But the real boom of steam boiling fell on the 20th century.
It was then that the first steamer-pans appeared, which not only retained the vitamins and healthy properties of the products, but also saved time and energy significantly.
What are the benefits of steaming? Firstly, due to the fact that the products are not exposed to high temperatures, they contain more biologically active substances, beneficial microelements and vitamins.
Secondly, it is possible to cook in a double boiler without oil, which significantly reduces the calorie content of dishes.
And thirdly, in the process of preparation, no harmful compounds (carcinogens) are formed in the products.
In addition, steam treatment allows you to preserve the natural taste, shape and color of products.
Modern steamers are, as a rule, electrical devices.
However, it is very easy to build a simple steamer at home from improvised means: it is enough to put a sieve or a colander into a regular saucepan (in which products should be placed) — hot steam penetrating through the holes will create the temperature necessary for cooking.
Today, manufacturers offer a variety of types and models of steam boilers, but the principle of their work remains the same as in the case of the “steam pan”.
At the base of any such device is a container with water, on which one or several steam baskets are installed.
A condensate and juice from the products formed when heated, are collected in a special pan.
Electric steamers are convenient and safe to handle.
Even if you forget to turn off the steam cooker before leaving, you will not be in any serious trouble like a fire: after a set time or when the water evaporates completely, the device automatically turns off.
You can cook several dishes at the same time in a double boiler, but we must remember that different products need different times for heat treatment.
Therefore, those foods that cook longer (for example, meat) should be placed in the lower steam basket, and those that cook quickly (vegetables) should be placed in the top one.
Another advantage of steamers is their versatility: in steamers, you can defrost food, sterilize baby food bottles, reheat ready meals.
And most importantly, unlike the usual microwaves, which are often used for this, steamers do not emit electromagnetic radiation harmful to the body.
According to the type of control, steamers come in two forms: mechanically or electronically controlled.
Most of the steam boilers on the Russian market are mechanical. This means that you set the operating time yourself using the timer switch.
The advantage in working with such steamers is that switching on and setting the required time occurs very quickly, “in one motion”.
The models with electronic control have a keypad and a small scoreboard, which displays the selected mode, cooking time and other data.
Using them is a little more difficult, but such devices are more functional.
For example, almost all electronic boilers have an option to delay the cooking time (maximum — for 12 hours). It is very convenient. Imagine: now you don’t have to do cooking when you come home from work — the steam cooker will do everything for you, because this function allows you to start cooking the dish just before your arrival.
Another useful function of electronically controlled steamers is to keep cooked food warm. However, with all the obvious advantages, this type of double boilers have a disadvantage — to turn on such a device, you will need more time and attention: after all, instead of simply turning the switch, you will need to press different buttons and at the same time monitor the indicator readings.
Therefore, if you are going to use a steamer often and you do not need many additional features, it is better to give preference to a steamer with a mechanical control.