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Traditional ovens use hot air that is generated by heating elements in the oven. A fan in convection ovens distributes the air evenly around the food.

Steam ovens boil water contained in a built-in reservoir to create a cloud of steam within the oven chamber. This moist heating method is the reason why steam cooking offers worthy benefits.

Steaming works by boiling water all the time, causing it to turn into steam; the steam then carries heat to the nearby food, thus cooking the food. The food is set apart from the boiling water but has direct contact with the steam, giving rise to a moist texture in the food. This differs from double boiling, in which contact with steam is undesired.

Such cooking can also be done by placing the food into a steamer, which is a round container made of metal or bamboo. The steamer usually has a lid that is placed on the top of the container during cooking to allow the steam to cook the food. As an option, a wok filled less than half with water may be used by placing a metal frame made of stainless steel in the middle of the wok. Some modern home microwave ovens include the feature to cook food by steam vapour made in a separate water pan.

In steam cooking or steaming, the boiling water never comes in contact with the food. Heat from the steam is gentle and uniform. It slowly diffuses through the food letting the food cook in its own juice thus cutting down the loss of nutrients and keeping its texture and flavour.

Another method is to seal the food in wax paper or in bamboo or banana leaves and place on a perforated container over boiling water. This is used for marinated food recipes to allow the food to cook in its own juice.

In the Chinese traditional method of steaming rice, the rice is placed in a container with water or chicken stock. It is then cooked over steam until the liquid is absorbed and the rice cooked to perfection.

Why not start on a fresh note today and go back to the basics and learn the benefits of steam cooking. Steam cooking is not something new but has been around for centuries. Forget about micro-waves or pressure cookers or electric steamers for steam cooking can be done with just a covered pot placed over a heat source. You don’t need any fancy and high-priced utensils and the benefits you get is good for you and for your health.

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Kitchen Appliances: Why Use Steam?

Kitchen Appliances: History of Steam Cooking