Steaming food

speccy1

Guest
I`ve been given one of those electric steamers and am wanting to try it out but having never used one before how long does food take to cook?
I`m thinking mainly veg/potatoes, possibly chicken or fish.
I have no idea, anybody else use one?

Grateful for any tips!
 

Rob3rt

Man or Moose!
Location
Manchester
Depends on the food you are cooking and how you like it cooked...

Google for cooking times on particular foods then trial and error around that.
 

Panter

Just call me Chris...
Your best bet is to Google whatever it is you want to cook.
I don't think it would work for potatoes, you may as well just boil them and I can't help with the meat as I'm vegan... But, 8 minutes works an absolute treat for carrots, broccoli and cauli!
I think the benefits are more supposed to be in nutrient retention than anything else.
 
Your best bet is to Google whatever it is you want to cook.
I don't think it would work for potatoes, you may as well just boil them and I can't help with the meat as I'm vegan... But, 8 minutes works an absolute treat for carrots, broccoli and cauli!
I think the benefits are more supposed to be in nutrient retention than anything else.
It's going to be the same time as boiling presumably - after all the steam (in this scenario) can't be hotter that boiling water.
(steam in general certainly can be much hotter, but not in this kind of set up I imagine)
 

Bodhbh

Guru
It's going to be the same time as boiling presumably - after all the steam (in this scenario) can't be hotter that boiling water.
(steam in general certainly can be much hotter, but not in this kind of set up I imagine)
Hrmm, I generally find steaming spuds takes a little longer - maybe 25mins steaming vs 20mins boiling. Ofc it depends how big they are, if you chop em up, etc. I'm guessing tho steam may be hotter, the heat transfer is perhaps faster with boiling. I dont know, I do find it harder to overcook veg steaming as well.
 

fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
We find the electric steamer is a little slower than the steamer pots we have on our gas cooker. We use it loads for veg and potatoes. They taste much better.
 

Hugh Manatee

Veteran
I use our for potatoes. Not your winter jobs but in Summer, when we dig our own salad varieties, washed and quite thinly sliced, they steam very nicely.
 

Fab Foodie

hanging-on in quiet desperation ...
Hrmm, I generally find steaming spuds takes a little longer - maybe 25mins steaming vs 20mins boiling. Ofc it depends how big they are, if you chop em up, etc. I'm guessing tho steam may be hotter, the heat transfer is perhaps faster with boiling. I dont know, I do find it harder to overcook veg steaming as well.
The water and the steam will be at the same temp (unless you salt the water which raises it's boiling point) at 100C at atmospheric pressure.
The difference in cooking rate is due to the different rates of surface heat transfer between steam and boiling water.
Steam when it condenses onto food transfers heat very rapidly to the surface of the food, many orders of magnitude greater than boiling water. This is why very short contact with steam say from a kettle produces such a rapid and nasty scald compared to boiling water. So, in that case, steam then should cook faster than boiling water then?
Well, yes and no. You see steam will only condense rapidly onto a surface whilst it is much colder than the steam. But as the potato surface warms up the amount of steam condensing reduces significantly ... this is exacerbated by the fact that the potato surface also becomes wet and so steam is now condensing onto the water layer which is less effective surface heat transfer than the turbulent boiling water.
So, in the initial cooking phase, steam is much quicker but at a point it becomes less effective a heat transfer mechanism than boiling water and thus steamed spuds take longer than boiled.
 

Bodhbh

Guru
The water and the steam will be at the same temp (unless you salt the water which raises it's boiling point) at 100C at atmospheric pressure.
The difference in cooking rate is due to the different rates of surface heat transfer between steam and boiling water.
Steam when it condenses onto food transfers heat very rapidly to the surface of the food, many orders of magnitude greater than boiling water. This is why very short contact with steam say from a kettle produces such a rapid and nasty scald compared to boiling water. So, in that case, steam then should cook faster than boiling water then?
Well, yes and no. You see steam will only condense rapidly onto a surface whilst it is much colder than the steam. But as the potato surface warms up the amount of steam condensing reduces significantly ... this is exacerbated by the fact that the potato surface also becomes wet and so steam is now condensing onto the water layer which is less effective surface heat transfer than the turbulent boiling water.
So, in the initial cooking phase, steam is much quicker but at a point it becomes less effective a heat transfer mechanism than boiling water and thus steamed spuds take longer than boiled.
Thanks, I guess that explains also why it's harder to overcook stuff steaming - after the intial burst, the cooking slows down. I've always prefered steaming as it seems more idiot proof than boiling, especially when you have a few things on the go, are having a drink, guests, etc.
 
Location
London
I've used a steamer on a pan for years.

Great.

I can't see any point in an electric one to be honest. More clutter and stuff to go wrong. More care needed cleaning.

I steam veg for as little as 5 minutes.

I once told an Italian this and he scoffed.

As Brits know nowt about food and healthy eating.

I short, I'd experiment and steam for as short a time as you feel comfortable with - shorter/the closer to raw the better I reckon.

Steaming also seems to brighten the colour of some things.

All a world away from my parent's generation of course - millions of kids put off Veg for years/life by having all their veg boiled to mush for at least 20 minutes.
 

Panter

Just call me Chris...
Had a go at the spuds last night, worked a treat! They did seem to have better flavour then usual.
Also discovered that 10 minutes is not long enough for sprouts, which were edible, but distinctly tough!
 

si_c

Veteran
Location
Wirral
We find the electric steamer is a little slower than the steamer pots we have on our gas cooker. We use it loads for veg and potatoes. They taste much better.
Very definitely this. We allow pretty much the same time, slightly longer for potatoes, but the taste is much better. Especially broccoli :biggrin:
 
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