Health directly depends on nutrition, and nutrition depends on the way food is prepared. Boiled foods lose all nutrients and minerals, fried foods harm and burden the ingredients. Steam cooking is one of the basics of proper nutrition, which has become more than affordable today..
A steamer is a device for preparing a wide variety of dishes. Meat, chicken, fish, vegetables, baby food, side dishes, cereals, omelet – all this can be easily done in one device. The steamer consists of several tiers, a niche for pouring water and a heating element. However, the latter may not exist, it all depends on the type.
A steam cooking device can be:
- for gas stove.
Models for a gas stove are not as diverse, unlike electric subspecies, but they also have earned a good reputation with housewives. They represent a stainless steel pan with one or more tiers.
Advantages of a gas steamer:
- energy saving;
- the ability to cook several dishes;
- fast heating of food;
- the possibility of using the device as a saucepan;
- easy cleaning.
However, it was not without a minus. So, the gas model should always be supervised..
Electric models are classified into two large types:
Embedded models are distinguished by their large volume and a huge number of functions. In it, you can not only prepare meals for the whole family, but also take proper care of the appliance thanks to the cleaning functions. In addition, most built-in models are connected directly to the water supply system, which means that you don’t have to worry about running out of water in a double boiler. It should be noted that built-in appliances are in a high price category, in contrast to more democratic free-standing models..
Stand-alone electric steamers consist of a water tank, baskets for loading products, a condensate collection tank, a mechanical or electronic work area. The mechanics consists of a circular timer switch with a timeline. The electronic model has a display on which you can see the cooking time and the remaining time, as well as several buttons with changing modes, selected for certain products.
In addition, the types of electric steamers may vary depending on useful features such as:
- a reminder of the need to descale;
- automatic shutdown of the device when the water is completely evaporated;
- “fast steam” mode, aimed at maximizing the receipt of vitamins from food;
- memory function of recipes previously prepared in this device.
How to choose?
The first criterion of a model is its size. The volume of steam baskets here ranges from 1.5 to 3.5 liters, and the volume of the bowl for rice and any other side dishes is from 0.7 liters to 2 liters. Anyone who wants to buy a steamer should soberly assess the frequency of cooking and the number of people in the family who prefer steaming food. So, if only children’s dishes are to be cooked, containers with minimal dimensions will be quite sufficient.
The next important aspect is power. Modern models are presented in the range from 600 to 2000 watts. It should be said that chasing the most powerful devices is not at all necessary here, because the speed of the prepared dishes is influenced not only by the power, but also by the presence of useful and high-speed modes, for example, “fast steam”.
Mechanics or electronic display is a matter of taste. Both those and other models have proven themselves from the best side. The advantages of mechanics lie in the ease of operation, accessible even to a child. The electronic system has more functions and modes.
It should be said that the number of modes in most models is 2-3. Models in the high price segment delight users with 5-6 modes. The most basic and important are:
- steam boost for sterilizing bottles.
The presence of all of the above modes is a sign of a good steamer. Additional modes often do not find room in daily cooking.
When choosing the number of steam baskets, you should also think about the size of the family.. So, two tiers are enough for cooking a family of three. More tiers will increase the amount of food cooked, however, it will also increase the cooking time, because the steam filling of all containers will be slower..
Wanting to save your own time, you can pay attention to the presence of a water indicator. It will prevent the baskets from being lifted to check the remaining water. Another time-saving detail – the ability to add water during cooking through the hole. In its absence, the steamer may overheat and turn off automatically. In such a situation, water can be added only after the device has been completely turned off and all baskets have been lifted..
You should also pay attention to the handles at the condensate drain tank, or rather, their presence. In this case, draining hot liquids will be as safe as possible..
The material for steam baskets is one of the key values. It can be made of heat resistant plastic, glass or stainless steel. The last option is the most acceptable and successful, because the food in it retains the temperature for a longer time. Transparent plastic bowls fog up a lot during the cooking process, so the desire to see food during the cooking process is not destined to come true..
And, of course, a well-known brand can provide a good purchase. Large firms provide all the necessary guarantees, carry out repairs and exchanges. In addition, while maintaining their reputation, companies use only high-quality and safe materials for humans..
Which is better: a steamer or an airfryer?
