Published on February 19, 2014
What is the best cookware?
Materials • The most common materials for cookware are stainless steel, cast iron, copper and aluminum. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages, and in order to select the best cookware material for your needs you’ll need to keep these important factors in mind.
Stainless Steel • The most commonly used cookware material is stainless steel. Not only is stainless steel cookware affordable for practically any budget, it’s also fairly durable to help avoid warping, dents and scratches. Unlike some other cookware materials, steel doesn’t create a reaction in certain foods when cooking. • The downside is stainless steel does not conduct heat very well. This means that the cookware creates areas on the cooking surface that are hotter than others, causing certain foods to cook unevenly.
Cast Iron • An old-fashioned favorite, cast iron is a material that has been used in cookware for centuries. There’s a good reason for its prolonged use as well. Cast iron is incredibly durable, has good heat conductivity and retention and is also very cost effective. • However, there are some downsides to cast iron. It can rust if not seasoned regularly. It can also create reactions in certain foods if not seasoned on a regular basis. Cast iron is also very heavy, but that’s typically a trade-off for durability.
Aluminum • Aluminum is also a fairly common choice for cookware as it’s a fairly cheap metal. The main benefit of aluminum cookware is that it has great heat conduction and makes a very even temperature across the entire pan to evenly cook many foods. • The negative side to this is that aluminum is a very soft metal, and cookware made of aluminum tends to scratch and dent extremely easily.
Copper • Copper is on the expensive end of the spectrum. It is commonly used by professional chefs as it not only looks wonderful, but it also has great and even heat conductivity. • The negative aspect to copper is that the price is usually so high that it is not very commonly used for regular household kitchens. It also reacts to certain foods, and it requires regular polishing in order to maintain its appealing and shiny look.
Maintenance • While some cookware choices are very durable and can last for years, even the best cookware needs maintenance in order to stay in good condition for as long as possible. Some people don’t want to dedicate much in terms of time or effort when it comes to their cookware, so you should take the various types of maintenance in consideration as well when searching for the best cookware choice for you.
Covers • When searching for the best cookware, the covers should also be a serious consideration. They may not seem like a major issue, but getting good covers can make a huge difference during cooking. • Covers made with glass offer the ability to check up on food without needing to remove the cover. This allows you to avoid losing heat or burning yourself with steam unnecessarily while trying to cook.
Non-Stick Coating • Non-stick coatings have been a widely loved benefit in cookware for years. It lessens or negates the need for oil or butter coatings on pans while cooking, and it prevents sticking with recipes that don’t call for buttering or oiling the pan. Non-stick coated cookware is also very easy to clean with no greasy residue left behind after cooking. • It’s a good idea to get some pots and pans that have non-stick coatings, but keep in mind that non-stick coatings can scratch off easily after repeated abuse with metal spoons, knives or mashers. Scratching off the non-stick coating can also be a health hazard if the tiny pieces accidentally enter the food. If you can, switch to plastic or wooden cooking tools on non-stick surfaces to avoid damage. If you must use metal cooking tools, it’s best to avoid using the non-stick cookware.
Pour Spouts • Pour spouts are a very simple yet effective addition to pots and some frying pans as it allows for quick and easy draining without worrying about getting a colander or trying to use the cover at a slightly opened angle to drain the liquid on your own. The latter is especially dangerous since it’s very common to burn yourself with boiling water or accidentally dump the food into the sink while trying to drain the water or grease.
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