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23.07.2014 admin
I often have readers ask me to write about the types of stovetop cookware I recommend, particularly for a home cook who is just starting out. I feel the best way to approach this is to give you a comprehensive overview of the major types of stovetop pots and pans out there, along with their potential uses, to help make the decision process a bit easier. First, ita€™s important to understand the different metals and surfaces that pans are made from and how they can affect what you are cooking.
Aluminum pans conduct heat well and are lightweight, making them easy to lift and handle.A  You should not store food, particularly those high in acid (tomatoes, lemon juice) in aluminum, because the chemical reaction will cause a change in both color and flavor.
Stainless steel pans are nice, but unfortunately are not the greatest for creating even heat. Cast iron pans are favored for their ability to conduct heat well and hold high temperatures for a long period of time.
Non-stick coatings on pansA are great for cooking low-fat meals because they do not require any added oils. Copper, though it is rarely used now, conducts heat better than any of the other metal used for cooking equipment. Now that you know what youa€™re getting into in terms of metal, let’s take a look at the many varieties of pots and pans out there. Cast-iron or enameled cast iron skillets,A as mentioned above, are very heavy and hold a nice even heat.
Enameled cast-iron pots are great in that they have the same helpful properties as a cast iron skillet. This is a basic overview of stovetop cookware, however there are many other specialty pots and pans out there.
Though you list the Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Skillet as the splurge, the enamel you pay an extra $120 for is simply window dressing. I think those reasons alone would pull an enamel bottomed cast iron skillet out of my plans. Agreed, though some enameled cast iron skillets are enameled on the cook surface (I have a small one at home, which makes for slightly easier cleanup).
I love to cook, and I am lucky I have a rather large kitchen, even that being said, I have room issues keeping everything sorted out, never enough room in the cabinets. Lauren, I searched online for the induction unit that offered the highest wattage at a reasonable price.
Plz!, I am in the process of getting a new cookware set for,this Christmas, but m very confused which one to get! Hi Keith, I would go with cast aluminum pans, stainless steel or cast iron on a flat top electric stove. So I tend to buy boiler piece by piece when thinking about the amounts I have to cook for certain meals. I have a scanpan roaster, can this be used on my gas stovetop before going beneath my grill which is in my oven? This is a place for moms who love or need help with decorating, organizing, remodeling, cleaning and anything else around the home! If you’ve ever been shopping for pots and pans, you know it can be a perplexing process.
Evaluate your own cooking habits– do you do a lot of frying, or are stews more your thing? The thickness of the metal is important, as pans with a thicker bottom will heat more evenly. They are best for cooking at low temps or for holding steaming baskets, when even heat is not as crucial. Certain non-stick surfaces may be healthier to use than others (I’ll expand on this below). They are best for heating and simmering stocks (broths) or any other large quantity of liquid. They are great for browning and braising meat, cooking stews and reducing larger amounts of liquid. Lighter and more shallow than the saucepot, they typically have one long handle and straight or slightly slanted sides.

Their large surface area lends well to reducing liquids quickly and the straight sides help to keep the liquid from splashing out. They are quite heavy and deep, usually round or oval in shape and come with two handles and a lid. They consist of a 2 parts, a bottom pot that holds water and an upper pot that rests inside, over the steam and away from direct heat. Many are available with a removable rack, which helps to separate fat drippings from the meat. Hands down the most versatile piece of cast iron I own (which is a ton) because of it’s generous size.
That said, a well-seasoned cast iron will work every bit as well, and it’s much more affordable.
I fancy cast iron (most of my cast iron are antiques, many from the 1800’s) for the greatest portion of my cooking, I have enameled stock and stew pots and some large stainless soup pots, I have a really nice old porcelain covered cast iron muffin pan that makes muffins to die for!
Two of which were my grandmother’s and mothers and now thank goodness for last 20 years mine.
While I know the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence, I have a fairly high end gas cookstove, but the btu output on 2 of the burners is only 6,000 each!! And someday my hands shake and my grip is not what it used to be so I am always worried even with what I am using.
I hope you will use your cast iron on it, and any stainless steel cookware that a magnet (refrigerator magnet will work) will adhere to. I was thinking about the All Clad, but thn I read about different cookware sets and they mentioned that the Tramontina Set at a great price is just as food!
However, if you’re looking for one brand as a set, my recommendation would probably be All Clad.
I love my cast iron skillets and dutch oven, but find that they really scratch my new ceramic top stove. It seems I Can’t get sugar and syrup up to 300-deg, which is what I have to reach for Peanut Brittle. There are a lot of sets that do not include boilers small enough for a few eggs to boil, or for heating a can of beans, corn, etc.
