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It is not an easy job to choose and buy cookware properly. With so many options and different types of cookware, you might easily get overwhelmed. You will surely hesitate about which pans and pots to go for, or which materials to choose. And then there are these things about brand and quality as well.
Cookware is meant to be used on a daily basis, and they are not too cheap. That is why you will definitely want your cookware to last for years to come and be efficient at the same time. Some of you might even consider the outlooks of your cookware as well so that it matches your taste and kitchen.
In the following article, we will discuss what to look for when you want to choose and buy cookware. This will give you the basic idea about how to get started with your cookware journey briefly.
Know What You Need
There are lots of different types of pots and pans each with their own unique uses. If you are completely new and don’t have any ideas about which items to choose from, then you should go for per-packaged sets. Most of the manufacturers sell cookware sets those have 5, 8, or 10 common pieces that cover the basics. Those common pieces will help you get started easily.
If you already have a few pieces of cookware in your kitchen, and you know a few things about them, then it is best for you to buy hand-picked pieces. In that case, you will also have to take in consideration of your cooking style. Such as - if you want to make the soup very often, then invest more in something similar to saucepan. And if you like to make pancakes and fry this and that, then you might want to go for non-stick frying pans. Also, there are different types of utensils available for baking.
It will be mind-boggling for you if we try to explain all the different types of cookware and their materials. For your convenience, we will keep it short and let you know the most common and important aspects only. Once you get started, you will understand everything by yourselves slowly. So don’t get worked up, just relax and read the rest of it.
Types of cookware
Different types of food preparation require different types of cookware. Among them the most common pans are fry pan, saute pan, saucepan, wok, roasting pan, stock pot, steamer, cake pan, muffin pan, bread loaf pan.
Fry Pan – ideal for frying searing, scrambling or sauteing. A frying pan is a must for every kitchen. Sloped side allows you to slide the food easily on the plate and the even surface lets you flip the food easily.
Saute pan – ideal for braising, poaching, sauteing, and stir-frying. High sides ensure that you can cook in volume without spilling the food, and wide bottom area allows maximum heat conduction.
Sauce Pan – this one is ideal for cooking voluminous food at a low temperature for a longer period of time. It is easy for you to stir in a sauce pan since the sides are pretty high. Small bottom area ensures less heat exposure. Saucepans come in few more shapes. Such as the straight sided saucepan with lid, sauce pot and stock pot, which are good choice for cooking vegetables, soup, stocks, pasta and seafood
Wok – works best while cooking something that requires a lot of stirring. Its shape allows you to move and stir your food freely.
Roasting Pan – vast surface area allows you to cook large size food. Hence, ideal for roasting turkeys, chicken and hams. Also, the handle bars allow you to transport it conveniently from and into the oven.
Steamer – a really important piece of your kitchen. This is ideal for you to cook vegetables, boiled eggs, chicken broth, meatloaf, etc. Usually, they are used as an insert in larger pans.
Cake Pan – an important piece of cookware that you need if you are into baking cakes. They are ideal for making cakes and deep dish pizzas. Their sides are straight which allows you to transfer the food easily, and it is easy to clean as well.
Muffin Pan – can be an important part of your kitchen if you are into making muffins or cupcakes. They are well shaped and makes it a lot easier for you to do what you need to do.
Bread Loaf Pan – ideal for making bread, pudding, and cake. Straight sides make it easy to remove the food from it. Also, the high rising sides can keep the inflating food inside.
Types of cookware materials
Different types of cookware materials are available out in the market, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Also, their different specifications allow them to be used on various cook tops, including – gas, electric, induction, oven, etc.
Most common cookware materials are stainless steel, non-stick, cast iron, copper, and aluminum.
Stainless Steel – a classic option that is the best for almost all of the uses. They are long lasting and durable. Usually, their build quality is very sturdy and they are non-reactive at the same time. You can use them in the dishwasher without any worries, and you can use them in the oven as well. It is really easy to maintain stainless steel cookware, they are also compatible with induction cook tops. The only thing they lack is non-stick properties. So make sure that you use oil, butter or spray while you cook.
Non-stick – one of the most commonly used cookware for everyday use. They are easy to clean and really fun to cook with. They are usually built from aluminum or stainless steel with a nonporous coating on the top. Food doesn’t stick to the surface and requires little or no oil to cook. But they are prone to damage, hence should be maintained and used carefully to protect the upper layer. There are lots of different nonstick options available in the market. Each might have different instructions and it will be wise for you to use them accordingly.
Cast Iron – is a good option as it heats evenly and cooks your food beautifully. You can use it in the oven without any worry. They are extremely durable and good heat conductor. They can maintain the heat for a long time. They too lack the non-stick properties and comparatively heavier. You must per-season them before using and know that they are sometimes tough to clean.
Copper – looks beautiful and visually appealing. They are very responsive to heat. It is fast and fun to use them in your cooking. These beauties come at a comparatively higher price. Also, you must maintain them properly to keep them shiny and dent free.
Aluminum – is another classic choice which is tough and all-rounder. They are an excellent heat conductor and lightweight. Hence it is easy to handle them. It is certainly oven safe, but all of them are not dishwasher safe; hence it will be wise to wash them by hand. Remember that they are prone to discoloration and sometimes they can discolor some food as well.
Handles of your cookware come with different specifications. If you want to use your pans and pots in the oven then you must avoid plastic and wood handles. Otherwise, they are good options as they are heatproof. The best option can be metal handles that have removable rubber or plastic heat guards.
Lids are important as well. A good lid must have a heatproof knob, it should fit tightly to your pan, and it must be vented. Remember that glass lids are more convenient while cooking as it allows you to check the food without lifting the lid. You must follow the instructions from the manual when you intend to use the lid in the oven.
Quality and brand
You must understand that quality is important, even if you have to pay a little higher. High-quality cookware will ensure you better performance and last longer. Eventually, in the long run, better quality products will help you save money as well.
Check the cookware while buying, inspect the build, and notice how it feels. If you are buying online, then go through the reviews and ask someone who has bought it already.
It is also a good idea to go for a well-known brand. In that case, you don’t have to worry much about the quality issues. But it is not necessary that a high priced and good brand product is the best option. Hence be a little proactive and think before you buy.