Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Cookware - Why Choose Stainless Steel, Non-Stick, Anodized and More

A good set of cookware is essential to any well functioning kitchen. There are currently several types of cookware materials on the market including stainless steel cookware, hard anodized aluminum cookware, non-stick cookware, cast iron cookware, copper cookware, and infused anodized cookware. With so many choices, you need to know the basics before making your buying decision.

Stainless steel cookware is like flatware in that it comes in varying grades of stainless. The heavier the pan, the better it will perform for you. Stainless cookware is not non-stick, but with preheating and proper use of fats (oils, butter) your foods will generally not stick if you do not turn them too soon. Stainless is great for cooking meats when you want to be able to deglaze the pan and get up all those wonderful cooked bits that stick to the bottom.

Hard anodized pans are made from heavy aluminum which conducts heat quickly and evenly. The anodized surface is stick resistant so food sticks enough to allow searing and browning but releases the food well when cooking is complete. This cookware is not dishwasher safe.

Infused anodized cookware is the newer version of anodized cookware and is what Calphalon One pots and pans are made of. The performance of this type of cookware is essentially the same as hard anodized cookware.

Non-stick cookware can be made of any material –copper, stainless steel, aluminum, or cast iron. Contemporary non-stick cookware has a fairly durable non-stick coating but is not dishwasher safe. Browning is difficult to achieve with this surface but foods release easily.

Copper cookware provides excellent heat conduction and is frequently lined with stainless steel that will not react with foods. It is easy to burn foods using copper cookware, sot you will need to be a bit more attentive to your cooking. Copper cookware makes a beautiful addition to a kitchen.

Cast iron cookware is the workhorse of the kitchen. It is terrific for long cooking items such as soups, stews, and roasts. Enameled cast iron cookware, such as LeCreuset, provides the benefits of cast iron with less sticking. It is also available in several beautiful colors.

As you can see, there are multiple choices for every taste and style of cooking. Our next post will discuss choosing the right type of cookware depending on your range style - gas, dual fuel, induction, or electric.

Rick & Karen

1 comment:

Heart of Rachel said...

My husband loves cooking. We have many of those non-stick cookware in the house but I know he wants those copper cookware. They just seem too expensive.