When it comes to equipment selection, could what you think is true be holding you back in the kitchen?
Here’s one thing we know to be true: steamers are a versatile option that allow operators to cut down on cook time while keeping the nutritional integrity and appetizing look of the steamed product. With these benefits, steamers can even replace microwaves and stovetops in the back of house.
Still, there may be some misconceptions in the market about the function and features of countertop steamers. We’re setting the record straight and debunking seven myths around steamers to show how they can take your menu to the next level.
Myth #1: Menu items that can be cooked in a steamer are limited.
Steamers are known for use with leafy greens, shellfish (clams, lobster, mussels, shrimp), fish, dim sum and potstickers. But, countertop steamers are also a great option for cooking/retherming tofu, squash, falafel, steak strips, sweet potatoes, and even baked goods like cakes. Steamers can also be used with a five-second cycle to melt cheese on sandwiches and make nachos.
Myth #2: Smells and flavors cross over in steamers.
Steaming foods uses water, not grease or oil. There is little transfer of flavors or smells with multiple baskets or within a basket.
Myth #3: Steaming takes too long to cook foods.
Cooking times will vary by food type, the amount to be cooked, and whether the food is room temperature, refrigerated or frozen. For example, cooking times can take from 30 seconds for tortellini to five minutes for bone-in chicken. With the Antunes Jet Steamer, scrambled eggs can be cooked as quickly as 12 seconds. Retherming takes much less time than cooking, and melting cheese can be done in just a few seconds.
Myth #4: Steaming changes the texture of food.
Items that are already crisp, such as tortillas and tortilla chips, will still be crisp after a short cheese-melting cycle. During cooking, the steaming process does not dry out the food, so the outside layer will not crisp or brown. Steamed foods will retain their original appearance but have a moist texture.
Myth #5: Steaming makes foods wet.
Antunes steamers use steam with little condensation, cooking foods quickly without residual water. This method is perfect for keeping excess water running off vegetables or pasta during plating, compared to traditional cooking methods.
Myth #6: Steamers are only for large quantities of food.
“Fresh” and “made-to-order” are current trends in foodservice, and countertop steamers can help operators address them. These more compact models are ideal for cooking or retherming individual portions — even individual tortillas — and avoiding waste from holding cooked foods.
Myth # 7: Microwaves are faster than steamers.
Kitchens can now use steamers that match and surpass a microwave’s speed and ease of use. Countertop steamers can seamlessly replace microwaves — offering operators a way to cook foods quickly while keeping the nutritional integrity and appetizing look of the final dish.
Steaming foods is one way to create a great-tasting bite, while providing a way to address consumers’ needs for fresh, made-to-order offerings and foods cooked without added oil or butter. And because steamers can be used to cook a variety of menu items, they give operators greater flexibility and efficiency.
Is it time to take a second look at steaming? Antunes’ has a full lineup of versatile countertop steamers to fit your operation – see which one is right for you.