Choose Steamers for Smart and Healthy Meals

Some methods of cooking can extremely negatively affect the nutrients contained in healthy foods. For example, broccoli loses almost a hundred percent of its valuable nutrients when cooked in the microwave and over 80% when boiled.

A good steamer is the best and most nutritious way to cook food from vegetables and rice to fish, chicken and other meats. And steamers don’t use as much energy and are quick to clean up.

There are several types of steamers you can choose. The Chinese have been using bamboo steamers for centuries – and besides providing healthier fare when steamed, your food retains its fresh color and flavor – and those all-important nutrients.

Don’t confuse rice cookers with steamers. You can cook several layers of food items with steamer baskets, whereas rice cookers are more suitable for one layer. The lower levels of a steamer cook foods more rapidly and the steamer doesn’t require any fats at all.

Simply season your foods by adding them to the water or marinating them before steaming. The lower levels of a good steamer will cook your veggies or other items more rapidly, whereas the upper levels take longer and are perfect for larger food items.

Cooking a variety of foods at the same time in the steamer makes for easy cleanup and perfect timing for your meals. Choose from a variety of food steamer types. For example, bamboo steamers can cook food with very little water (no oil) or you can choose a stainless steel steamer that’s BPA-free and dishwasher-safe.

There are certain things you may want to remember when choosing and using a steamer. First, choose a steamer which doesn’t let steam escape. To get the job done perfectly, the steam should remain within the pot.

Always use fresh ingredients when possible and if you’re steaming in one layer, make sure that you cook foods of the same size at the same time. Use as little water as possible (look at instructions for the steamer for guidance) and don’t let it touch the food for perfect steaming.

Also, allow enough space between the food items in the steamer so the steam can circulate to do its job. The instructions for the steamer will recommend certain cooking times, but use your own judgment and consider how much or little you like your food cooked.

Most of all, have fun with your steamer. Add spices and herbs to your food for flavorful seasoning and use your favorite wine or beef, chicken or vegetable broth in place of the typical water for your steamer.

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