Tips for Using Food Steamer
You’ve heard countless times that steaming your food is the ideal healthy preparation method. You don’t add unnecessary calories during cooking, and your food retains more nutrients, minerals, and healthy oils. But there’s just one problem.
Learning how to use your steamer can be intimidating and slightly confusing. You can’t simply use standard oven cooking times. Instead of going through a series of trials and errors, there’s a better way.
This guide is full of food steamer tips to help you get started using your steamer.
1. Food Steamer Tips With Water
The most common mistake people make is adding too much water. It’s an easy one to do. You know you’re steaming food, and you need water to make steam. So more water means more steam, right?
Too much water will go above the steamer basket and cause you to boil, not steam your food. However, too little water and you’ll run out before the food is finished cooking. When this happens, you’ll burn the bottom of your pot.
2. Pay Close Attention to Your Time
Finding the ideal cooking time is crucial to having your steamed vegetables or meat come out perfectly cooked. Don’t cook them long enough, and you’ll have partially raw food that hasn’t finished cooking. Cook your food too long, and it could be mushy and soggy.
The first step is to plan your cooking. Steaming is generally a relatively fast cooking method, so it makes for a great last-minute item. To ensure your steamed veggies are done with the rest of the meal, wait to cook them.
If you find that your steamed veggies are done too soon, don’t leave them in the steamer. Leaving them in the basket will mean they keep cooking since there’s no way to turn off the steam like you would other heat. Instead, put your steamed vegetables in a bowl of ice water. This will stop the cooking process and help to keep your vegetables crisp.
If you’re unsure of how long to cook something, stick with a shorter time. Then you can check the cooking progress. You can always add more time, but you can’t uncook something that’s already turned soggy and overdone. Once you find the perfect amount of time, write it down. You’ll slowly build a mini recipe book. You’ll then have steaming down to a science and be able to cook several ingredients together with them all coming out perfectly.
3. Start Simple to Learn How It All Works
As you can see from these food steamer tips, there are several components to achieving a perfectly steamed meal. To make things easier, start simple while you’re learning. Instead of tackling a pot full of delicate seafood, try hearty root veggies instead. Instead of trying to cook several types of vegetables together, stick with one until you’ve perfected it. Before you know it, you’ll be able to cook entire meals in your Buydeem steamer.
4. Know What’s Best to Cook
To get the most out of your steamer, you need to pick the right foods to cook in it. Some fare better than others, so we’ll go over some of the top performers. We’ve grouped them into categories to make it easier.
The most popular use for steamers is to cook veggies. While most people stick with carrots and broccoli, you have many other options. You could cook leafy greens, root vegetables, cruciferous greens, and squashes. You could also try frozen vegetables.
You can cook fish and shellfish in a steamer. You’ll know the fish is ready when it becomes flaky. Shellfish tends to change colors and become less translucent.
- Beef and Lamb
Most people don’t think about it, but you can steam tender cuts of beef and lamb. The meat will retain its juicy moisture and volume. The steam cooks at a lower temperature but will cook faster than hot, dry oven air. Skip the tougher cuts of meat, though. They don’t come out as nice.
- Poultry and Eggs
You could steam a whole chicken if you wanted to. Most people opt for steaming the breasts, legs, thighs, and wings separately, tough. You’ll just want to use a meat thermometer to make sure it reaches an internal minimum of 160 degrees.
Instead of boiling your eggs, you could steam them! Six minutes in a steamer will give you cooked whites with runny yellow centers. Twelve minutes and you have perfectly cooked hard-boiled eggs.
5. Measure Everything Carefully
How long you need to steam a food will depend on its size. Measuring what you’re cooking will help you determine the accurate cooking time. This is probably one of the most important food steamer tips.
You should consider the size and overall volume of the food you’re cooking. For example, you could cook a whole chicken intact or cook a chicken that’s been divided. In both meals, you’re cooking the entire chicken. However, the smaller pieces will cook faster than the whole chicken.
6. Season the Food Before Steaming
You season your food before cooking it with other methods, so why not season your food before steaming it? Instead of just sprinkling the herbs onto your vegetables, try tossing them in a mix of olive oil and herbs. This will help the seasoning to stick to the vegetables while cooking.
For meats, let them marinate before you cook them. This will allow them to be infused with the flavors.
Following these seasoning tips helps you to eliminate bland dishes. You could experiment with seasoning both your food and the water. Try mixing and matching where you put the herbs and flavors to create different flavor profiles.
7. Seasoning the Water
You can create flavors in the water that will transfer to the food through the steam. Instead of using plain water, try mixing water and chicken or vegetable broth. A clean acidic hint could be achieved by adding lemon.
If you’re more adventurous with your food, throw some herbs in the water. Rosemary, garlic, lemongrass, and dill all work great for this. The flavor profile will be softer than if you seasoned the food directly.
8. Let the Water Boil First
One of the lesser-known food steamer tips is to wait to put your food in the basket until the water is boiling. This will give you a more exact steaming time since the cooking begins immediately. Otherwise, the food will gradually get warmer as the cold water gets hotter and eventually boils and steams.
9. Ensure You Have a Tight Seal
To effectively cook your food, the steam needs to envelop your food. If you don’t have a tight seal, the steam will escape. A leaky steamer will take longer to cook. Having an independent steamer appliance is the best way to ensure you have a tight seal. Stovetop options with a pot and basket are more likely to have leaks. You can address this by putting a tea towel over the lid.
10. Thaw the Food First
You could leave frozen foods thawing for hours. Or you could put them in your steamer for a quick and safe defrosting method. The Buydeem All-in-One Intelligent Steamer is perfect for this. It has five programs for one-touch cooking. One of those functions is thawing. You’ll love how it’s lightweight, space-saving, and easy to use.
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