Today, the competition between a double boiler and an airfryer is becoming more intense. Their functions are similar, which means that there is a reason for thought when choosing the really necessary device..
The main differences between a steamer and an airfryer:
- in a double boiler, you can cook several dishes at the same time, in an airfryer – one;
- the airfryer is able to dry, bake, fry, steam, smoke meat and fish, the steamer is the best in cooking with steam;
- the cost of a double boiler with a large number of modes corresponds to the cost of a middle class airfryer;
- the airfryer is able to replace the oven and microwave.
Speaking of the similarities, it is worth saying that each of the appliances can easily prepare a healthy dietary meal for the whole family. The best option here must be determined individually. For example, when buying a set of household appliances for a new apartment, you can save on the purchase of an oven and microwave using an airfryer. If you have all of the above and want to cook simply and easily steamed, the best solution would be a classic steamer with several baskets..
Comparing models of different price and functional classes is quite difficult, so a reasonable solution would be to subdivide the best models into groups..
So, among the steam ovens of a democratic class in the range of 900-1300 rubles, the following stand out:
- SUPRA FSS-201 with a useful shutdown function when there is no water in the tank;
- Ladomir 502K – an inexpensive model with two spacious tiers;
- Smile SC 1703 – the best model in terms of cooking speed and the number of dishes cooked at the same time.
Despite domestic production, the Ladomir model stands out in this price range. It has a water quantity indicator, two 2.5 liter bowls and mechanical control. Despite the power of 400 W, simple dishes and baby food in this device conquer with their benefits and taste..
SUPRA and Smile are also mechanically operated and easy to use. Each of them has a timer that limits the cooking time to no more than an hour. 800 and 750 watts of power expand your cooking options.
Moving on to more powerful and versatile devices, the following models stand out:
- Tefal VC 3008;
- Braun FS 5100;
- Zauber X-570.
The latter, it should be said, with a capacity of 9 liters, has a cost in the range from 2000 to 2500 rubles. At the same time, the model has an electric control, a steel case and transparent bowls made of impact-resistant plastic.
Tefal and Braun have an order of magnitude higher cost. The price of 8,000 rubles determines a good power from 850 to 900 W, the ability to wash the device in a dishwasher.
However, it is difficult for these models to compete with professional and very functional devices, the cost of which in most cases exceeds 10,000 rubles. Model BORK F700 It stands out sharply among its fellows, thanks to the steam baskets located next to each other. This factor allows you to simultaneously cook dishes of the same complexity. In addition, the 4.5 water tank practically reduces its complete evaporation to zero..
Note that baskets on one level require a significant amount of space, which not every kitchen has. The compact professional model PHILIPS HD9140 was created specifically for such small-sized premises. No water shutdown and all useful functions are included in this electronically controlled device.
Often, young mothers become users of steamers, because it is then that there is an urgent need to prepare vegetables and fruits for the fragile ventricle of the baby. And as mothers recommend, if you do not want to spend the entire family budget on buying ready-made baby food and mashed potatoes, this useful device is really worth getting..
Users note the full disclosure of each ingredient as they cook. Potatoes, carrots, cabbage and other ingredients play in a stew in a completely different way than in a standard stew. Someone likes such distinction and isolation to taste, someone, on the contrary.
Cooking in a double boiler becomes a discovery and joy for many. However, the owners of three baskets of steamers of most brands note the uselessness of the upper basket, because the food in it is cooked very slowly and tediously. Often, after preparing the lower tier, the upper basket is rearranged to the floor below..
The perforations, or so-called “holes” in the baskets, also evoke mixed emotions. On the one hand, they help food to cook evenly, but on the other hand, they are easily clogged and cause a lot of trouble for the hostess. Young mothers are especially unhappy with this factor, because every minute counts with a child..
Many women still stick to gas stove models. The ability to hide such a steamer in a closet and take it out only when necessary saves space, and the cost saves a budget. In addition, something magical is not expected from such a model, and the property of steam to prepare food is 100% justified..
Summarizing the reviews, it can be noted that inexpensive models of electrical appliances remain a priority. They are affordable and simple, capable of becoming an integral assistant for a growing up baby. Lovers of proper nutrition and adherents of a healthy lifestyle remain satisfied with professional devices..