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How Do I Choose the Best Electric Steamer?

Cynde Gregory
Cynde Gregory

Once a cook has decided upon an electric food steamer over other food steamer types, it’s time to narrow the search to the best possible option. A water reservoir with an external gauge, digital controls, and a removable base are all features that make steaming food electrically that much easier. BPA-free plastic means the food the steamer cooks will be absent of leached chemicals, and units that can be popped into the dishwasher are not only more convenient, but they help ensure safety by washing at a high enough heat to kill bacteria.

There is no shortage of reasons for why a cook might choose an electric steamer over a stove model. Some models can get dinner to the table in significantly less time than nonelectric steamers because it only takes them a half minute to convert water to steam. With an electric model, the cook doesn’t need to constantly monitor. A built-in timer alerts him or her when the food is done. While the chicken, fish, veggies, or rice are steaming away, the stove top itself is free for other tasks.

Woman baking cookies
Woman baking cookies

Of course, an electric steamer will be pricier than one designed to sit in a pan on top of the stove. Converts to electrical steam cooking point out the adage "you get what you pay for" stands true in this instance. A tour of a kitchen equipment store or a visit to the Internet will turn up dozens of styles and types. Depending upon the footprint required by available counter space, there really is an electric steamer to fit every need.

Many models allow the cook to build a sky-rise of cooking units by stacking tray upon tray. This means it’s possible to cook a wide range of different foods as well as enough food to feed a big and hungry bunch. The cook must remember that, the higher the cooking tray, the less steam is delivered. Food will take that much longer to cook at these loftier elevations.

It’s the rare cook who doesn’t look at cost, but it’s important to keep in mind that cost is more than the price tag. A less expensive electric steamer might not be as energy efficient as one that costs a bit more at the outset but merely sips the electrical juice. More durable models will inevitably be pricier, as well, but much less likely to break down and require replacement parts or replacement altogether.

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      Woman baking cookies