Make Your Own Steamer
February 24, 2009 by Kate Heyhoe
by Kate Heyhoe
Cooktop cooking can be more than six times as energy efficient as oven cooking. Steaming is one form of cooktop cooking.
Types of Steamers: Bamboo steamers, the kind used with woks, are biodegradable, but foods may stick unless you place them on a plate or line the steamer with lettuce leaves or parchment paper; bamboo also releases its own grassy aroma, which may or may not be desirable. Stainless-steel steamers require more resources to manufacture, but they can last decades, and they clean up readily. For steaming one dish at a time, inexpensive collapsible steamer baskets work fine, and some cookware pots come with steamer inserts.
NGB Tip: Instead of buying more equipment, shrink your cookprint by making a steamer out of an existing pot, like this:
1. Raise the food using a rack or any pedestal-like object tall enough to elevate it above water level. Examples: Set a plate or a roasting rack over a small empty can (with ends cut out; a tuna can works well) a heatproof trivet, or a canning jar lid. Or use a metal colander if it fits in the pot.
2. Steam the food on a heatproof plate to catch the juices; or it can rest on a rack, or a lettuce leaf, or a cornhusk, or a piece of foil, or parchment paper, a pie pan, or a tart pan. (Just make sure there’s enough room for the steam to circulate.)
3. If your pot doesn’t have a proper lid, cover it with a plate or a heavy baking sheet; if necessary, set a weight on top (like a can or kettle of water) to hold it in place.
Find more tips to shrink your cookprint in Kate Heyhoe’s book Cooking Green