The use of steam for cooking has been around for thousands of years, and a process that has been heavily used in China for millenia has now made in roads into Western cultures and has proved extremely popular.
The process, at its simplest, is to boil water until it steams into a container containing the food.
Of course the modern steamers are built to make use of the steam efficiently. Whilst doing that, they also allow us to control the cooking in a more exact way, producing the right amount of steam for the right amount of time for the dish being cooked.
The health benefits of steaming are excellent. Since the foods are cooked in a moist environment but without the agitation that boiling or frying incur, it means that the food retains most of the nutrients.
On top of the health benefits of steaming, using a steamer makes the food that much more tender, and doesnt spoil delicate flavours such as fish. Plus, you can add flavourings directly to the water used in the steamer, to infuse subtle and aromatic flavours into your cooking.
Steamers can be used to cook a wide variety of foods, from vegetables to meat, starters to desserts.