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I was given a steaming device that you use on your hobs and I adored it and I used it most days until one day I was chatting on the phone and accidently burned the pan to an irrepairable state and so an electric steamer went on my wish list and I treated myself to the Russel Hobbs Steamer. I actually bought this one for £10 in white it worked fine but stained terribly in the base from cooking carrots. - There was an ugly orange skid mark all the way round the base and no cleaning products on this earth would shift it so it had to go.
I chose Russell Hobbs as it is a reputable brand and as this worked well I again bought Russell Hobbs but this time in chrome. This was also it was on sale, reduced to £40 from apparently £70 - I would never ever pay £70 for a steamer but I would recommend paying a little more for a chrome one as they dont stain.
The steamer comes with 3 baskets and a lid for the top which when applied, keeps the steam in and cooks the food. As with most steamers, on the base of the steamer is a small window that allows you to see the water level and a timer.
The baskets are detatchable so you can stack one, two or three baskets at any one time if the cooking time of your food varies or you can put the food that takes the longest at the bottom and this also works well- as then you can pop it all on and forget about it until the timer goes.
I normally cook just vegetables in steamers and find they all have similar cooking times. Most veg cooks well in just over 20 minutes. You really can taste the difference, especially with carrots, brocolli and cauliflower. The steam allows the veg to cook and traps in all the delicious flavours. I also love the texture that you get from brocolli and cauliflower. I have also cooked fish in all the steamers that I have had (Salmon, wrapped in foil) I cooked it for 30 minutes and it was beautiful and retained its gorgeous natural pink colour.
It just wont clean properly. Pretty much straight away the white stained from carrots especially and no amount of elbow grease or bicarbonate of soda will shift it. I just felt it was dirty and after a couple of months, had to bin it.
You do have to be very careful when removing the lids as the steam is extremely hot and can very easily burn you. Also, remember to pull the steamer out from under your cupboards as the steam can damage wood and peel paint!
When it comes to cooking a roast dinner I hate it when I have a hob full of pans cooking all of your different vegetables and even more so all of the cleaning that you have to do afterwards. It is worse as I prefer to have smaller amounts of a range of different vegetables as opposed to a large quantity of one or two. I also do not put my saucepans in the dishwasher, even though they say they are dishwasher proof in case they get damaged over time, so it means a lot of washing up.
This is when a family member recommended that I try a steamer, I looked around and they cost just over £20, which I thought was pretty reasonable. Although there are some pricier units on the market if you prefer a top of the range model. I also had an Amazon voucher so I shopped around and read some reviews and in the end I opted for the Russell Hobbs 15071 9L 3 tier white food steamer.
The Russell Hobbs 15071 9 L 3-Tier White Food Steamer has a 9 litre capacity and comes with three layers and two removable baskets as well. There is a timer on the steamer which you can put on for up to 75 minutes, although the vegetables never take that long in the steamer. When the times run out a bell signals and the steamer turns itself off. Top but it back on you just turn the timer accordingly. There is also a clear section in the base of the unit so that you can make sure that there is enough water in the steamer, you need to keep an eye on this as there is no steam and cooking without enough water in the unit.
The steamer works by putting water into the base unit and then covering it over with the drip tray and then placing the baskets on top. It is up to you how many baskets you use, you can stack all three on top of each other or you can just use one or two.
If you are new to using a steamer like myself there is a hand instruction booklet that will help you set the steamer up and also assist you in steaming you vegetables. After a few uses you will be able to use the machine with ease and regret that you had not made the purchase sooner.
When you are cooking you vegetables instead of putting each of the vegetables on at separate times I just stack the beg accordingly, putting the ones that take longer on the bottom and then the ones that don't at the top. The vegetables that I have cooked so far are carrots, peas, cauliflower, broccoli, beans, brussel sprouts, leeks and cabbage. I find all usually cook within 15 minutes.
When you are not using the unit the trays can be placed inside each other so they require minimal storage space in the cupboard.
The steamer not only cooks the vegetables but I also find that it retains the flavour and shape a lot better, as when you boil if you over boil the vegetable flavour is in the water and the vegetables fall apart.
As with most machines in the kitchen you need to take care when using as the steam and hot water can scald or burn. Especially when you are lifting a tray off to stir the vegetables as the steam is a lot hotter than you think.
I have now been using the steamer for over 6 months and I must say that it is one of the best purchases that I made last year, I have only ever steamed vegetables, but it does also steam fish, but I am not a great lover of fish so have never tried to cook it in the steamer.
Cleaning the steamer is far easier than cleaning the pan, I would still recommend giving them a quick wipe over in the sink instead of putting then in the dishwasher as I think the heat would ruin the plastic over a period of time.
The only problem we have has are that if you overfill the lower baskets it does not allow the vegetables at the top to cook as well as the steam cannot carry up and through the machine.
Overall a great new edition to my kitchen and 6 month in I use it a few times a week and it is still going strong.
9 Litre capacity 3 Tier Steamer 75 Minute timer