Steam Cooking - How It Works and the Benefits

How Steam Cooking Works

Steam is an extremely efficient heat transfer medium. It carries a great deal of energy which readily transfers directly to food (in steamers) or indirectly through a heat transfer surface (such as a kettle wall) and then into food.

Steam is water (a liquid) that has been converted into its gaseous state by the application of heat energy. Heat energy typically is measured in British Thermal Units (BTU). BTU is defined as the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit at sea level. It takes 180 BTUs to raise the temperature of one pound of water from 32°F (0°C) to 212°F (100°C), the point at which it starts to boil. However, to evaporate that same pound of boiling water into steam requires 970 BTUs. As a result, steam carries many times the energy of boiling water. Steam readily gives up that energy load when it condenses back into water (condensate) upon contact with the food.


Benefits of Steam Cooking

1.      Steam is very forgiving. Since steam cooks at 201°F it cannot burn the food. Even if you leave the product you are cooking in the steamer too long, it still remains firm and maintains good structure.
2.      Cook multiple products in a steamer all at the same time with no flavor transfer. You can cook seafood, vegetables, meat and even a cake in the same steamer compartment as long as you make sure the food does not drip down onto the food product beneath it.
3.       Steam retains the highest amount of nutrients and vitamins than any other way of cooking. Therefore, it is the healthiest way to cook.
4.      Vegetables maintain their brilliant colors during cooking, and enhance the presentation to your customer.
5.      Steam cooks fast. You can cook some products in half the time of a convection oven.