Finding the best bamboo steamer

Steaming is regarded as one of the healthiest ways to prepare food, and bamboo steamers are a great way to do it. Unlike sautéing, frying and roasting, steaming doesn’t require any butter or oil, and, unlike boiling, you don’t lose many nutrients and vitamins to the water.

In this handy guide, we cover everything you need to know about bamboo steamers. If you’d rather not waste any time, though, you can jump right to our top recommendation, the Mister Kitchenware Handmade 10 Inch. It offers a 100 percent bamboo construction and comes with some useful accessories.

What to know before buying a bamboo steamer

Size

There are three factors to consider regarding a bamboo steamer’s size: the diameter, the number of tiers and each tier’s depth.

The most common diameters for home use are 8, 10 and 12 inches. However, bamboo steamers are available in several sizes, from 4-24 inches.

Bamboo steamers usually come with either two or three tiers. This stackable design allows you to cook several food items simultaneously with just a single heat source while still keeping them separate. You can buy additional units to add more tiers as needed.

The tiers are usually 2-3 inches deep. If you plan on cooking thick food items, you should choose a model with deep tiers to allow the following layer or lid to seal correctly.

Construction

As you might expect, these steamers are made primarily of bamboo. Because this is a fast-growing and sustainable wood, this makes them an eco-friendly choice. Some models may have metal fasteners or bands around the outside edge to increase their durability.

What to look for in a good quality bamboo steamer

Baskets

Inside of each steamer basket are small strips of bamboo where you place the food. These slats must be sturdy enough to support whatever you plan on cooking. They also need to be spaced close enough that you don’t have to worry about food falling through to the next basket or into the water, but also far enough apart so they allow steam to pass through freely.

Lid

The lid should be woven tightly to trap the steam. If it is too loose, the steam will escape, and your food may not cook properly. Ideally, it should have a small handle on top that makes it easy to lift it off the baskets.

Accessories

Some bamboo steamers come with valuable accessories, the most common of which is basket liners. These liners serve a dual purpose. They help prevent delicate items like fish from sticking to the slates, and they also act as a barrier so the slats won’t absorb food odors. Additional accessories may include chopsticks and small sauce dishes. 

How much can you expect to spend on a bamboo steamer

Most will find that bamboo steamers fit within their budget. Basic models constructed entirely of bamboo are often between $20-$25, while those that include many accessories or metal elements range from $30-$40. 

Bamboo steamer FAQs

How do I use a bamboo steamer?

A. Bamboo steamers are very easy to use. Simply place your food inside the baskets and stack them, adding the lid to the top. Then place the entire stack on a pot of boiling water. 

What can I cook in a bamboo steamer?

A. As long as it fits, you can cook nearly any food you can steam inside a bamboo steamer. The most common items are dumplings, vegetables and fish or poultry, but this list is by no means exhaustive. However, if you are cooking fish, poultry or meat, we recommend using a liner. You can also cook bread, eggs, custard and several other desserts inside them. Feel free to experiment with different foods and recipes.

How do you clean a bamboo steamer?

A. To clean your bamboo steamer after use, rinse it under warm water. If there is any food stuck to it, you can use your regular dish sponge. You can also periodically clean it with a diluted white vinegar solution. Never place a steamer in the dishwasher and only use soap sparingly, if at all. Make sure to let it fully dry before reassembling the components and putting them away. 

What is the best bamboo steamer?

Top bamboo steamer

Mister Kitchenware 10 Inch Handmade

Mister Kitchenware 10 Inch Handmade

What you need to know: This is a sturdy, two-tiered option with plenty of room to accommodate thick pieces of fish and sizable dim sum dumplings. 

What you’ll love: It comes with a lot of accessories, including reusable mesh liners that allow steam to circulate freely.

What you should consider: The bamboo can splinter over time with regular use.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top bamboo steamer for the money

Trademark Innovations Bamboo Rice Steamer

Trademark Innovations Bamboo Rice Steamer

What you need to know: An affordably-priced steamer, this model won’t break the bank yet should last through plenty of use.

What you’ll love: It boasts a 100 percent bamboo construction down to the fasteners.

What you should consider: You’ll have to buy your liners as this one doesn’t come with any accessories.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Zoie + Chloe Natural Bamboo Steamer

Zoie + Chloe Natural Bamboo Steamer

What you need to know: This inexpensive three-piece steamer includes two reusable cotton liners, so you can start using it right away with any kind of food.

What you’ll love: Because it comes in two sizes, you should be able to match it to your favorite pot.

What you should consider: It has a strong bamboo odor when new that can alter the flavor of what you cook.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Brett Dvoretz is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.

Source: bing.com

By bomber

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