How to Choose Stainless Steel Cookware
Stainless steel cookware is one of the most popular kitchen accessories today. It's easy to learn how to use stainless steel cookware because it's built to be very versatile and convenient. When you're looking for a new cookware set, make sure it's made from all-natural, scratch-resistant materials like cast iron or stainless steel, which will never react with acidic foods like wine or tomato sauce. It's best to buy a well-known brand so you know it will stand up to what you're cooking.
Copper is another very popular stainless steel cookware option. Its advantage over copper is that it conducts heat evenly and thoroughly, which makes it better for cooking. Copper is also known for having a higher thermal conductivity than stainless steel, making it safer to handle hot pans on your stovetop. Copper is cheaper than stainless steel and has a slightly lower heat conductivity, which means it's better for using in places where you might need to keep the temperature steady, such as your oven.
Cast Iron is probably the only material that comes close to stainless steel cookware in terms of heat conductivity, but it doesn't have the same flexibility. You can still cook with it, but the shape of your pot and pan may make the food stick to it or burn if you're not careful. Cast iron also heats faster than medium heat, so make sure you don't go too high with your cooking oil. It will also react with acidic foods very badly.
Aluminum is a popular alternative to stainless steel cookware because it conducts heat well and heats up quickly, although some people have issues with its ability to absorb flavor. Aluminum is inexpensive and comes in a variety of colors, so you can match your cookware to your kitchen decor easily. Some aluminum pots and pans do have a non-stick coating, but this is debatable. Other notable disadvantages of aluminum cookware include its slow heat conduction and tendency to leech off aluminum into the food, especially when acidic dishes are cooked.
When looking for stainless steel cookware for your home, you need to think about both the pros and cons of each material. Aluminum is incredibly durable, but it's not dishwasher safe or microwave safe, so be aware of those two points. Cast iron is extremely durable, but it's non-stick and you'll need a good set of tongs to stir your food in it. Copper is extremely durable and very easy to clean, although it's not scratch-resistant or cleansers-proof. Copper pots also tend to retain a metallic taste over time, although the improved non-stick quality of cast iron makes this less of an issue.
The material that you choose for searing should have excellent heat conduction. Copper, cast iron, and aluminum all have good heat conduction. You need a utensil to prevent your food from sticking, so stainless steel cookware with a non-stick surface may be a good choice for you. If you're going to use a barbeque gas burner, you need a good handle to prevent burns. The handle should be large enough to handle the weight of the stainless steel cookware, as well as allow the heat to stay where it belongs - away from your food.
Stainless steel cookware should be made from sturdy metal, such as copper or aluminum. You should avoid stainless steel cookware with a copper or tin oxide-coated finish because these metals conduct heat poorly. Copper will 'rust' if it has a coating on it, so look for a non-coated finish. Aluminum is another great choice for heat conductivity, as long as it's not coated. Cast iron is probably the best material for searing because it conducts heat very well and will withstand even the most aggressive cooking conditions.
Another factor in choosing stainless steel cookware is size. Larger pots take longer to cook, so you might want to think about which type of lid will work best for you. A swing- the lid is best for foods that tend to cook quickly such as chili, steak, or seafood. If you're looking for easy cleanup, you can get small aluminum non-stick pots that will fit on a countertop or a tabletop. These are great for parties and quick family meals because they are small enough to cook on your own. If you cook a lot of food, you can get a large one for parties or large gatherings, since it will take longer to cook and you'll need more food to cook.