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Cooking with a steamer is one of the best ways for someone to cook foods in a healthy manner. Foods are arranged on the layers of the steamer, and the steamer is placed over boiling liquid. This allows the steam to rise and circulate around the food, cooking all of the food on the layers. A few tips that an individual might use when cooking with a steamer are to flavor the food in some way, place meats on the bottom layer of the steamer, arrange items in single layers, keep items the same size for even cooking and place larger items on the bottom so they cook in the same amount of time as smaller items.
Although steaming food is generally healthy, it does not mean that the food lacks flavor. It is important to season the food when steaming it. This might be done in a number of ways, such as using a seasoned liquid to steam the food, seasoning the food before steaming it or marinating the food before it is steamed. The liquid used to produce the steam might be seasoned with wine, broth or herbs and spices. This creates seasoned steam that lightly flavors the food that is being steamed.
When steaming meat, an individual should place the meat on the bottom layer of the steamer. Cooking with a steamer involves liquid circulating around the foods being cooked, so liquid falls from the foods. If meat is placed on top, the liquid from the meat that is cooking will fall on to other foods below it, possibly causing contamination.
Someone cooking with a steamer usually should arrange items to be cooked in single layers. This helps ensure that all of the food is cooked evenly and in the same amount of time. In addition to arranging items in a single layer, the cook also should consider keeping items in each layer of the steamer the same size. This helps the items cook within the same amount of time.
Another tip that might be useful when cooking with a steamer is to place larger items on the bottom layers of the steamer. These items will be closer to the steam and will cook faster than other items. If the smallest items are placed in the top layers of the steamer, they will be farther away from the steam and can cook in about the same time that it takes to cook the larger items.
Season, season, season. That's the only way steamed food retains any of its flavor, period, in my opinion.
However, some studies have reported that steaming vegetables also leaches nutrients out of the food. The current wisdom says roast the vegetables for maximum nutrient retention.
In any event, seasoning steamed vegetables has to be done for them to be even remotely palatable. In general, I am not a fan of steamed vegetables because their texture also suffers, along with them not being very flavorful.
But, if someone does want to steam vegetables, I would advise not steaming them longer than absolutely necessary, to retain flavor and nutrients. And once again: season them.
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