How Does a Steam Oven Work ... and Other Steam Oven Questions
Steam ovens have been used in commercial kitchens by high-profile chefs for decades. In recent years, steam ovens have started catching the eye of home cooks, too. So how does a steam oven work? And, more importantly, should you get one? At Reno's Appliance, we’re oven experts and wanted to give you the answers to these questions and more.
How does a steam oven work?
Steam ovens need water to create steam, so most models come equipped with a small water tank—usually 1 to 2 quarts in size. Though higher-end models can be connected to a water line, special plumbing isn't required for most steam ovens. When the oven is turned on, water flows through a water line into a reservoir in the bottom of the oven where an electric element heats the water. The water turns into steam, which in turn cooks the food.
What are the advantages of steam ovens?
Cooking with steam can result in tastier and healthier food than you may get with a conventional oven. The moisture inside the oven helps retain the natural textures, colors, and flavors so less salt and fats (e.g., oil, butter) are needed to enhance the flavor of your food. In addition, more of the vitamins and nutrients of vegetables are retained when they are steamed instead of boiled, fried, or baked.
Steam ovens can also significantly reduce cooking time, especially when preparing large quantities of food. For example, a 14 lb. turkey will cook in 90 minutes. A standard-sized chicken will take only 30 minutes.
Steam ovens are also perfect for safely defrosting meats and reheating leftovers. If you've got an infant at home, you can even disinfect baby bottles with a steam oven. The steam will kill the germs, but won't melt the plastic.
What are the disadvantages of steam ovens?
While steam ovens are gaining in popularity, they can be a bit pricey. Prices range from $2,000 to $4,000 for basic models, to well over $7,000 to $8,000 for higher-end models. Many cooking enthusiasts who want the benefits of steam without the hefty price tag of a full-sized oven opt for less-expensive countertop models. Countertop models are about the size of a microwave, and cost less than $1,000.
Steam ovens also require more maintenance than a regular oven. The water canister must be cleaned and refilled often. The walls of the oven must be descaled every 1 to 2 months as well. Most models have a "descaling" setting and there are tablets available for that specific purpose.
Finally, while steam ovens cook most foods beautifully, they cannot "brown" foods or create a crispy texture that you might want with certain recipes.
What types of steam ovens are available?
In general, there are three types of steam ovens:
- Steam-only ovens: These only provide steam-cooking functionality, which makes them ideal for preparing ideal for fish, vegetables, breads, and desserts.
- Combination steam ovens: These ovens offer dedicated steam or dedicated convection cooking, or a combination of the two. Different dishes can be cooked at the same time since there are no flavor or aroma transfers. This option is ideal for those who like to steam regularly, but still want the ability to achieve crispy browning when roasting and baking.
- Standard ovens with a "puff" function: These models are basically conventional ovens with a moisture function that releases a puff of steam into the oven at regular intervals to speed up cooking time and enhance flavor.
Still curious about how a steam oven works? Interested in seeing one in person? Stop by Reno's Appliance and talk to a member of our friendly and knowledgeable sales team. They'll tell you all you need to know about steam ovens and show you our wide variety of conventional ovens as well.
What Do I Do When My Gas Stove is Making a Noise?
Gas stoves are extremely popular and dependable kitchen appliances. While gas stoves are relatively quiet, sometimes they make an unexpected noise – whether it's banging, clicking, or a high-pitched whine. Are you concerned because your gas stove is making a noise?
Some of these noises are part of normal operation, but some noises may signal serious problems. Let's take a look at some common noises gas stoves make, the reasons for these noises, and whether or not you need to take any additional steps.
Hissing or whooshing
- When it's normal: Often when you use a gas oven you can hear the gas running to the unit. As the gas runs through the pipes, you might hear a hissing or whooshing sound. That's perfectly normal.
- When it's not normal: If the sound you hear is not so much a whooshing, but a high-pitched whine, then you may need to replace the gas pressure regulator sooner rather than later. Unless you know how to do it yourself, call in a professional.
Booms and bangs
- When it's normal: Loud pops or bangs that occur during preheating are caused by thermodynamics. The metal panels that make up your oven cavity naturally expand and contract as they heat up and cool down, which creates popping noises. This can also happen if you leave a metal pan in the oven or broiler as it preheats, causing the pan to warp and emit a startling, but not dangerous, loud bang.
