by Kate Heyhoe
Cooktop cooking can be more than six times as energy efficient as oven cooking. Steaming is one form of cooktop cooking.
Types of Steamers: Bamboo steamers, the kind used with woks, are biodegradable, but foods may stick unless you place them on a plate or line the steamer with lettuce leaves or parchment paper; bamboo also releases its own grassy aroma, which may or may not be desirable. Stainless-steel steamers require more resources to manufacture, but they can last decades, and they clean up readily. For steaming one dish at a time, inexpensive collapsible steamer baskets work fine, and some cookware pots come with steamer inserts.
NGB Tip: Instead of buying more equipment, shrink your cookprint by making a steamer out of an existing pot, like this:
1. Raise the food using a rack or any pedestal-like object tall enough to elevate it above water level. Examples: Set a plate or a roasting rack over a small empty can (with ends cut out; a tuna can works well) a heatproof trivet, or a canning jar lid. Or use a metal colander if it fits in the pot.
2. Steam the food on a heatproof plate to catch the juices; or it can rest on a rack, or a lettuce leaf, or a cornhusk, or a piece of foil, or parchment paper, a pie pan, or a tart pan. (Just make sure there’s enough room for the steam to circulate.)
3. If your pot doesn’t have a proper lid, cover it with a plate or a heavy baking sheet; if necessary, set a weight on top (like a can or kettle of water) to hold it in place.
Find more tips to shrink your cookprint in Kate Heyhoe’s book Cooking Green
- How to Prepare Fresh Vegetables (gomestic.com)