Do You Need A Steamer Pot To Properly Steam Food?


It can be easy to fall into a rut whenever it comes to cooking. It is one of the few required daily activities for many of us — even those who don’t want to. So, it is understandable for anyone to rely on the same kind of cooking day in and day out. Air fry this, slow cook that, put it in the oven at 350 degrees, and hope for the best. We all get stuck there, but one way to get out is to change things up with a new cooking method.

Steaming is one of the best cooking methods available, and it comes with tons of benefits. Roasting a chicken with lots of steam can help keep the meat from drying out, for example. Runner’s World also says that steaming vegetables is good for keeping their, color, shape, and texture thanks to the gentle heat of steam. It also preserves more nutrition than other methods like boiling.

Grand Appliance adds that it’s a good method for amateur cooks as well because it is more difficult to overcook foods with steam. Crave also notes that steaming can be a quick and easy way to prepare a meal. Just toss the food in the steamer, and let it cook. Plus, once you’ve mastered steaming you can use it in other ways, like steaming your french fries before baking them to achieve peak crispiness. Another benefit is that steaming doesn’t require the specialized equipment that you might expect.

What is a steamer pot?

A type of cookware consisting of inserts or layers with perforations in the bottom, that are assembled together and used to cook food with the use of steam. The steamer is made to position foods above, not in, water that is boiling or hot enough to produce steam to cook foods with a moist hot air.

Steaming enables foods to keep their natural flavor, color, shape, and nutritious value better than when boiled or simmered in water. It is also a method that often enhances the texture of the food being steamed. Food technicians often consider steaming to be the best way to preserve flavonoids, the compounds found in fruits, vegetables and a few beverages (beer, wine, coffee, tea, and some fruit drinks) that may contribute and provide health benefits for fighting illnesses. Steamed foods can retain the B and C vitamins that are lost with other cooking methods such as braising, baking or boiling.

Whether you’re steaming dumplings for big parties, or you steam food every day, these devices are highly effective tools to do so. However, if you’re an average person who just wants to start cooking with steam sometimes though, you really don’t need to buy specialized equipment like this.

Other ways to steam food

No steamer sitting around your kitchen? There are plenty of other ways to achieve the perfect steam. You can use items you probably already have to get the job done.

The first hack is one of our favorites, and it only requires a large pot, a heatproof plate, and some aluminum foil. First, take three sheets of aluminum foil and roll them up into baseball-sized balls. Place them on the bottom of the pot, and pour in about an inch of water. Then rest the plate on top of the foil balls, and add whatever food you’re trying to steam to the plate. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and steam away.

If you have an elevated wire cooling rack, that can also be used in place of a proper steamer. Use it exactly how you would a steamer basket: add an inch of water to a pot with a tight fitting lid, place the wire cooling rack in the pan, and place the food on top of the rack. Then close the lid, and steam to your desired doneness.

Another fun and quite easy solution is to use a disposable aluminum pie pan. These are available cheaply at most grocery stores and make for the perfect steamer basket substitute. Simply poke several holes into the bottom of the pan, settle it upside down into a pot filled with an inch of water, and place the food on top of the inverted pan. The edges of the pan will create that distance between the water and the food, and the food will rest comfortably on the flat surface of the pan.

The last, and possibly easiest, workaround is to steam food in the microwave. This method will work best with vegetables, and all you need is a bowl and some microwave-safe plastic wrap (look for a microwave-safe label on the plastic wrap box before using this method). Place your food in the bowl, add a few tablespoons of water, and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, taking extra care to make sure the plastic wrap doesn’t touch the food itself. Then microwave for 4-6 minutes until fork tender.

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