For numerous reasons, many of us come to a point where we need or want to purchase new cookware for our kitchen. This seems like a simple task, but when you see the number of choices that are available today, it quickly becomes clear that making a choice may be much easier said than done. There are numerous things to consider when choosing new cookware. Let's look at four of the most important consideration.
The first thing to consider is the type of cooktop or range that you will be using. All cookware types can be used on standard gas or electric ranges. However, ranges or cooktops with a glass top need cookware with a smooth bottom to avoid scratches in the glass. Cast iron cookware is not recommended for glass top ranges. Induction cooktops require cookware made from material that is magnetic. It should be noted that due to variations in metal content not all stainless steel is magnetic. If you need cookware for an induction cooktop, confirm with the manufacturer or on the package that the product is induction ready. Another way to confirm if cookware will function on an induction cooktop is to see if a magnet will firmly attach to the bottom of the pan.
The type of material used to make the cookware is also an important consideration. Stainless steel, cast iron, copper, glass and aluminum cookware are all readily available. Stainless steel cookware is a durable, easy care option and is often dishwasher safe. It provides even heating and does not react with foods. Cast iron is excellent at maintaining heat, meaning once the pan is hot, it stays hot. Most new cast iron cookware comes pre-seasoned and does not require that the cook go through the seasoning process before the first use. Copper is the best heat conductor. However, unlined copper cookware may react with some acidic foods such as tomato sauce, causing a bitter taste. Stainless steel pans may have copper bottoms, adding the excellent conductivity of copper to the non-reactive properties of stainless steel. Glass cookware is attractive and allows you to see what's cooking, even with the lid in place. It also moves easily from stove top to oven or microwave or to the freezer. Oxidized aluminum cookware is light weight, conducts heat well and doesn't rust. Raw aluminum pots and pans reacts with ingredients such as tomatoes, greens and citrus, discoloring the foods. Most aluminum cookware in the market today had been manufactured with an aluminum oxide coating that greatly diminishes these issues.
Another consideration is the weight of the pans. It's important to think not just of the weight of the pan alone but also much it will weight when it's full of food. Cast iron cookware and glass are the heaviest while aluminum is the lightest. Stainless steel and copper are heavier than aluminum but much lighter than cast iron. If possible, it's a great idea to handle potential new cookware prior to making a purchase to test the weight and feel of the pans.
Last, but certainly not least, it's important to consider the care required to maintain your new cookware. Stainless steel is relatively easy to clean, in many cases it is dishwasher safe. Glass and oxidized aluminum are also easy care, check manufactures instructions for details as some may be dishwasher safe. Cast iron cookware requires more attention. It needs to be cleaned and dried completely to avoid rust. It's recommended that cast iron cookware be stored with the lid off to allow any remaining moisture to evaporate. Copper requires regular polishing to maintain its beautiful shine and even heat conductivity.
Although, the above are some important considerations when purchasing new cookware, these are not the only things to think about. Additional considerations such as cost, appearance, and personal preference will also play a part in the final decision.
Susan Barnes has always loved to cook and has developed a keen interest in quality cookware and kitchen tools. She is currently helping manage http://InductionCookwareSetsPlus.com
, a website promoting induction cookware.