Choose the Right Steamer for your Commercial Kitchen

Are you cooking with steam?

Steam cooking is a great fit for a wide variety of restaurants because of how versatile the technique is. Steam can be used to cook almost anything in a highly economical fashion that won't dry out your foods or discolor your vegetables. It's also far healthier than a lot of other options, particularly frying, so it's a great choice if you want to offer health-conscious menu items.

Which just brings one question: what type of steamers to put in your kitchen. You've got quite a few choices here, so let’s find out.

Choosing the Right Steamers for Your Restaurant

I. Convection vs. Pressure Steamers

There are two main types of steamers, named for how they operate. 

Pressure Steamers are the high-intensity workhorse, designed primarily for large-scale kitchens that need to cook a lot of food quickly.  By using pressure cooking along with steam, they can achieve effective temperatures of 250°F, under a PSI of up to 15.

These are excellent for cooking larger starchy vegetables, like potatoes or large carrots.  They can also pump out a lot of food, very quickly.  However, they're somewhat limited in their overall utility - pretty much all they can do is direct-steam foods.  Plus, they're too harsh for delicate foods and flavors may transfer across different food items.

Convection Steamers are much more commonly used and are more popular than pressure steamers in smaller kitchens.  They cook solely with the movement of steam through the interior, at temperatures up to 212°F.

Unlike pressure steamers, these are much more multi-purpose.  They can be used to steam, poach, stew, reheat, thaw, and par-cook foods, and they're generally more forgiving than pressure steamers as well.  The only major drawback is that they cook more slowly than pressure steamers.

II. Types of Steam Production

There are four different common methods of getting steam into the cooking area.

Direct Steam
units are designed to hook directly into an existing steam generator if your kitchen has one.  If so, these are by far the most economical option, but only if you have a steam generator already.

Internal Steam Generation
models use various non-boiling methods to create their own steam, such as blasting super-heated elements with water sprays.  These are easy to clean and maintain, but slow to use.

Boiler
steamers, as you can guess, create their steam the old-fashioned way.  They are one of the best options for high-capacity food preparation, particularly if you don't want a pressure steamer. But they require significant upkeep because they have a high chance of developing lime or calcination on the interior.

Boilerless
steamers tend to be small, even portable.  They can't cook much at once and they're very low maintenance; some don't even require water line hookups.

Turn to Zanduco Restaurant Equipment & Supplies for Your Restaurant Needs

Zanduco Restaurant Equipment & Supplies is one of the Internet's premier all-in-one retailers, with everything your restaurant needs - from seats to steamers!  Do you need to make a bulk buy?  Contact us directly for a quote!

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