So You Got A Bamboo Steamer... How Do you Care For It?

So You Got A Bamboo Steamer... How Do you Care For It?
How to Maintain Your Bamboo Steamer
Congratulations, you have found one of the best culinary tools available.
You have a bamboo steamer, or are at least considering owning one, and if considering you are, deciding you should.
The bamboo steamer has been a favorite amongst Asians and many other cultures for centuries.
I won't go into all the amazing benefits of the bamboo steamer, because I am sure you either already know, or are about to find out.

That all being said, the reason you have decided to read this blog, I’m guessing is because you either purchased a bamboo steamer and don't want to ruin it by improperly caring for it, or you were gifted one and the same as if you had purchased one, you don't want to mess it up.

Fortunately taking care of this simplistic cooking tool is as simple as the steamer itself.
In this blog, we are going to cover the best way to start using your steamer and then 7 simple ways to take care of it thereafter.

Don't worry, you do not need to remember all 7 ways, nor do you need to use all 7 all the time. These are mostly different ways to accomplish the same end goal…A clean bamboo steamer.

Before we jump right into the how, here are all the whats you may find useful along the way.
Note: (You do not need all of these all the time just some of them some of the time)

> Soft Cloth/ Rag
> Clean Sponge
> Soft Nylon Brush 
> Lemon
> A Black Teabag 
> Baking Soda
> Vinegar

So… you just get your new steamer home for the first time, what do you do???
What do you need, and what do you need to know???
Like any new dish or appliance, you want to clean it off before its first culinary mission.
The best way to clean your steamer for the first time is as follows.

1) Wipe and rinse your new steamer. A soft rag or brush, some mild dish soap, and some hot tap water is perfect
2) Soak the steamer in clean water for about 30 min (Does not need to be exact)
3) Steam the basket and lid in fresh water for about another 30 min
4) Wipe off excess water & let air dry COMPLETELY before storing.
Your steamer is set and ready to help you create some culinary magic for years to come.

Now for the rest of your steamers life, cleaning is generally much less time consuming.

Here are 7 ways to clean your steamer from now on.

1) The first, most simplistic, & most often used is simply rinse your steamer with hot water, then cold (the cold helps to shrink the wood back to its original state)
Let air dry completely

2)  If you find yourself with some stuck on food bits after rinsing, this method will better suit you.
> Using gentle strokes & some mild soap, wipe off the steamer surface with a soft cloth, sponge, or nylon brush.
> Rinse with hot, then cold water
> Air dry completely

3) Should you find the need to remove stains or residual food smells from your steamer, try using one of nature's natural disinfectant cleansers… the lemon.
> Simply cut a lemon in half and rub the lemon flesh over the steamer surface to remove any debris, stains, & odors. All while naturally sterilizing.
> Rinse with hot than cold water
> Air dry completely
Note: For stubborn odors, add lemon to some clean water and steam an empty steamer w/ lid for about 10 min.

4) Just as in method 3, we are going to turn to nature.
A black tea bag can be used as a mild scrubber and thanks to the black tea's natural tannic acids, a disinfectant.
> Soak a black tea bag and rub the steamer surface
>Rinse with hot then cold water
> Air dry completely

5) If you find your steamer has acquired some really stubborn food odors this method will do wonders.
> Rinse the steamer and sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda over the surface of your steamer and let sit for 2- 3 hours.
> Rinse with hot then cold water
> Air dry completely

6) Once again Mother Nature is coming to aid us in cleaning our steamer
This time, we are turning to vinegar.
If your steamer has developed some mold from improper storage (Getting put away damp) or there are some smells that persist no matter what else you have tried, vinegar has got you covered.
There are 2 ways to utilize this marvelous cleanser

Method 1
> Mix 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water
> Wipe steamer & let sit for about 20 min
> Rinse with hot then cold water
> Air dry completely

Method 2
> In a pot or wok, mix 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water. (A couple inches in the pan is sufficient) heat to steaming temp
> Place the steamer upside down over the steaming vinegar water placing the steamer lid on top of the bottom and let steam for about 10 min
> Repeat the last step except with fresh water to remove any vinegar smells
(You don't need your steamer to smell like pickles)
> Rinse in cold water
> Air dry completely

7) Got something stuck on your steamer that is hanging on for dear life despite your best efforts?
It's time for a good soak.
> Fill a sink or large pot with hot water
> Completely submerge your steamer and let sit for 30 min
(Don't want to soak much longer as it will start to do more hurting than helping)
> Wipe off the stubborn food from your steamer with a cloth, brush, or sponge
> Rinse with cold water
>Air dry completely

One last nugget of steamy knowledge we are going to impart upon you...
Under NO circumstance should you ever put your bamboo steamer in a dishwasher. This will ruin your steamer and completely negate you having read this entire blog. Please for the sake of all the culinary ancestors... don't do it!!!
Now you are armed with the knowledge of how to properly care for your new favorite cooking partner (Yes we are assuming you will love your steamer so much it will be like having your own personal sous chef)

Should you have any questions about using or caring for your bamboo steamer, please don't hesitate to reach out via email or social media.
@mylukara on Facebook or Instagram

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