Pros:Large size, reasonable price, easy to use.
The Bottom Line: The Ziploc Zip 'n Steam Cooking Bags make microwave cooking even easier.
After trying my free samples of Glad Simply Cooking Microwave Steaming Bags, I put them on my shopping list. The store I was at did not have them, but they did have the Ziploc Zip 'n Steam bags, which I believed to be a similar product, so I purchased a box.
Recommend this product?
I had a choice between the medium and large sized bags, and I chose the large ones since my only complaint with the Glad product was their small size. These steamer bags look almost like a regular Ziploc bag, but they are made of a sturdier plastic and are designed specifically for cooking in the microwave. Each bag measures about 10" square, but there is a bout 2.5" at the top and half an inch on each side lost to the seal of the bag.
These bags say "Zip 'n Steam" right on them have a thick blue line across the top stating Hold Here with a warning that there is hot steam. Printed right on the back are cooking times for a variety of foods such as different vegetables, fish, chicken and hot dogs. There are two indicator lines that tell you when the bag is half-full and when it is a full bag, which is about three-fourths of the way to the top. Directions for use are printed near the bottom and indicate that water should not be added since the moisture already in the food will provide the steam and that the food should lay flat so that items such as meat do not overlap.
Unlike the Glad version that stand up to cook, these Ziploc bags lay on their side in the microwave, and the bag tells you which side should be face up and which should be face down.
I felt that to really compare the two brands of bags I should make at least one identical recipe with them, so I chose the simplest: eggs. Seven recipes were included with my bags, but none for making eggs, so I visited www.ziploc.com to see if there were any differences in their omelet recipe from the one I used with my Glad steamer bags. The recipe was basically the same, though this one was for a Southwestern omelet so there were additional ingredients. The Glad recipe indicated that a fork should be used inside the bag to break up the yolks, but you had to be careful not to puncture the bag. Since these Ziploc bags are larger, this recipe stated that after sealing the bag, just break up the yolk by squeezing the bag. I found that the fork method in the smaller Glad bags did not mix the eggs as thoroughly as I would have liked, but since there is more room in the Ziploc bags, I was able to squish the egg around enough to mix it thoroughly.
After the egg is mixed up, add any broken up pieces of meats or cheese, and some hot sauce if you so desire, seal the bag and cook for about two and a half minutes. After letting it stand for one minute, dump the food on the plate.
The eggs tasted the same in either company's bag, but the larger Ziploc bags mean that I can make omelets for two or three (and possibly four, though I have not tried that yet) people at one time, so that everybody's food is ready at the same time. Also, since these bags lie on their sides, the omelets seem to cook a little more evenly than with the bags that stand up.
Since my children and I only eat eggs if they are scrambled or in omelet form, these bags are perfect for a quick breakfast when we are busily getting ready for school or an early morning sports game or practice. I can put all my ingredients into the bag and pop it into the microwave and not have to watch it cook, whereas with a frying pan, I would have to stand over it.
The idea of not cleaning a pot after cooking vegetables for dinner already appealed to me, so I would often cook vegetables in microwave-safe container or bowl. If the container did not have a lid, I would have to cover it with plastic wrap and make sure it was vented so that the water I had added could escape as steam. Sometimes I would add too much water and there would be a puddle of hot water on the bottom of my microwave when I opened the door. These bags alleviate all of those problems, and I can just toss the bag in the garbage after cooking.
I still have not had the opportunity to try making a beef or poultry entrée in any of my steamer bags, but for breakfast and for heating up vegetables for dinner, they are quickly becoming my new kitchen helpers.
I purchased these at a warehouse store for about $10 for forty large bags, which hold from 3 to 5 servings. With a family of four, this size is best when making a vegetable to serve us all. I like the idea of steamer bags for cooking food in the microwave, and given the choice, I would choose the Ziploc Zip 'n Steam version over the Glad Simply Cooking Microwave Steaming Bags due to their larger size and the fact that they lie on their sides, so that larger pieces of food can cook through more easily.