Friday, November 17, 2017

Hamilton Beach Digital Steamer: BMI = 30.4

I’ve had my countertop steamer for three months now and I have cooked well over 100 meals in it so it’s time to do a review. This is not just a review of this particular model of steamer, but of how useful a countertop steamer is for a single person trying to eat a healthy diet.

When I first wrote about my Hamilton Beach Digital Steamer I criticized the trays for feeling rather flimsy. After months of daily use, the trays are just fine. They are quite light but that also means they land with less force if you happen to drop them. Given the price I paid for my steamer, I feel I got a good deal on quality and I’ve gotten plenty of value out of this little appliance.

The biggest advantage I’ve found from steam-cooking at home is that it helps me eat a lot more vegetables. I really notice now if I eat boiled vegetables that a lot of flavour gets pulled from them. Steaming locks in the flavour and intensifies the colour of most veggies.

I don’t fry anything anymore, so I’ve started referring to the above sort of meal as a “steam-fry”. Rather than dousing everything in hoisin or sweet and sour sauce, I pimp up my meals with a variety of colours and textures of the vegetables themselves.

Another big advantage of steam cooking is that it produces great grains and cereals. The drawback of a small steamer like this is that you need to soak most grains for 8 to 12 hours before cooking or it just takes forever to get the grains cooked and requires topping up the reservoir several times. I’m still honing my skills with wild rice but I’m getting there.

This steamer has a timer, which is very helpful at breakfast. I can start my Red River Cereal (17 minutes) and even if I take too long in the shower the steamer switches to hot-holding mode, stopping the cooking and keeping my porridge hot for when I’m ready to eat. For oatmeal I use the delay function (30 minutes) and then cook it for 9 minutes. I sort of wish I could delay for 20 minutes, but it seems the delay function only works in 30-minute intervals.

I’ve seen other steamers that have 3 tiers, while mine only has 2. It seems that a lot of people like to cook their proteins in the steamer as well, so they prefer a 3-tier design for protein, grains, and veggies. Perhaps if I ate more fish this would be desirable, but I primarily eat roasted beef or pork so I’m happy with 2 tiers.

Overall, I highly recommend a countertop steamer to anyone who is trying to improve their diet. If you want to steam your proteins as well then perhaps a 3-tier steamer would be better than the model I have, but otherwise I highly recommend the Hamilton Beach digital steamer.

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