- When it's not: Dirty or clogged igniters in a gas oven can cause loud bangs due to delayed ignition. What happens is, the gas builds up in the oven, then ignites all at once. If this happens, turn off the oven and contact a professional for help.
Clicks and ticks
- When it's normal: Gas stoves use igniters to light the oven and burners. The igniter makes a clicking sound when it generates a spark and lights the burner. During normal operation, the igniter stops clicking when the oven or burner lights.
- When it's not: If the clicking sound doesn't stop and the oven or burners don't light, then you know there's a problem. The constant clicking may indicate something simple like water or debris in the burners. Once the water evaporates, your oven should function properly. Or, if not wet, try cleaning the burners by sticking a paper clip into the holes and moving it around. If that doesn't solve the issue, then your ignition switches may be broken. Your service technician can replace them for you.
Smelling Gas is Never Normal
If you're concerned about your gas stove making a noise, it may just be part of its normal operation. However, while hearing the gas is normal, smelling it never is. If you smell gas, do not attempt to turn on the oven or any other appliance in the room. Do not turn on an electrical switch and do use a phone. All of these things can cause a fire or explosion if there is a gas leak in the room. If you smell gas you should leave your home immediately and call your gas provider and let them know you have a gas leak. They'll send someone out to your home right away.
The next time you hear your gas stove making a noise, don't panic. First, determine if the noise is normal and try to troubleshoot the issue. If you're not sure what's causing the problem, then contact a professional right away.
Reno's Appliance carries top-of-the-line electric and gas ranges from brands like Bosch, Wolf, GE, Amana, and Samsung. When it comes time for you to pick out a new range, stop by our showroom in Paterson, NJ to view our selection.
Easy Microwave Meals the Entire Family Will Love
If you're pressed for time, but still want a family-friendly meal, then turn to your microwave. These six recipes for easy microwave meals will save you time, but still satisfy your hungry brood.
Chicken Skewers with Peanut Sauce
A taste of Thailand, right from your microwave.
- 1 to 2 pounds chicken breast tenders
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 tablespoons powdered peanut butter
- 4 tablespoons water
- 3 teaspoons soy sauce
- 3 teaspoons sriracha
- 2 teaspoons honey (optional)
- To create the sauce, mix the powdered peanut butter with the water, soy sauce, sriracha, and honey in a small bowl. Set it aside.
- Next, season the chicken breast tenders with cumin, salt, and pepper.
- Carefully stick a wooden skewer lengthwise through each tender, then place the skewered chicken over a microwave-safe bowl.
- Spray the meat with olive oil, then place the bowl in the microwave with the chicken laying across. Cook it in the microwave for 3 minutes.
- After 3 minutes, check the chicken to ensure it's not burning, then cook it for another 3 minutes.
- Check the chicken to ensure it's done. If not, cook the chicken for an additional 30 seconds then check again. Repeat until chicken is fully cooked.
- Place the chicken skewers on a large platter, slowly pour the peanut sauce on top, and serve.
A Chinese restaurant favorite that's faster than delivery.
- 1 bag of frozen brown rice
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 bag of frozen peas and carrots
- 4 tablespoons diced red onion
- Cook the brown rice in the microwave according to the package directions.
- Pour the cooked rice in a large glass bowl, then top it with frozen peas and carrots and few tablespoons of chopped red onion. Place the bowl in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a separate bowl, then mix in the garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, and sesame oil.
- Pour the egg mixture into the bowl of rice and cook it for another 3 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the microwave, let it cool and then serve.
A lean, yet still hearty take on a classic sandwich.
- 1 pound raw ground turkey (extra lean)
- 4 slices of bacon
- 4 slices of cheddar cheese
- 4 hamburger buns
- 1 teaspoon garlic
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ cup chopped green onion
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Tomato slices
- Place raw turkey into a bowl and mix in garlic, smoked paprika, green onion, salt and pepper. Mix well and form 4 patties.
- Next, slice the bacon in half and place it on a microwave safe dish.
- Cook the bacon in the microwave for 3 minutes. Remove the bacon and allow it to cool off to the side.
