlights the filling more than pan-frying or deep-frying would. While bamboo steamers are more traditional, steaming apparatus can be used. Use a liner to prevent dumplings from sticking to the bottom of bamboo steamers; a non-stick cooking spray should suffice for metal or plastic steamers. 

If you have the time, we recommend making homemade dumplings. For this steamed beef dumplings recipe, make a dough from hot water in a food processor and fill it with ground beef, vegetables, and flavorings such as ginger, Szechuan peppercorns, soy sauce, and rice wine. After rolling out the dough, stuff it with the uncooked filling and steam for approximately six minutes. Check with a meat thermometer to ensure that the filling is fully cooked. 

If you’re not prepared to take on such a task, you can purchase a variety of frozen dumplings that are suitable for steaming; check the packaging for cooking instructions. 

Prepare fluffy rice or couscous 

Many individuals prefer to boil rice on the stovetop, but you should consider using a vegetable steamer instead. Rice with short grains is ideal for steaming and has a texture that works well with chopsticks (via The Spruce Eats). While rice cookers are designed specifically for this purpose, they have a single function, and you may not have the extra space in your kitchen. Since the holes in vegetable steamers are too large for most grains, some electric steamers include a rice bowl with a minor perforation. Alternatively, cheesecloth can be used to line the bottom of the steamer. If you do not want sticky rice, we recommend rinsing the rice to remove the starchy coating. Steaming will take approximately 15 to 30 minutes. Before serving, allow the rice to rest in the steamer for five minutes with the lid on. 

Like rice, couscous can be prepared using a vegetable steamer. We suggest a double steam technique. Allow 1 pound of dry couscous to absorb 112 cups of room temperature water before placing it in a steamer for approximately 15 minutes. Remove the couscous from the steamer and combine it with another cup of water. Then, return the couscous to the steamer for an additional fifteen minutes. 

Make a steamed cake 

It may be a surprise that you can use your vegetable steamer to make desserts, including cakes. The traditional Chinese dessert bak tong goes a steamed sponge cake commonly served after a dim sum meal. This yeast-based cake has an unexpectedly chewy, brioche-like texture and a hint of sweetness and will be ready in 20 to 25 minutes. 

The texture is the primary advantage of steaming various other cakes. While conventional baking techniques may result in a dry chocolate cake, steaming the cake will produce a moist, light crumb. This method can also be used without eggs by substituting yogurt and oil. These cakes are ideal when you want something sweet but don’t want to heat up the kitchen. 

Steam tamales for a party 

American diners are familiar with tamales as a traditional Mexican dish consisting of corn masa wrapped in banana leaves or corn husks. Tamale recipes vary throughout Latin America but are most made in Mexico. The fillings may be savory with meat and cheese or sweet with fruit like pineapple seasoned with cinnamon. Tamales are traditionally steamed in their wrappings, which makes them ideal for a vegetable steamer. Unlike other steamed foods, these tiny packages can be stacked, making them ideal for making tamales for a crowd. 

However, this is not a quick-cooking product, as the cooking process can take up to two hours. Due to the lengthy cooking time, you may eventually need to add more water to your steamer. According to The Infinite Kitchen, if your tamales are still mushy and cling to the wrapping, they are not fully cooked; they will feel firm when they are finished steaming. 

Whip up homemade baby food 

Baby food is abundant on the market, but the best products in cans and pouches can be expensive. Homemade baby food can be easily prepared using only a vegetable steamer and a food processor. This is an excellent way to introduce your children to fresh produce. 

The advantage of steaming over other methods of preparing homemade baby food is that the highest level of nutritional value is preserved. Follow our guidelines for steaming vegetables to prepare your products, including cutting them into uniform sizes for cooking.  

We recommend steaming washed fruits and vegetables for approximately 10 minutes or until they can be mashed with a fork. If you are beginning to introduce solid foods to your baby, we suggest pureeing in a food processor. However, if they have been eating for a while, you can switch to mashing with a fork to create chunkier pieces. You can also make large batches of baby food and freeze any leftovers. 

FAQs

Steamers are most commonly used to cook vegetables, meat, and fish. You can add prepped veggies like potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, spinach, green beans, artichokes, and more.

The Aluminum Steamers are ideal for steaming crabs, lobster, and other sorts of seafood as well as cooking vegetables or tamales.

Steaming is widely acknowledged as one of the healthiest ways to cook your vegetables. It keeps in many more nutrients than boiling, and is just as simple to do – especially if you invest in a purpose-made electric steamer. And these days, buying a steamer doesn’t have to break the bank either.

How to steam vegetables: a tutorial!
  1. Step 1: Chop the veggies into uniform pieces. 
  2. Step 2: Fill the pot with water under the steamer basket. 
  3. Step 3: Add the veggies, cover, and steam until crisp tender (timing below). 
  4. Step 4: Drain and season.

Steamed frozen vegetables: can take anywhere from 2-10 minutes, depending on the vegetable. Roasted frozen vegetables: typically takes 20-25 minutes with a flip halfway through. Grilled frozen vegetables: the time varies based on vegetables, but typically takes between 5 and 10 minutes.

  1. Place the silicone steamer inside a large pot. 
  2. Pour water in the pot so the water level is at least 3 inches below the bottom of the steamer bowl.
  3. Place the vegetables in the steamer and put a lid on the pot. 
  4. Steam the vegetables until they’re tender, anywhere from two to 40 minutes, depending on the vegetable.

The short answer is yes, silicone is safe. According to the FDA, food-grade silicone cookware and utensils do not cause harmful chemical contamination of foods. If you are nervous about using silicone when cooking or baking, focus on using silicone kitchen tools and avoid cookware.

  1. Cut the vegetables into evenly sized pieces.
  2. Bring 1 inch of water to a simmer in a large stock pot over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low.
  3. Place a steamer basket over the simmering water. …
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and uncover, tilting the lid away from you (to avoid the steam).

Vegetables with the longest cooking times include carrots, onions, and hearty greens like collards. These can take 10-15 minutes. Potatoes can take even longer, and some people simmer them in water first to make them sauté more quickly.

This is a bad practice, however, and you should avoid adding baking soda when boiling any type of vegetable. It has various unwelcome effects, such as softening the vegetable, altering the vegetable’s flavor, destroying thiamine content, and hastening the loss of vitamin C.

Researchers found steaming kept the highest level of nutrients. “Boiling vegetables causes water soluble vitamins like vitamin C, B1 and folate to leach into the water,” Magee said.

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