Steaming is the cooking of food by the application of steam. In this cooking process, the food is put into a steamer, which is a cooking utensil that consists of a vessel with a perforated bottom placed over one containing water. As the water boils, steam rises and cooks the food in the upper, or perforated, vessel. Steamers are sometimes arranged with a number of perforated vessels, one on top of the other. Such a steamer permits the cooking of several foods at the same time without the need of additional fuel, because a different food may be placed in each vessel.
Steaming is preferable to boiling in some cases, because there is no loss of mineral salts nor food substances. The flavour is not so likely to be lost as when food is boiled. Some delicate fish is best cooked by steaming as it does not break up as it might in boiling water. Vegetables prepared in this way prove very palatable, and very often variety is added to the diet by steaming bread, cake, and pudding mixtures and then, provided a crisp outside is desired, placing them in a hot oven to dry out the moist surface.