Stainless steel waterless cookware has been gaining popularity, and for good reason: they’re inexpensive, easy, and allow people to cook healthy meals with little or no added fat, lots of flavor, and high nutrient retention. “Waterless” cookware is a misnomer, as small amounts of water are used for cooking.

Waterless cookware has a concept similar to that of a pressure cooker. Stainless steel waterless cookware comes in a variety of sizes to fit many types of food. Like pressure cookers, they work by placing an airtight lid that traps steam inside to cook food. However, unlike their high pressure counterpart, waterless cookware cooks at relatively lower temperatures and pressures. Here are some things to keep in mind when using cookware without water:

First, size does matter when it comes to waterless cookware. Overfilling a pot will cause your food to not cook evenly. It is important to fill the pot only about two-thirds of its capacity. When selecting stainless steel waterless cookware, keep this restriction in mind. You may want to purchase more than one size of cookware to suit the types of dishes you will be preparing.

Next, be careful to rinse and drain the food well before placing it in the pot, and add no more than a quarter cup of water before cooking. The goal is to steam your food, not boil it. Adding too much water can result in inconsistent cooking, loss of nutrients, and an unappetizing result.

Another important factor in using stainless steel waterless cookware is the temperature at which the food is cooked. The stove burner should never be set above medium heat. As soon as you notice the steam valve start to hiss, turn the heat down to low and close the steam valve to seal the steam inside for proper cooking.

Stackable waterless cookware is another option that can be used to cook more than one pot of food at a time. The key is that if you want food to cook evenly, you only need to stack food that can be cooked to the same temperature, for the same amount of time. For example, you’ll want to avoid cooking a roast at the same time as delicate vegetables that will likely turn to mush when the meat is cooked.

Obviously, only the airtight lid included with the cookware should be used for cooking. This is because the lid is designed to form a seal that will not allow steam to escape. If you let the steam escape, the food will dry out, overcook, and possibly burn. Similarly, you should not open the lid while food is cooking, as this also results in a loss of steam and therefore a loss of moisture during cooking. Wait until the food has finished cooking before opening the valve to release the steam. Only then should you remove the lid.

While stainless steel waterless cookware is a safe method of cooking, precautions should be taken when removing the lid after releasing the steam. Steam burns can result if steam is incompletely released. For this reason, you should let the food rest for about five minutes before removing the lid. When removing the lid, keep your face away from the pot to avoid the possibility of a serious steam burn.

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