Quick Guide to Steam Ovens

For decades, microwave ovens have been the go-to appliance for culinary convenience. But the latest in the convection steam ovens may be healthier and superior alternatives.

Steam ovens work similarly to a regular oven, but they require water that is heated up to generate the steam that cooks the food. Depending on the design, the oven can be hooked up to plumbing or manually filled with water during each use. During the cooking process, the oven creates steam that delivers moisture to the food—unlike a microwave oven. “Day-old pizza tastes like the first bite and [is] not dried up and hard, like from the microwave,” says Jolynn Johnson, owner, designer, and project manager of Crystal Kitchen and Bath.

Since steam ovens so closely resemble a regular oven, they can be used for a variety of cooking endeavors, including making meat and vegetable dishes and even baking bread. But the main attraction of the steam oven is its ability to deliver healthier options, since the steam allows more nutrients to remain in the food.“A steam oven does everything a microwave does, except warm up your coffee and pop popcorn,” Johnson says.

The only downside is the cost, which can range anywhere from $1,000 to $8,000, depending on the brand.

For now, at least, microwaves still serve their purpose, providing a cheap way to reheat and defrost foods quickly, but steam ovens offer a new way to cook that maintains the quality and nutritional value of food.

by Catherine Guden

 

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