- Place the patties in the microwave and cook for 4 minutes. After that, place a slice of cheddar on top and cook for an additional 90 seconds.
- Remove the patties from the microwave and place them onto the hamburger buns. Add slices of bacon lettuce and tomato.
An easy microwave meal that’s highly nutritious as well.
- 1 pound raw ground beef (extra lean)
- 1 bag frozen brown rice or quinoa
- 4 medium bell peppers
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 3 teaspoons minced garlic
- 3 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 3 teaspoons cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup diced red onion
- 1 cup chopped parsley
- Place raw beef into a bowl and mix in garlic, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, red onion, and parsley.
- Cook the frozen brown rice or quinoa in the microwave according to package directions.
- Slice each bell pepper in half and carve out the inside.
- Place the halves in small microwave-safe bowls and add a few tablespoons of water to the bowl.
- Next, stuff the bell pepper halves with the meat mixture and a few scoops of brown rice or quinoa and microwave for 4 minutes.
- Add shredded cheese on top and microwave again for another minute.
- Remove stuffed peppers from microwave and serve.
So satisfying and simple enough to make for lunch, dinner, or even after-school snacking.
- 4 medium flour tortillas
- 2 cups of cooked shredded chicken or chicken strips
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Microwave the tortillas on a plate until slightly crispy.
- Mix the chicken, peppers, and taco seasoning in a bowl, then cook the mixture in the microwave for about 2 minutes, or until the peppers are soft.
- Spread the mixture evenly across 2 tortillas. Sprinkle cheese on top of the mixture, and then place the other tortillas on the top.
- Cook the assembled quesadillas for another 45 seconds. Remove from microwave and let cool for 2 minutes, then slice and serve.
Macaroni and Cheese
The ultimate easy microwave meal. This recipe calls for yogurt instead of milk, which adds tang and extra creaminess.
- 8 ounces of uncooked macaroni
- 4 tablespoons full fat plain Greek yogurt
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese
- 3 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pour uncooked macaroni and 8 cups of water into a microwave-safe bowl.
- Cook the macaroni for in the microwave with a plate on top of the bowl for about 5 minutes.
- After that, stir it up and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Once the macaroni is fully cooked pour most of the water out of the bowl, but leave about ½ cup in the bowl.
- Then, add in yogurt, cheese, onion powder, garlic, salt, and pepper. If necessary, cook the entire bowl in the microwave for another minute to completely melt the cheese.
The next time dinner needs to be on the table fast, don't forget about these easy microwave meals. If you don't think your current microwave is up to the job, then visit Reno's Appliance. Our expert sales staff can help you decide which microwave is best for your family.
Posted: June 06, 2019
Discover the Difference: Charcoal vs. Propane
It seems like the charcoal vs. propane grill debate has been around almost as long as humans have been cooking with fire. Some backyard chefs are strictly charcoal champions, while others are proponents of propane. Do you know which grill is for best your home? At Reno's Appliance, we're grilling experts and wanted to give you the pros and cons of charcoal vs. propane.
Pros of Propane Grills
These are some of the reasons propane grills are so popular.
- Speed: One of the biggest benefits of a gas grill is that you just turn it on and you're ready to go. No waiting for charcoal briquettes to heat up.
- Simple to use: Propane grills make cooking easy. Almost anyone can be a decent barbeque chef with a propane grill.
- Lower fuel costs: Gas fuel tends to be cheaper than charcoal.
- Easier clean-up: You can turn up the heat after your grilling session and most of the stuck on stuff will just burn right off. You can't do that with a charcoal grill.
- Consistent fuel supply: You can hook your gas grill up to the gas line in your home for endless cooking fuel and no more trips to exchange propane tanks.
- Steam heat: When cooking, gas grills give off steam, which adds moisture to any meat you're preparing.
Cons of Propane Grills
Even with all of the benefits propane grills offer, there are some drawbacks as well.
- Cost: Gas grills are more expensive than charcoal grills.
- Lack of mobility: If your grill is hooked up to your home's gas line, then you can't move it around the yard. You won't be able to take it to the park or camping either.
- Less flavor: It's harder to achieve that char-broiled taste that you get with charcoal.
- Fire risk: Although rare, uncontrolled flare-ups do happen with propane grills.
