People have used steam to cook their meals for thousands of years. If you’ve never used steam to cook, then that long history probably doesn’t assuage you much. Just because other people can do it doesn’t mean that you can.
However, with some helpful information in your pocket and a teachable attitude, you can learn any cooking method you set your mind to. I’ve created an introduction to cooking with your steam oven to help get you started on this cooking method journey.
My introduction includes some of the benefits of cooking with steam, a how-to guide for your first time, and a few food suggestions. While all steam ovens are different, this introduction should help you feel more comfortable using a steam oven as a beginner.
Benefits of Steam Cooking
Before you consider buying a steam oven, you probably wonder why people want one in the first place. You may have noticed that steam-centric appliances have gained a significant amount of popularity in the past few years in kitchen retail and recipes. Most kitchens come equipped with microwaves, stoves, and ovens that can perform most cooking methods. Why do you need a steam oven too? Cooking with steam, especially in a controlled environment like a steam oven, has many benefits.
One of the biggest benefits of steam cooking is that it’s healthier than other cooking methods. Who doesn’t love a simple step in the cooking process that makes meals naturally healthier and more nutritious? Steam appliances don’t require oil, since they use moist heat, which helps lower your cholesterol and maintain heart health. Steam also seals in nutrients and flavors that get lost in other cooking methods, such as boiling.
You don’t need a steam oven to successfully steam food. There are various steaming methods and techniques to know, which can include steaming in other kitchen appliances, such as your microwave. However, steaming in a designated steaming device often yields the best results.
To start cooking with your steam oven, you’ll fill the water reservoir to the water line. After your first time, refill the reservoir as needed. Always check the reservoir before cooking, so you know you have enough water to start.
Then, you’ll select the appropriate mode on your oven. Many steam ovens can steam and use other cooking methods, such as bake, so make sure you select your desired mode. Set your timer and place your food in the oven.
Now, all you have to do is wait! Your food will cook evenly and cleanly in your steam oven, and you can then enjoy eating it.
While you can cook almost anything in a steam oven, some foods steam better than others. Lean meats such as fish and chicken often do well in a steam oven. Steaming vegetables is a great way to soften them for easy eating while maintaining their health benefits and flavors. Harder vegetables like broccoli and carrots often do better with steaming, since softer vegetables like spinach and peas may become too soft for comfortable eating.
Small grains such as couscous and lentils also steam well, as long as you include enough extra water. The steam does not provide enough moisture on its own to cook grains, since the steam is technically just the heating element. Create a 2:1 mix of water to grain, and then steam that mixture for the best results. There are plenty of different nutritious food options to include in your recipes when you cook with a steam oven.
This introduction to cooking with your steam oven will help you feel more comfortable and confident when using your new kitchen appliance. Give yourself plenty of time to adjust to this new cooking method and be willing to experiment. Learning any new skill takes time and patience, including cooking with a steam oven.