Types Of Cookware Materials
If you’re setting up your kitchen, finding the perfect cookware can be a difficult decision. No matter who you ask, you’re going to get a lot of very different opinions. If you’ve already bought and used cookware then you know that some cookware materials are simply better than others.
One thing about different cookware materials is that they all have their advantages and disadvantages. Much of it depends on the type of stove you have and also the type of foods and cooking methods you prefer. Before you throw out some of your old cookware and go shopping for a new kitchen collection it’s good to know the different types of cookware materials and the best way to use them.
1. Non-Stick Cookware
Almost everyone will have purchased a nonstick frying pan at one point in their lives and they are ideal for those who like to cook healthy foods as non-stick cookware needs little or no oil to get the cooking done. They are also super easy to clean which makes them perfect for those who like quick, healthy homecooked meals without a lot of pots and pan scrubbing afterward.
The downside to non-stick cookware is that you really need to be careful when you cook with them. One little scratch and your non-stick frying pan quickly becomes a piece of trash. Many of these non-stick coatings start to break down after they are scratched, releasing toxins into your food and nasty fumes into the air. Not good when you’re standing over the stove. Never use metal utensils when cooking with non-stick cookware. Opt for wood or heat safe synthetic ones instead.
When you think of stoneware you are probably thinking of those ancient old pots and pans, we see in historical movies or museums. Even so, this type of cookware is still popular today and, for the most part, they are excellent for roasting and baking a variety of dishes. Today, this type of cookware, along with clay cookware are ideal for casseroles, scalloped potatoes, lasagna and even sweet dishes. Other types are also great for thinks like baking beautiful crusty bread or pizzas.
Modern day stoneware can be somewhat different. You’ve probably seen a stone frying pan advertised on TV but one thing to note is that most of these are simply lined with stone or granite that has been mixed with a non-stick element. These are considerably more durable than a Teflon coated non-stick pan and they tend to maintain heat a lot better.
While stoneware is quite durable, it is prone to cracking if the exposed to drastic temperature changes. Never try to cool stoneware down under cold running water. It is best to leave it on the kitchen counter to cool gradually.
3. Stainless Steel
Some of the best cookware you can find is made from stainless steel. This metal is a composite of steel, chromium and nickel which makes this metal non-corrosive and non-reactive. This material is not only a great looking addition to your kitchen, but it’s also very durable and often lasts a lifetime.
Stainless steel pots are great for making soups and stews. They are, however, not very good when for delicate frying because food like eggs, fish and crepes tend to stick. If you simply must have a stainless-steel frying pan, you can still get one, but choose one that has been lined with a non-stick surface.
Aluminum is light and relatively inexpensive with great heat conductive properties. It is great for baking, roasting and general stove-top cooking. The problem is that aluminum is reactive with certain acidic foods and will leave a metallic taste in your dishes.
If you love aluminum you may want to look at anodized aluminum or cookware lined with a non-stick, non-reactive surface.
Ceramic cookware has taken the world by storm. It is one of the safest types of non-stick cookware and does not release the toxins some other non-stick cookware does. Ceramic cookware comes in a variety of different shapes, sizes and colors and if you have a ceramic pan, you can cook almost anything on it.
One thing to be aware of is that you should not cook on ceramic cookware at too high a heat. They will diminish the non-stick qualities and if you use fats or oils during cooking you must ensure you wash every trace of these off as they can build up and your food will start to stick to the pan.
6. Cast Iron
If you’ve ever enjoyed a perfectly cooked steak from a cast iron skillet you know how amazing cast iron cookware can be. This is a type of cookware that has been made to last. You don’t need to take any special care with it except for seasoning the cookware to prevent it from forming a layer of rust. A good seasoning of a cast iron skillet also gives it a non-stick property which will make cooking simpler.
More modern cast iron cookware has an enameled coating which turns this already fabulous type of cookware into a non-stick marvel. They have the heaviness of the cast iron which is great for maintaining the temperature when you want to do some slow and low style cooking. The beauty of cast iron cookware is that you can very easily take it from the stove or oven, right to the table. It’s also ideal for outdoor cooking over an open flame.
Copper is one of the best materials used in cookware because it conducts heat very efficiently. The problem with copper is that it reacts with acidic foods and can leave a yellow tinge to your meals, as well as a metallic taste.
While copper cookware is timeless and stunning, it does require care and as it is a precious, natural metal, the cost of a copper cookware set can add up to costing more than your kitchen.
So, which to choose for your kitchen? There is no reason why you need to choose just one. Most good kitchens usually have a variety of cookware so you can create any dish that comes to your imagination.