Food steamers provide a healthy cooking method that allows fruits, vegetables and meats to retain their natural nutrients and minerals without being saturated or diminished by cooking oils, sauces and butter. Food Steamers are available in various forms, allowing for the preparation of different ingredients at the same time. Electric, bamboo and microwaveable steamers effectively produce lean and nutritious foods using similar methods of cooking food with steam from boiling water.
Electric food steamers should be assembled according to product directions and plugged in near where food is being prepared for accessibility. Pour 1 to 2 cups of water into the bottom compartment, bringing it to a boil. Place vegetables or meat into the top container with holes, and put the lid on, setting the timer based on product cooking guidelines. Vegetables typically require 10 to 15 minutes of steaming, with meat cooking times varying due to type of meat and texture preferences. Steamers with multiple compartments are convenient for preparing various parts of a meal. Vegetables can be placed in the top compartment, with meat in the bottom compartment, cooking an entire meal with the use of one appliance.
Bamboo steamers provide effective steaming of vegetables and rice. Place chopped or diced food on the bamboo trays within the steamer. Pour 1 to 2 cups of water into a wok, skillet or pan so that it will touch the surface but not submerge the bottom of the bamboo steamer. Bring the water to a boil on high and place the bamboo steamer in the pan, allowing it to simmer on medium. The bamboo tray has holes in it, so that steam can seep upward and cook the vegetables or rice until tender.
Microwaveable steamers allow for faster preparation of steamed foods, with microwaveable tiered steamers providing various sizes of containers for small or large portions of food. Place water in the bottom container and vegetables in the top container that has holes in it. Put the lid on. Stack the containers in the microwave, with the water beneath the vegetables, allowing steam to rise up and tenderise the food. Microwaves typically steam food within 5 minutes, and can be set for a longer duration dependent upon desired texture.