The Food Technology Web Site
Steaming is the cooking of prepared foods by steam (moist heat) under varying degrees of pressure.
There are two methods of steaming: atmospheric or low pressure and high pressure.
- In low pressure steaming food may be cooked by direct or indirect contact with the steam.
- direct, in a steamer or in a pan of boiling water, e.g. steak and kidney pudding;
- indirect, between two plates over a pan of boiling water.
- High pressure steaming takes place in purpose-built equipment, which does not allow the steam to escape, therefore enabling steam pressure to build up, increasing the temperature and reducing cooking time.
- Retention of nutritional value
- Makes some foods lighter and easier to digest
- Low pressure steaming reduces risk of overcooking
- High pressure steaming enables food to be cooked or reheated quickly because steam is forced through the food cooking it rapidly
- Labour-saving and suitable for large-scale cookery
- High speed steamers used for 'batch' cooking enable the frequent cooking of small quantities of vegetables throughout the service. Vegetables are freshly cooked, retaining colour, flavour and nutritive value
- With steamed fish, the natural juices can be retained by serving with the fish or in making an accompanying sauce
- Steaming is economical on fuel as a low heat is needed and a multi-tiered steamer can be used
- Foods can look unattractive
- It can be a slow method
Examples of foods which you might choose to cook by steaming:
Fish e.g. sole;
Meat, e.g. tongue, ham and bacon|
Vegetables, e.g. almost all vegetables are suitable
Sweet puddings, e.g. suet, sponge
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Web site created by Media Matters Education Consultancy.
Summarised and reproduced with permission from Hodder & Stoughton
Full text available in Practical Cookery by Cesarani, Kinton & Foskett.