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Types of Food



Is defined as cooking in water vapour under varying degrees of pressure. As a method it can be often used instead of boiling where it has the advantage of not leaving items in need of draining; there is no liquid movement to break up food.

Food can also be steamed under pressure with a resultant increase in cooking speed and preservation of vitamin content.

Methods of Steaming:

  1. Food can be steamed above a saucepan of water where the food is heated by convected condensation
  2. In an pressureless steamer with little or no pressure
  3. In a pressurised steamer where the temperature rises to 115-117ºC


Advantages of Steaming

No cross flavors, two or more vegetables can be cooked at the same time

Food is still and less likely to break up (unless overcooked!)

Fewer water soluble vitamins B an C are lost

Loss of vitamins through contact by air is reduced

Convenient because

Does not require straining

Loading and unloading is easy

Rapid cooking allows food to be cooked immediately prior to service


Acids are retained and some vegetables are turned a dull color as a result.

Care with timing must be taken to avoid overcooking of some delicate foods

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Types of food that can be steamed:


Vegetables such as carrots, swede, potatoes, parsnip, beans etc can all be steamed. Remember green vegetables can turn dull in color. Prepare by lightly seasoning and placing om perforated racks. Treat as per boiled. Steaming is a good method if you want to make Sauté potatoes, steamed in their skin then peeled if required and cut into dice or slices and shallow fried.


Many fish can be steamed whole or in fillets, any sauce being made separately. The fish is prepared and lightly seasoned and sometimes flavoured with lemon juice or wine.

Meat, Offal and poultry

The same cuts of meat and poultry can be used for steaming as boiling and cooking takes about the same length of time, the method is healthy but tends to produce a rather flavourless end product that need to be served with a flavorsome sauce!

To prepare lightly season and tie as necessary.

Savoury puddings are ideal for steaming such as Steak and Mushroom, Steak & Kidney, Steak Kidney and Oyster.



Steamed Sponge Puddings, Christmas Pudding, Jam Roly Poly, are some of a few steamed desserts.

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Beware steam is boiling hot, sometimes hoter.

Pressurised containers must be depressurised prior to opening

Take care with hot equipment

If using a commercial steamer use the door as a shield when opening

Check manufacturers instructions when using high pressure steamers and pressure cookers