When it comes to crafting the perfect recipe, you want to know that you have the right tools to work with. In terms of cooking, that means a high-quality set of cookware. If you pay a visit to the home department at your local department store, you will find dozens of different brands for cookware. Cookware sets come in all kinds of colors, shapes, and materials, so how do you choose? The cookware set that is right for one person may not be right for you – it is up to you to learn the basics about different types of cookware so you can decide for yourself.
Top-Recommended Types of Cookware
Before you go out and purchase a new set of cookware you need to learn the basics about your options. Below you will find a brief explanation of the different materials from which high-quality cookware sets can be made. With this information in hand you can then make an educated decision about which type of cookware is right for you.
If you are looking for a highly durable set of cookware, stainless steel is an excellent choice of material. Stainless steel is resistant to pitting, denting and scratching, plus it won’t react with acidic or alkaline foods. Most stainless steel cookware is also dishwasher-safe and oven-safe. Keep in mind that there are different grades of stainless steel. The best grade to use in cookware is 18/10 stainless steel – it is 18 parts chromium and 10 parts nickel. Another benefit of stainless steel cookware is that it looks modern and that it will match nearly any décor scheme – it is also fairly inexpensive when compared to other materials. The downside of stainless steel is that it doesn’t transfer or distribute heat as efficiently as other materials. To solve this problem, look for stainless steel cookware that has a copper or aluminum core sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel.
Many people do not consider cast-iron when they are looking for a new cookware set. This material is very heavy and it takes a long time to heat up, but it actually retains and distributes heat very well. Cast-iron cookware is extremely durable and it is surprisingly inexpensive. One of the downsides of this material is that it needs to be properly seasoned and that it reacts with acidic foods. As long as you properly season your cast-iron cookware, however, it is fairly easy to maintain and to clean.
Nonstick cookware is one of the most popular cookware materials out there because it is easy to use and easy to clean. This type of cookware can be made from different materials but it features a nonstick coating releases food easily – this means that you won’t need as much oil and it cleans up quickly. The downside of this type of cookware is that the nonstick coating can be scratched easily and it shouldn’t be used at very high temperatures.
If you don’t mind paying more for quality, copper cookware is an excellent option. Copper cookware offers excellent thermal conductivity and it cooks food very evenly. Unfortunately, copper cookware reacts with some acidic and alkaline foods which can leave a slightly metallic taste. You should also be aware that certain foods will pick up copper compounds during cooking so you could end up ingesting small amounts of copper – this generally isn’t a problem if you only use the cookware occasionally. Another downside of copper cookware is that it is difficult to maintain – it requires regular polishing and it may not be dishwasher safe. If you want to use your copper cookware regularly, choose copper cookware that has a tin or stainless steel lining. This will solve the reactivity problem while keeping the high thermal conductivity for which copper cookware is known.
If you are looking for a cookware set that offers excellent thermal conductivity but is more versatile and less expensive than copper, aluminum is a great option. This material is very lightweight and it transfers heat more efficiently than many other materials. The downside of aluminum cookware is that the raw material is highly reactive to acidic and alkaline foods. You can solve this problem by choosing hard-anodized aluminum – it has been chemically treated to harden the materials so they do not react. Hard-anodized aluminum cookware is more expensive than raw aluminum but it is a much more superior product.
With so many different cookware sets to choose from it can be difficult to make the right choice. By using the information provided above you can make a detailed comparison of your options and select the one that is just right for you.