Black & Decker HS1000 Handy Steamer with Flavor Scenter Screen
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- Food steamer and rice cooker for healthy meals in minutes
- 4-quart steam basket; 5-cup rice bowl; built-in egg holder; drip tray
- 75-minute timer with auto shut-off and signal; external water-fill inlet
- Built-in flavor-scenter screen for flavoring foods with herbs and spices
- Measures approximately 12-1/5 by 9-1/5 by 10-2/5 inches
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Steamers are a healthy, convenient way to fix vegetables, rice seafood and more. Fill with water, wine, juice, or broth; place herbs or spices in the Flavor Scenter; add food; and set the timer. Your deliciously steamed food is ready when the bell rings.
Top customer reviews
The good change is that I can now steam two whole ears of corn in the new model, thanks to its elongated oval shape. The old steamer was round, and to steam ears of corn or long chard leaves or carrots, I had to cut them. That problem is gone now.
And now for the bad changes:
The first thing I noticed is that the steamer cannot be used without the drip catcher. The steaming compartment will not sit on the edge of the water reservoir. The drip catcher must be used to provide a seal, and to hold the top compartment on. This is a huge flaw in that you really can't steam anything for longer than about 45 minutes, as the steaming water reservoir is not replenished as the steam condenses on the sides and top and drips back down. This means you must add water as the level gets lower if you want to steam a long time. With the old steamer, I never had to worry about the water level. When cooking oatmeal or rice, I could leave the drip catcher out, and the water reservoir would empty much slower. I could steam for well over an hour without checking the water level. But not with this model
The second thing I noticed is the plastic-window water-level indicator in the reservoir side. Instead of the levels marked on the inside of the reservoir, as it was done in the older model, the levels are marked on this tiny window, and thus relatively useless without a bright light and a magnifying glass. The older way was better. You could see the water level from the top as you filled it.
The third shortcoming is the way the timer switch is set up. All of the times should be visible from above the device. Instead, the dial starts at zero from the top, with all the useful times printed around on the bottom of the dial. You must bend down to set the timer.
The steamer does work though. Not much you can do to hamper the laws of physics and thermodynamics when it comes to working with steam. And the timer is fairly accurate. So I won't throw away this steamer until it wears out.
There are cooking times for various foods in the instruction manual, it would have been nice if they would have put these on a sticker on the machine, I'm constantly hunting for the book. Rice takes about 35 minutes as do hard boiled eggs. First, filling the reservoir is not hard, but it is awkward. There is a little mouth opening on the side and you need to fill it with the insert and basket in place so you don't put too much water in. What I do is take a large plastic cup, like the ones you get at a ballgame or something, and use it to fill it, squeezing the cup to make a spout. I've had no problems getting the water in there. Then you just set the timer and wait for it to ding.
It's pretty easy to clean, most of the parts are dishwasher safe on the top rack, at least for me. The bottom of the unit, well, first unplug it and then carefully dump the leftover water out. Do this as soon as possible, you don't want it standing in there or things will begin to grow, it's basically a super good petri dish because you have water and through circulation food particles. The I usually just wipe that clean or maybe put some soap in there and carefully wash and rinse it out. I store mine on the counter and haven't had any plug problems. The unit is bulky, it's the size of a good sized toaster oven and it's oval so it doesn't really store well in cabinets and stuff.
If you are cooking for 4 or less people, this thing is great. Actually, for one person, you could probably cook an entire meal in it. I have not used it for any meats yet, so I don't know about that. I would definitely want to wash it more vigorously if I used chicken or something in there. If you are making tons of rice for your family or something, get a traditional rice cooker. Sometimes I wish I had one of those instead so I could make some one bot rice cooker recipes I've seen, but for now, this works well. I need to try dumplings in it at some point.
Some other notes, the rice boat will stain, I haven't had any odor issues, but mine is stained from using bouillon in it. I'm cool with it. I wish that thing was bigger. The clear, main basket is rigid and you should be careful with it. Top rack only or hand wash, if it gets a crack the whole thing is useless. The other pieces are plastic, but feel sturdy and I've had no issues with wear and tear.
I think it's a good price and it does what it says. I would totally buy this again.
We haven't used this for rice, but for a wide variety of vegetables (green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts...). Never had it run out of water, and we NEVER fill from the little spout end. I really like that the steam vents all on one side of the lid, so we can direct the steam where we want. I find the container easy to lift off the base when the food is done. Finally, there are fewer parts than for the Oster model, and all fit snugly. A great product!
Update in June, 2012:
So far, it's working well still. Two things:
The bottom tray is cracking in the middle. I've contacted B&D to find out about getting a replacement. It's under warranty...
The 'flavour center screen' has really gummed up. Water just sits in there. The device still works, but this gimmick isn't much use.
Given it was just under a year after buying it, we got a new bottom/egg tray. Works fine. We'll see how long the second one lasts.