Buying Guide Understanding The Best Cookware Material
A set of cookware can be a big investment, but well chosen cookware can last a lifetime. Pots, pans, and skillets are available in a wide variety of materials, but choosing cookware based on what will best suit your needs can be confusing. Understanding the properties of the metals available will help you to make an informed decision about what type of cookware is best for you.
Stainless steel cookware is an extremely popular option due to its durability. 18/10 grade stainless steel pots and pans require little care beyond soap and water cleanup and occasional polishing to maintain a shining finish. Unlike many metals, stainless steel is non-reactive. This allows you to safely prepare acidic foods like lemons and tomatoes. Stainless steel is also non-porous, guaranteeing a long life for your cookware. Plus compared to some materials it is relatively lightweight.
The downside of stainless steel is that it conducts heat poorly in comparison to other metals, which can lead to slow or uneven heating. Good quality stainless steel cookware sets are affordable and readily available, and the slower heating should not pose a problem for home chefs who cook infrequently or prepare just basic meals.
As you may already know, Aluminum is a good conductor of heat, and because of this is the most common material found in commercial kitchens. Another fact is that Aluminum pots and pans are easy and inexpensive to manufacture, resulting in a very affordable end product for consumers.
Standard aluminum pans scratch easily and are reactive, meaning they can impart a metallic taste to foods or even discolor your meal. To combat the effects of these drawbacks aluminum is often coated with a non-stick surface or through a process called anodizing. While these surfaces allow for easy cleanup and the ability to cook acidic foods, there is evidence that non-stick coatings may be hazardous to your health. In addition to potential health hazards, non-stick surfaces also wear out over time and with misuse, which can mean replacing your cookware more frequently than you may wish to do so.
Copper is an excellent conductor of heat. According to the cookware experts at Fante’s Kitchen Ware’s Shop, copper conducts heat twice as well as aluminum, and up to ten times more than stainless steel. Quick and even heat distribution is key to successful cooking, and while copper skillets provide this they are not without downsides. Copper is highly reactive, as such is not suitable for direct contact with foods.
Quite often Copper pans are coated with tin or stainless steel to prevent reactions, however, tin coverings will eventually wear out and require the re-tinning of your pans. Tin also melts at 450 degrees, if you weren’t aware. So tin coated copper pans should not be transferred to the oven for finish cooking and are unsuitable as frypans. Copper also stains easily. Therefore it requires a significant amount of maintenance to keep it looking new. Some Copper cookware sets can be extremely expensive. Alternatively stainless steel cookware with a copper core can be purchased at a decent cost saving.
Best Cookware Material Conclusion
Your cookware needs depend on how frequently you cook, and how complex the dishes. A good, balanced set of cookware might include several pieces manufactured from different materials, as each metal provides attributes suited to certain cooking techniques. The best way to select pots, pans, and skillets is to evaluate your cooking habits and purchase the best quality cookware your budget can handle.
We’ve already compared Copper VS Stainless Steel Cookware but we wanted to look here at more options. What we’d say to round this article up is the best cookware material is the one you find practical, affordable and value for money.