Sometimes the newest trends have deep historical roots. The idea of using steam to cook food has been around for thousands of years, but it’s taken on quite a new look these days—and it’s growing in popularity. Why are steam ovens so popular now; and is it the right choice for your North Shore kitchen remodel? Let’s look at what you need to know about steam ovens in 2018.
Why Consider Steam in the First Place?
- It’s a Healthier Option: There are actually several reasons why homeowners are attracted to steam cooking. Many people prefer steam as a healthy alternative to conventional baking or frying. The humidity generated by the steam process keeps meals from drying out. That means meals retain their texture and flavor without the use of oils or fats. Steaming also keeps vitamins and nutrients from escaping during the cooking process.
- Steam Preserves Flavor: Sometimes baking can dry food out. The natural juices that are generated when baking can dissipate. Steaming keeps the moisture and the flavor that makes a meal more enjoyable.
- Steam is Faster: Steaming a meal (especially if you’re cooking in larger quantities) takes less time than conventional baking. That saves both time and energy.
Are There Limitations?
There are, indeed, some limitations to what you can do with a steam oven. You can’t boil water, and if you’re after a nice brown finish on your meat (think of a nice roast or your Thanksgiving turkey), you’re not going to get that with a steam (only) oven. That’s why many models come with a combination of convection and steam capabilities. You can finish (brown) your roast or turkey on the convection setting or you can sear your meat on your range top.
What Else Should You Think About Before Committing to Steam?
- Are you willing to go through a bit of a learning curve? Some of your favorite recipes may require a bit of experimentation. The cooking time is faster (as mentioned above) but it’s not necessarily a case of subtracting 10 or 15 minutes with each recipe. You’ll have to try things.
- What are you willing to spend? Steam ovens are going to cost you more. There are a wide variety of options from which to choose, but some sources suggest that a good steam oven may run you around $800 more than a conventional oven.
- Do you have a good space to install a steam oven? It sounds obvious, but steam ovens give off steam when you open the door. Most of that dissipates quickly, so it’s not like you’ll be cooking in a sauna or damaging your cabinets. On the other hand, it’s general practice to install these appliances at a higher level. That might eliminate installing a steam oven in an island, where it would need to be lower.
What Model Best Fits Your Needs?
Like practically everything else in your kitchen, one size (or style) doesn’t fit all. Your specific needs and preferences will determine which particular make and model is right for you. The folks at Yale Appliance have provided some helpful information to get you started. Check out their post on “The Five Best Steam Ovens” for a quick overview based on reviews, ratings, and price.
If you’re looking for additional ideas and inspiration for your North Shore kitchen remodel, we invite you to download our free Kitchen Remodeling Design Guide eBook. It’s full of helpful information about topics such as:
- How to design a kitchen to fit your personal style.
- Tips for creating a functional kitchen.
- Kitchen styles and design elements to consider during the remodel.