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If there is one thing we truly appreciate in kitchen tools and appliances, it’s simplicity. The easier to assemble, use, clean, and store, the more valuable the tool.
A steamer basket is a collapsible semi-deep dish you place over a pot of boiling water to steam-cook your vegetables. It checks all of the above criteria, and most importantly, it is the king of healthy food preparation.
In this article, we’re going to introduce you to the steamer basket, explain how to use it, and discuss which type is the best for your eating habits.
What Is a Steamer Basket Used For?
What can you cook with a steamer basket? They are commonly used for steaming vegetables but can also cook meat and other types of foods. Here is a non-exhaustive list of meals to prepare with a steamer basket.
A steamer basket can be used to prepare hard-boiled eggs. Steamed eggs are easier to peel compared to boiled eggs. Eggs should be placed in the steamer from the beginning, not when the water is already boiling so that the shell doesn’t break during cooking.
Broccoli, carrot, paprika, and celery can be delicious when cooked in the steamer basket. You can also easily take out the pieces that are cooked earlier, like broccoli, while continuing to steam others that take longer to cook, like carrots.
A steamer basket can help you cook meat. Poached chicken breasts are much better when cooked with a steamer, but you can also try different types of meat. For example, did you know that you can actually steam a beefsteak? The opinions about this delicacy vary, so we recommend you to try it for yourself or make a beefsteak tasting party and ask your guests to tell the difference. Maybe the healthier, steamed, oil-free option will win.
How to Choose the Best Steamer Basket for Me?
Steamer baskets come in different shapes, materials, and sizes. We prefer large steamers, as they give you more space. Handle size also matters. Shorter handles make it difficult to hold the steamer, especially when it’s full of food. Longer handles are easier to use. Some steamer baskets even have telescopic handles that will extend when pulled.
Steamer baskets can be made of plastic, rubber, or metal. They can be a single piece or collapsable, depending on the model. These configurations change the way you handle them.
Silicone baskets are the easiest to clean since removing food leftovers from the plastic, and metal models can be tedious. On the other hand, the silicone ones are floppy and small, and food spills out easily, while the metal ones are usually larger and firmer.
Of course, there are also some unconventional models like the deep steamer basket or this one with large side grips.
Steamer baskets come in different sizes, so you should buy one that matches the size of the pot you intend to use.
How to Use a Steamer Basket?
A steamer basket is fairly easy to use. Here’s what you need to do:
- Fill the pot with water and put it on the stove;
- Take the steamer and insert it on top of the pot;
- Place the food in the steamer.
- Cover the pot with a lid.
When the food is ready, wait for the steamer to cool down or use the mittens to remove it from the pot. Take out your food and rinse the basket with cold water. You can hand wash it or place it in the dishwasher for cleaning.
What Can I Use Instead of the Steamer Basket?
If you don’t steam your food frequently, you can use a metal strainer or a colander instead of a steamer basket. Make sure that the pot is deep enough and that the water can boil without touching the strainer.
Alternatively, fill a pot with ½ inch of water. Then, place three aluminum foil balls of roughly equal size in the pot. Cover it with a heat-proof plate, put your food on the plate, and heat the water to steam your food.
Do I Need a Steamer Basket?
The steamer basket is not a must if you steam your food every now and then and/or only steam vegetables. You can achieve good enough results with alternatives like a stainer.
However, if you want to steam different types of foods such as meat, eggs, various veggies, and so on, and if you plan to do it more often, buying a steamer will save you time and effort.
Steamer prices range between $2 and $20. We would say that they are worth the investment.
Steamer baskets are an excellent choice for people who want to improve their diet, eat more homemade meals, and consume less fat.
Fairly simple to use, clean, and store, steamer baskets are one of the most efficient ways to prepare healthy and delicious dishes.
We recommend larger, metal, collapsable models thanks to their durability and practicality.
Amazon product information last updated on March 24, 2022. Images, prices and links from Amazon Product Advertising API.