Collapsible steamer baskets are great to have in the kitchen. They can be used for many different jobs and take up a very little space. This article will reveal how to use a collapsible steamer basket in your kitchen.
What are collapsible steamer baskets?
Collapsible steamer baskets use steam to cook foods. They are usually made from two different materials: stainless steel and silicon. They tend to have a non-detachable base that they stand on, but there is a collapsible design that allows the entire unit to fit inside a pot it is cooking in. Their panels open and close like the petals of flowers.
Many stovetop stainless steel and silicone steamers have the tripod base having three small feet that hold the steamer about an inch above the bottom of the frying pan. When not in use, these feet fold up, and the steamer lies flat. Collapsible steamers come in a variety of different sizes, with most holding between one and three quarts of food at a time.
How to use a collapsible steamer?
Using a collapsible stovetop steamer basket is easy. Follow these simple steps to learn how to steam your veggies and other food items using a collapsible steamer.
1. The first thing you need is to add water to the pot you are going to use. Make sure the water is clean. The amount of water depends on the size of the pot you have. Also, it depends on the type of food you are going to steam cook.
Keep in mind that the bottom of your steamer basket should never be in contact with the water. Rather than steam cooking your food, the boiling water will boil your meal. This will ruin the entire cooking process.
2. Allow the water to boil first. It is suggested that you boil the water first to get the best results. However, it is not necessary to always boil it first. You can place the steamer inside the pot loaded with your meal and then boil the water to steam cook your meal. But in the end, it again depends on what you are cooking.
3. As soon as the water reaches its boiling point, put your food onto the steamer basket and place it inside the pot. Make sure you are using the handle to put it inside.
When doing this, lower the heat.
4. Next, cover the pot using a lid. The steaming time is determined by the type of meal you are making.
If they are veggies, it will take around 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the vegetable type.
If they are fruits, it may take 5 to 20 minutes, depending on the fruit.
Steaming meat can take you around 10 to 30 minutes. Seafood can be easily steam-cooked in 5 to 20 minutes, rice can take 10 to 30 minutes, and eggs will be ready to serve in 8 to 15 minutes.
Of course, the cooking time varies depending on what you are cooking.
5. After steam cooking your meal, turn off the burner, take out the steamer carefully, and enjoy your delicious steam-cooked meal.
Benefits of using a collapsible steamer basket
The following are the benefits of using a collapsible steamer.
- Collapsible steamer baskets are perfect for cooking vegetables, seafood, poultry products as well as dumplings. They can be used to speed up your steaming process so that you do not have to keep waiting for long. They also help in evenly cooking the food to avoid uneven flavors and taste.
- The collapsible steamer basket is an excellent alternative to other types of steamers. Because of their foldable and expandable design, they can easily fit into pots, pans, and pressure cookers of various sizes.
- After using a collapsible steamer basket, it collapses into a very compact size that takes up very little space in the cupboard.
- They are ready to use as there is no assembly required to make them functional.
- Most of the collapsible steamers are dishwasher safe, making them easy to clean.
- They are extremely light in weight and economical too.
Tips and tricks to steam cook your food the right way
1. Always add the correct amount of water to the pot. Too much or too little water can ruin your food as well as its taste. For using collapsible steamers on gas or electric stovetops, do not fill the bottom of the pan with more than one inch of water. The steamer will produce plenty of steam to cook its contents without adding any additional water while it is cooking. If you own a propane stove with an elevated grate, fill your pot or pan with two inches of water and then place your collapsible steamer inside it.
If you are using it in a smoker, be sure that there is about one to two inches of water in your cooker when you add the food. Follow the instructions that come with your collapsible steamer for the cooking time when smoking meats.
2. Always boil the water first and then add your meal, especially if you are steaming vegetables. When the water starts to boil and create steam, turn down the heat from high to medium. However, it is not required to do this in all types of foods.
3. Never try to overfill the steamer basket. If you are adding different food items, make sure to keep those at the bottom that will take longer to cook and those on top with a shorter cooking time.
4. While steaming your food, make sure the lid is securely fitted, and there is no room for the steam to come out of the pot or frying pan.
5. Most people add water to steam cook their food. However, be more creative and use a vegetable or chicken broth instead of only using water. Also, it will be ideal if you add herbs to the water.
What is steam cooking?
Steam cooking is a form of moist-heat cooking. It is a combination of both boiling water and natural steam. It does not require any additional heat sources, making it an economical way to cook. The food cooks by coming in contact with the hot steam that rises, then condensing on the food’s surface.
It generally takes less time to finish a dish this way because there are no dry sections of the food, which leads to more even cooking times for all areas of the dish.
At what temperature water turns into steam?
Water turns to steam when it reaches the boiling point, 100 degrees Celsius or 212 degrees Fahrenheit at sea level.
What are the advantages of steam cooking?
The following are the benefits of steam cooking.
- Since steam already contains water, there is no need to use excess oils or fats while cooking. This results in healthier food. Steam also helps food retain its own moisture content. This can be useful for vegetables and fish, for example. The softness of the steam combined with the slow temperature changes of the food leaves it moist after a long time of steaming.
- In most types of cooking, heat is applied from one direction – from the top or bottom. In steaming, however, heat comes at food from multiple sides at once. This allows even heat distribution for quicker cooking times and better results.
- The most important advantage of steaming is that it allows you to retain all the nutrients and vitamins in your food and also gives them a different taste.
- Steam cooking involves gentle heating. This ensures that foods do not overcook or burn while retaining their moisture. Also, steaming prevents food from drying out.
- Another great benefit of steam cooking is that you can put different food items over the steamer basket without having to fear of transferring the flavors.
- Steaming fruits helps you to juice them more easily.
- Steaming helps you save energy and time.
Do collapsible steamer baskets come with handles?
The base has a hole for a handle that allows you to easily remove the steamer from your pot or pans. Some handles are adjustable, whereas some are removable. The adjustability of the handles allows you to lower the steamer to accommodate a tight-fitting lid. Also, it helps you raise them to lift up the steamer easily out of the pot.
You can also make use of a tong or simply remove the steamer from the pot with your hands if its handle is made of non-scalding material.
How silicone-made collapsible steamers look like?
Many silicone-made collapsible steamers look similar to their stainless steel counterparts. However, some of them have a different collapsible design. Rather than opening and closing like a flower, they are raised and collapsed vertically. Other silicone-made collapsible steamers are called microwave steamers. They don’t have feet but are raised and collapsed in the same vertical direction and have flat bases that come in contact with the revolving plate of your microwave.
Read More: Best Collapsible Steamers