- Inconvenience: If not hooked up to your home's main gas line, you'll have to rely on propane tanks. It can be a bit of a hassle to get a new one because stores keep them locked up.
Pros of Charcoal Grills
These are some reasons to choose charcoal in the charcoal vs. propane debate.
- Cost: Charcoal grills are significantly less expensive than gas grills.
- Portability: Charcoal grills are lighter and more portable than gas grills.
- Flavor: Many people prefer the smoky flavor a charcoal grill provides.
- Heat: Charcoal provides more heat than a propane grill for excellent searing.
Cons of Charcoal Grills
Of course, charcoal grills also have their drawbacks.
- Wait-time: It takes charcoal briquettes about 20 minutes to heat up to cooking temperature.
- Significant clean up: Charcoal grills require much more clean up after a grilling session.
- Lighter fluid required: Lighter fluid can give off an unpleasant petrochemical smell, which can alter the taste of your food.
- Ashes: Charcoal creates ash as it burns and bits of ash may wind up in your food.
While the charcoal vs. propane debate may never be decided once and for all, you now have a better understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of each type of grill.
Reno's Appliance carries an extensive inventory of grills from top grill manufacturers. We also carry grill covers and all kinds of accessories to help you maintain your grill. To learn more, stop by the Reno's Appliance showroom and talk to a member of our sales team.
Posted: June 03, 2019|
Am I Supposed to Store Meat in the Crisper Drawer?
Let's say you've just come back from the food store with a ton of groceries and you've packed your refrigerator. But, you still have some raw meat that needs refrigeration. What's your best option? Find some room on a shelf and cram it in there? Reorganize the contents of your refrigerator? Or—wait a minute—there's some room in your crisper drawers. Would it be safe to keep your meat in a crisper drawer?
Is it OK to Store Meat in the Crisper Drawer?
The short answer to that question is yes. In fact, your crisper drawer may be the safest place in your refrigerator to store meat. First of all, your crisper is on the bottom of the fridge, which is usually the coldest part. Secondly, storing your meat in a crisper drawer keeps it away from other foods and prevents cross-contamination. For example, if any juices leak out of the meat packages the mess will be confined to the drawer, which you can remove and clean relatively easily.
Just be sure that you are not storing produce in with the meat. In fact, if you are dedicating one crisper drawer to meat, then nothing else should ever be put in there, regardless if any meat is in it at the time. If you're able to control the humidity levels of your crisper drawers, then be sure to set the one you're using to store meat to the lowest humidity levels possible.
Finally, be sure that your refrigerator's temperature is set between 34 and 39 degrees Fahrenheit. The growth of bacteria slows down considerably at those temperatures. Temperatures between 40 degrees and 100 degrees Fahrenheit are referred to as the "danger zone" because bacteria grow fastest at those temperatures. However, meat won't last too long in the fridge, even if it is set at an optimal temperature.
How long will meat last in the refrigerator?
Whether you choose to put your meat in a crisper or not, keep these time-frames in mind when storing various types of meat, fish, and poultry:
- Raw poultry lasts just 24 to 48 hours in the fridge but can last up to a year in the freezer (at a temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit or colder). Cooked poultry can be safely refrigerated for 3 to 4 days and frozen for 3 to 6 months.
- Red meat and pork can remain in the refrigerator up to 4 days and can be frozen for 4 to 8 months. Leftover cooked meat will last 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator and 2 to 6 months in the freezer.
- Ground meats including ground beef, veal, pork, or poultry can be refrigerated for 1 to 2 days and stay frozen for 3 to 4 months.
- Fresh fish can be safely refrigerated for 2 days at most. You may also freeze fresh fish for up to 3 months.
- Hot dogs and lunch-meats will last 2 weeks in the refrigerator if the packages remain unopened. Once opened they should be eaten within 3 to 5 days. In the freezer, they'll last 1 to 2 months.
- Bacon can be stored up to a week in the fridge, but can be frozen up to 4 weeks.
It may be good to know that meat can be stored in a crisper drawer, but if you find that you're often running out of room in your refrigerator, then it may be time for an upgrade. Reno's Appliance has a large selection of refrigerators from top-of-the-line brands including Sub-Zero, Bosch, and Frigidaire in a range of popular styles such as French door, bottom freezer, and top freezer.