These days, most people want to live a healthier lifestyle. One of the best places to start this journey is your diet. If you’re not eating good, then vegetables can be your best friends.
There are many healthy diets that want you to eat steamed vegetables. Studies show that vegetables are very healthy when they’re steamed; studies show that they’re much more nutritious.
The best way to steam your vegetables is with a personal steamer. It really does make it easy to eat healthy because the finished product is so good.
What Is It?
Although you’ve probably heard of it, maybe you don’t fully understand what a steamer really is. For starters, it’s a kitchen appliance; so typically, you’ll be using it in your home kitchen.
It’s used to prepare your favorite food, and it has a sealed container that fills up with steam. When compared with alternatives, the sealed container greatly reduces the amount of liquid and steam that is able to escape. The device uses boiling water to produce the steam.
The benefit of a steamer is that it doesn’t require oil or submerging the food under water, which eliminates a ton of the nutrients.
You will find that most food steamers have two compartments; the first is used for boiling water and producing steam while the other contains the food.
Most consumers end up using their steamer for rice and vegetables. However, there are many types of food that taste delicious when steamed. A lot of people like to put fish and other types of meat into it.
When food is steamed, it’s viewed as a healthier alternative to cooked food. This method of preparation allows food to keep its crispness, nutrients and color.
How Does Steaming Work?
The process of steaming consists of surrounding food with hot water vapor. It’s a cooking technique that uses moist heat inside of an enclosed environment.
The reason why so many different people advocate it is because it enables vegetables and other foods to retain their nutrients. When simmered in water, the nutrients in food leach out into the water. Steaming can work very well for Asian dumplings, stuffed chard leaves and green beans.
Tips for Effective Steaming
- Always make sure you’ve put enough water into the steamer – you want it to last through the entire cycle. Adding more water later will cause the temperature to drop and disturb the process. It’s especially important to check the water level when using a stovetop steamer.
- You can steam a wide range of foods, but some are much more enjoyable than others. Some of the top foods for this are vegetables, skinless, boneless chicken breasts and tender proteins, such as fish fillets.
- Always arrange your larger pieces of food in one layer. For example, these could be fillets or dumplings. Make sure to leave a bit of room between every piece because the steam needs to be able to circulate around the food. If you’re doing green beans, broccoli or other vegetables, go ahead and pile them loosely into the steamer. It’s very important that you leave space between the foods because that it what gives you even cooking.
- Be careful when opening the steamer and keep the lid away from your hands and face. Hot steam can easily cause severe burns.
- Always avoid removing the lid too many times because this causes the temperature to drop sharply, and the food will not cook evenly.
- If you’re doing foods that are really bland, you can add some subtle flavor with aromatic ingredients to the water. You can try leeks, onions, tea or herbs. However, you might just want to add some sauce to the finished meal instead.
When shopping, you will find three major types of steamers. The first is basically just a metal basket that has holes in it, and you place it into an existing pot for use on a stovetop.
Steam rises out of the pot, through the holes in the basket and cooks the food. The second type is another stovetop version, and it’s basically like a double-boiler, but it’s made specifically for steaming food. The third option is the best, and it’s a dedicated product.
It usually sits on your countertop, plugs into the wall and is made solely for steaming. This is the preferred option for most consumers because it gives you the greatest level of control.
A dedicated model should have digital controls and other useful features, and it might have multiple layers for steaming, which give you ultimate control over the finished product.
However, this is also the most expensive option, but after using it, you will agree that it’s certainly worth the money.
Why Get A Steamer?
One of the top reasons is for better health. Steamed vegetables are an excellent part of a healthy diet, and when cooked this way, they retain all of their valuable nutrients.
Many people are shocked to find out how much better vegetables taste after they’ve been steamed – it produces an entirely different eating experience when compared with non-steamed veggies.
If you’re not really into vegetables, there are MANY other types of food that you can steam. Rice is a healthy option.
THE TOP THREE FOOD STEAMERS FOR 2014
If you’re looking for the best food steamer, then we really have a treat for you! Once you’ve tasted the goodness that is steamed vegetables, you will never want to go back. They really do taste THAT good, and they’re very easy to make.
We have spent time researching these products, and we picked three of them and compiled our findings into a top-three list. You just have to decide which of the three models seems suitable for your needs.
After reading countless reviews, we saw that this model was surely the #1 pick. It’s the Hamilton Beach Digital Steamer, and to be honest, it’s easily the best steamer we’ve ever found.
Although you can definitely use it to steam vegetables, it can be used for MANY other purposes. You can cook all sorts of different types of food with this product. It has two tiers and a removable divider, and it’s quite easy to use the divider to separate the different tiers.
However, if you want to steam larger foods, you can just remove the divider. We really like this model because it switches to warm once the food is finished. It can fit a head of broccoli, corn on the cob or a range of other foods. It makes it very easy to steam fish, lobster and other types of seafood.
It has too many features to name, which is obviously one of the reasons why it’s a best seller. It works well for steaming hot dogs, chicken breasts and brown rice, and if you’re feeling adventurous, you can mix all of it together!
This particular model comes with a rice bowl, which is more than perfect for brown or white rice and smaller foods. It can cook eggs – hard-boiled or soft-cooked. There is really no limit to what you can make with this affordable steamer.
Some reviewers have said that it shouldn’t be used for baby food, but we’re not so sure about that. For the price, you seriously cannot get a better product.
Although it’s very effective at what it’s supposed to do, it’s also very simple. When you consider its price point, you now know why we chose this product as our #1 choice. You can go and buy it right here.
For our second choice, the Oster 5712 Electronic 2-Tier 6-Quart Food Steamer seemed to do the trick. It has a 2-tiered, 6-quart steamer capacity. It creates instant steam, so it’s perfect for a variety of different foods. It allows you to delay cooking for as long as 12 hours.
It has an LCD display and a 95-minute timer. There is also an automatic keep-warm setting, which makes sure your finished product will never get cold. The water filling system is external and has a see-through reservoir. The steaming trays are fully-collapsible.
This product also comes with a 2.3-quart and 3.8-quart steaming bowls. You also get 8 egg holders, which are perfect for making some delicious soft or hard-boiled eggs. As you might expect, this product is built to the North American Electrical standards. We chose this product because it’s very easy to use, yet it’s incredibly simple and straightforward.
There is no guessing needed to understand what the buttons do or how everything works. You can get up and steaming in just a couple minutes, which includes good prep time.
The digital timer works very well, and you can even make some tasty Asian food. When compared with many of the alternatives, this model has a much faster operation. For the low price, you really can’t get better value for your money. Purchase this product here.
The third choice was kind of difficult to make, but after carefully considering the competing models, we went with the T-fal VC133851 Balanced Living Compact 4-Quart 2-Tier Electric Food Steamer. It has a 4-quart capacity, which consists of 2 tiers that have 2 quarts each.
There are a total of 2 tiers, and one of them has a removable plate, which is perfect for the larger items. The digital controls are all very easy to read and comprehend. There is a 60-minute timer that makes the whole process that much more efficient.
You don’t have to guess when it will be done because you can just set the timer. We really like this model because it’s compact, so it stores very easily, even in small cabinets.
It has a great warranty, but you probably won’t need it. This is truly a great product from T-Fal, and it offers unmatched value for your money when compared with alternative products. Buy it right here.