Guide to Commercial Steamers

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What is a Steam Cooker?

Steam Cooker Capacity by Size
Meals per HourCompartments Needed
1-200035
200-400125
400-600450
600-8001000+

Steaming is currently the most efficient method of cooking.

Steamers work by transferring the heat created when water is boiled to the food. This allows steaming to be fast, while the food retains its color and nutrients.

Steamers are divided into two major categories: pressure and pressureless.

Types of Steamers

Pressure Steamers

Pressure Steamers

  • Smaller compartments
  • Compartments cannot be opened while steaming
  • Perfect for correctional facilities, hotels and large volume kitchens

Shop Pressure Steamers

 

Pressureless Steamers

Pressureless or Convection Steamers

  • Have larger compartments
  • Doors can be opened while steaming to check food
  • Great for restaurants and places with menu items

Shop Convection Steamers

 

What Are The Advantages Of Using A Steamer?

Retains nutrientsasparagus
Retains the natural colors and flavors in vegetables

Cooks with water instead of oils and butter
Requires less monitoring than range or oven cooking Requires less monitoring than range or oven cooking Faster cooking times and increased productivity

 

Nutrients in Steamed vs Boiled Foods

The following chart shows the savings of nutrients when foods are steamed rather than boiled, in percentages.

STEAMED
VEGETABLE% Loss of Dry Matter% Loss of Protein% Loss of Calcium% Loss of Magnesium% Loss of Phosphorus% Loss of Iron
Asparagus7.913.315.31.410.420.0
String beans14.216.616.321.418.824.50
Beetgreens15.76.93.814.114.024.5
Cabbage26.431.540.243.422.034.6
Cauliflower2.17.63.11.719.28.3
Celery22.322.311.632.415.7
Celery Cabbage38.333.516.332.630.244.1
Spinach8.45.60.017.810.225.7
Beets21.55.41.529.420.1
Carrots5.114.55.15.61.120.7
Kohlrabi7.61.01.014.37.721.3
Onions11.030.77.115.731.515.9
Parsnips4.620.04.218.25.78.1
Potatoes4.09.614.011.7
Sweet Potatoes21.115.022.131.524.325.1
Rutabagas13.215.713.43.424.614.3
All vegetables14.016.010.718.616.721.3
BOILED
VEGETABLE% Loss of Dry Matter% Loss of Protein% Loss of Calcium% Loss of Magnesium% Loss of Phosphorus% Loss of Iron
Asparagus14.020.016.58.825.834.4
String beans24.629.129.331.427.638.1
Beetgreens29.722.215.941.644.943.1
Cabbage60.761.572.376.159.966.6
Cauliflower37.644.424.625.049.836.2
Celery45.452.636.157.148.7
Celery Cabbage63.267.149.761.666.167.6
Spinach33.929.05.559.148.857.1
Beets30.922.018.730.933.6
Kohlrabi33.623.227.840.427.751.7
Onions21.350.215.627.840.236.1
Parsnips21.913.311.446.823.727.6
Potatoes9.416.818.818.3
Sweet Potatoes29.071.538.345.344.431.5
Rutabagas45.848.637.142.757.250.0
All vegetables39.443.031.944.746.448.0

 

Steaming tips

Steamed Salmon

  • Always preheat steamers
  • Food items of the same size cook evenly
  • Break up frozen vegetables
  • Season vegetables after steaming, not before
  • Always steam vegetables in perforated pans
  • If steaming meat in perforated pan, use solid catch pan underneath
  • For best use, use a drain that is 6 ft. away from the steamer

Importance of Water Quality

DucklingIt doesn’t matter how fresh your food is, if it is steamed in water of poor quality, the taste will suffer. Whether cooking fresh or frozen foods, the water can make all the difference. This is particularly important in direct steam units. When pressurized water comes from within the building, it is crucial to ensure that the water is not only clean, but of a good quality.

If the water does not meet the manufacturer’s recommended levels of solvent in the water used to steam the food, then often times the warranty becomes null and void.

Recommended levels of solvent in water

Total dissolved solidsLess than 60 PPM
Total alkalinityLess than 20 PPM
SilicaLess than 13 PPM
ChlorineLess than 1.5 PPM
pH factor7.0 – 8.5
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