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I have a counter-top water distiller which I have been using to make distilled water, and it's been working fine for this purpose. Recently, my artichoke plant has produced artichokes ready for harvest, and I had the idea I could use the distiller to steam-cook them.

The possible advantages I can think of are:

  1. Distiller would automatically shutoff when the water is boiled away.

  2. I could set the cooking time by how much water I put in.

  3. No steam escaping into the environment. (I live in a small room, and it gets damp in here too easily.)

  4. Producing distilled water at the same time.

However, the possible disadvantages I can think of are:

  1. Contaminants from the water might splash up and ruin the food.

  2. Difficulty finding a stand to keep the artichoke out of the water.

  3. The particles of artichoke might contaminate the steam, causing the distiller's charcoal filter or even the inside of its pipes to clog.

Anyone actually try this or know of probable problems I haven't thought of?

Here is the distiller I have: http://www.amazon.com/Water-Distiller-Countertop-Enamel-Collection/dp/B00026F9F8?ie=UTF8&ref_=cm_cd_al_qh_dp_i

  • Why are you distilling the water? If it's seriously contaminated, I wouldn't have it anywhere near food. In most other cases there's a better way to clean the water (boiling, reverse osmosis). Biggest problems I can see: over-cooking; spoiling the flavour of the output water (depending on where your food would sit); making the input vessel dirty. – Chris H May 29 '16 at 7:27
  • Artichokes do produce a smell as they're steaming, so some organic compound does come off of them as they cook. I'd be concerned about what that might do to a charcoal filter. Perhaps you could put together a different sort of top to use with your still when you want to use it for steaming? Maybe even put distilled water in the unit so you don't have to worry about Arsenic, or whatever you're using the still to get rid of. – Wayfaring Stranger May 29 '16 at 16:29
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    Put some distilled water in a pot, and cook the artichokes. This is just silliness, and likely to cause you grief with a device that's somewhat specialized, and not for cooking. – Ecnerwal May 30 '16 at 1:50
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    I used to believe it was wrong to use distilled water for drinking, but I've since changed my mind. Many natural healing practitioners advocate it, so that's why I use it over reverse osmosis. Using a different top is a good idea, but I went ahead and tried this. It worked well. Cooking time can be set by how much water you add, and there seemed to be no downside, only the upsides. I did it twice so far. The release of organic compounds by the artichoke affecting the charcoal filter is my only remaining concern, but it seemed fine. – Flurrywinde Jun 20 '16 at 16:30
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I did it a few times and it worked great! My artichoke plant makes rather small artichokes, so I put one stem down in a teacup in the bottom of the distiller. I filled the distiller with 1-2 cups of water, estimating that would get me enough cooking time to cook that size artichoke. After it distilled that water and automatically shutoff, I waited until it was cool, opened it up, and found my nicely cooked artichoke. :)

For a larger artichoke I might try to find a metal stand of some sort and lay the artichoke on its side.

Yes, artichokes produce a smell when being steamed. Will this adversely affect the innards of the distiller? I'm no chemistry expert, but I kind of doubt it, hence my willingness to try this experiment. Probably it is a volatile gas, not a solid, that gets absorbed by the distiller's carbon filter with the rest of the volatile gases in the water. Solids should remain in the distiller's "tank" with the rest of the crud and scale that builds up like normal.

So in the end, if you're living by yourself in a small space, just want to steam one artichoke at a time, and don't want to waste space with a regular steam cooker, this seems like a good alternative. Plus, you get to keep humidity down and get clean drinking water to boot.

  • Hi, thank you for returning and sharing your experience! It is indeed an unusual question, and it seems nobody from our community knew more about it. This makes it all the more valuable for others who search for this information. – rumtscho Apr 11 '17 at 20:02
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    Could you add something on how you did it and what gave you best results? If it matters? – Robert Apr 11 '17 at 20:29
  • Sure, see above. I initially left it out because it's pretty simple, but I guess I could see how it might help some people. – Flurrywinde Apr 20 '17 at 15:21
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Steaming foods tends to contaminate steamer water with drippings heavily: Steam some broccoli or asparagus and get green water. Some of the compounds - especially aroma bearing ones! - will be easily vaporized and condensed together with the water in the distiller.

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