May 18, 2012

How to Choose Cookware

Selecting the right cookware for your kitchen is not an easy task. Cookware comes in a wide range of materials from stainless steel to cast iron and everything in between. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages and some forms of cookware work better for some than for others.

What to look for when choosing cookware

  1. Heat conductivity – cookware with good heat conduction equates to reduced hotspots, less burning and therefore more evenly cooked foods.
  2. Durability – if you want your cookware to last as long as possible then look for cookware made of the more durable materials like stainless steel and cast iron.
  3. Reactivity – some metals react with certain foods resulting in an altering of the flavor.
  4. Price – try not to economize on your cookware. Buy the best you can afford and you won’t be disappointed.

When it comes down to it, it is really a matter of your own personal preference and budget that will determine what cookware you end up with in your kitchen. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of each type to help with your decision making.

Stainless Steel Cookware

Stainless steel is probably one of the best all round materials for the home cook. It has many advantages over other forms of cookware with its only major disadvantage being that it does not conduct heat very well. To overcome this drawback look for stainless steel cookware with a layer of copper or aluminum sandwiched between the base which will help to improve heat conductivity.

Advantages

  • Durable
  • Easy to clean
  • Reasonably priced
  • Doesn’t react with food

Disadvantages

  • Not a good heat conductor

Cast Iron Cookware

Cast iron cookware is not a commonly used form of cookware for most home cooks. It has a number of disadvantages mainly the fact that it requires regular care to maintain it and it can be heavy to lift. It is however an excellent conductor of heat and if seasoned correctly can make magnificent meals.

Advantages

  • Extremely durable
  • Good heat conductor
  • Reasonably priced

Disadvantages

  • Requires regular seasoning
  • Can rust if not cared for correctly
  • Heavy
  • Reacts with food unless seasoned correctly

Aluminum Cookware

Aluminum is a good choice for cookware as it is a good conductor of heat however its biggest drawback is that it is not terribly durable and can dent and scratch easily. Aluminum is often used as the base of other forms of cookware including copper and stainless steel because of its good heat conduction.

Advantages

  • Good heat conductor
  • Reasonably priced

Disadvantages

  • Scratches and dents easily
  • Reacts with some foods

Copper Cookware

Copper cookware is used extensively by chefs as it is the best conductor of heat. The drawback to the home cook is that it can be quite expensive and also requires regular maintenance to keep it looking as shiny as the day it was bought.

Advantages

  • Excellent conductor of heat

Disadvantages

  • Expensive
  • High maintenance to keep it looking good
  • Reacts with food

About the Author:

Benni Jenyfari is a freelance author for Only Cookware – a consumer guide to cookware, stainless steel cookware and cast iron cookware sets.

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