Buying Guide: Steamers

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Adding a steamer to your restaurant is a great way to offer nutritious items such as shellfish, seafood, rice, and vegetables. Steamers circulate hot steam over food, helping retain most of the nutrients and making food taste even better. Steamers also cook quickly, depending on the type of steamer you are using in your restaurant.

They also come in different sizes, so you need to think about the projected volume of steamed items before purchasing your unit. One Fat Frog Restaurant Equipment sells used, high-quality steamers and can help you pick out the perfect one for your location. Here’s a look at the different types of steamers and how they can benefit your location.

• Pressureless steamers: use a convection fan to circulate steam throughout the unit while cooking the food. The circulation helps the food cook evenly, but it does increase cooking times.

• Pressure steamers: these allow steam pressure to build as opposed to circulating it as in the pressureless models. These steamers cook faster but because of the pressurized steam the door cannot be opened during cooking.

There are two types of pressure steam models: cabinet and steam kettle
Cabinet models look like pressureless models
Steam kettles are typically tabletop models

• Connection steamers: these are connected directly into a waterline and can handle higher volumes. They are more difficult to clean and maintain, however.

• Boilerless steamers: water has to be added to a reservoir on these models. The reservoir has its own heating element.

• Combi-Ovens: these versatile ovens can use steam, standard convection, or a combination of both. This leads to a very quick and efficient cook time. Combi-ovens can be more expensive than traditional restaurant items such as fryers and holding cabinets, but you can replace those items with one combi-oven.

CALCULATING STEAMER SIZE

Steamers normally come in 1, 2, 3, or 4 compartment sizes. 1-compartment models are capable of producing an average of 200 meals per hour. Combi-ovens with steam capabilities are typically used in high-volume location since they cook fast and offer a large range of cooking options.

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