The best way to steam your vegetables

Four methods put to the test

Sometimes Pricewatch daydreams about being a super-organised person who prepares healthy meals ahead of time, storing them in a tidy fashion in a perfectly tidy fridge. This is exactly the kind of product that features in our daydreams. The compartments double as storage, which facilitates advance prep and storage. But we are not the person of our daydreams and we fear this steamer would be wasted on us. It is cleverly designed and dishwasher-friendly and stacks easily enough. The "instant steam" effect means you don't have to wait around for your food to start cooking, which is an added bonus. It is, however, on the bulky side and we reckon we'd not get enough use out of it to warrant it taking up precious space in our kitchen.
Verdict: Good but not for us.
Star rating: ★★★

This steamer is no-nonsense. It is simple to use, utterly reliable and can be chucked at the back of a press until you need it. It is not the kind of kitchen kit that will be passed down the generations, but you should get years of happy steaming out of it as long as you don't jump up and down on it or use it in a dishwasher. We also have a slight concern about the price. At €20 it is not very expensive, but given its fairly basic nature we reckon it should be cheaper.
Verdict: Nice and reliable.
Star rating: ★★★★

At full price, this stainless steel steamer will set you back €75 if you buy it in Argos. At that price it does not seem like good value for money. However, it is currently on sale for €31.99, which is much better, although, as with the Sensihome product, we are not entirely convinced about the merits of having such a big and bulky piece of kit in our kitchen. It has a nine-litre capacity – we can't really imagine any circumstance when we would need more than that – and it is very easy to clean. It gets the job done without much fuss.
Verdict: Grand but bulky.
Star rating: ★★★

These are quite the revelation. They are basically zip-lock bags that you can steam food in. All you do is whack the food in the bags, put it in the microwave and away it goes. While it might not be the most environmentally friendly option on the market, it is the most hassle-free. The bags also have an added advantage in that they take up virtually no space in the kitchen. However, spread out over the course of a lifetime, these bags will work out far dearer than any of the competition. Be careful when it comes to following the directions on the box too closely, however – less is more, unless you like your vegetables mushy.
Verdict: The easy winner.
Star rating: ★★★★