I would assume the roaster will probably be fine on the stovetop, however you might want to double check with Scanpan headquarters to make sure.
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It’s easy to get confused with the dizzying amount of cookware choices on the market. Different kinds of metal have different conductivity– in other words, the speed that heat is dispersed through the pan and to your food. Many nice pans are made from stainless steel, so when using them, be sure to keep an eye on what youa€™re cooking so that it doesna€™t burn or scorch.
Be careful not to use any metal utensils or rough sponges on non-stick pans because the coating scratches very easily. It also chemically reacts with some foods, creating a poisonous compound, which explains why you now see pans with a copper core that is lined with another metal, like stainless steel, instead of pans made from pure copper alone. They can be used for cooking a wide variety of food on the stovetop, including, but not limited to: soup, pasta, rice, oatmeal, boiling eggs, and making popcorn. They also have some other interesting and unexpected uses, like baking cornbread or pineapple upside down cake, as they can be used on the stovetop or in the oven.
These styles of pots, also called dutch ovens, are great for cooking hearty meals with a lot of ingredients, like stews, roasts and ragus (think Julia Childa€™s famous boeuf bourguignon). When the water in the bottom pot begins to simmer or boil, the steam rises and heats the upper pot.
I have some Magnalite pans for acidic foods, and non-stick stuff for pasta sauces, and a variety of baking dishes, mostly Pyrex, and a few porcelain covered roasting pans. Also, the Berghoff has a really good price right now on the Internet,etc., but I would really want to buy the best of the best, but if these cheaper prices will do the same, I will take your word for it, and buy a cheaper brand that will give me the same cooking process! It’s the most recommended by chefs, however it does require some special care, so be sure to read the instructions that come with it.

Pans vary in terms of heat conductivity, so you may need to try one from the set you’re thinking about before buying the whole set. They claim it’s the best one because of a variety of reasons, but mostly because of the browning that occurs as well as the quality of the pan. While the simple choice might be to get one complete set of cookware and be done with it, this isn’t always the right (or most economical) choice for a serious home cook.
While copper pans do exist, they are quite pricey and should only be used by cooks who know the benefits and weaknesses of cooking with copper.
It is nice to have a few saucepans in your kitchen; they are user friendly and can cook a wide variety of foods. I prefer frying pans with a nonstick coating, however some nonstick surfaces contain a chemical substance called PFOA. Basic cast-iron is best for cooking things with only a small amount of liquid, while enameled cast iron offers easy clean up. Since both enamel processes are done in China these days, the enamel you are paying for is even more of a waste for cooks. I once had some copper bottom pans in the past, but I really did not care for them much, they do not do so well on electric stoves which are what most people in Florida have to cook on. Also All Clad pans are expensive and tend to be slightly heavy, so if those are concerns you may want to go with another brand like Cuisinart, which is also high quality but less expensive and less heavy. Even though I have some old Magnalite that I still use for making candies, I would prefer the stainless for cooking veggies and rice. Certain pans have strengths and weaknesses, and you may not need an entire set of pans when you consider your own cooking needs.
Once you are clear on the types of cooking you do most, it will be easier to figure out which pots and pans you’ll need in order to get comfortable in your kitchen.
Even though PFOA is considered food safe, I have read a lot about it and have decided that I do not want these chemicals ending up in my food.
IA hope this list will help take some of the stress out of choosing the right cookware for your own kitchen!
I would suggest buying 4 Lodge skillets of varying sizes, that can become heirlooms (I cook on a piece a that is over 100 years old and never seen soap) for what a robin’s egg Le Creuset would cost. Like you said in your article it really depends on the cook and what the cook has available ( i.e. One thing I need to ask u is “do all Stainless Steel – does the food stick to the pans, and how do u clean them everytime u cook!
Stainless steel is easy to clean if you’re using it properly with the right amount of heat, and you are greasing it when needed. On the flip side, if you’re a busy home cook, a simple cookware set may not be enough to stock your kitchen arsenal.
It can be difficult, especially if youa€™re purchasing your first set of cookware, to know exactly what you need. Cast iron is the most useful, and of course very heavy, yet easy to care for if one avoids using any kind of soap on them. Plz answer me ASAP, bcause Christmas is almost here and everyday that passes, my daughter is asking me, if I have made my choice on the Cookware Set, I really want!!! While the enamel does make for easier cleanup, I generally use my Scanpan nonstick pan when cooking something that might stick (though a well-seasoned cast iron will prevent sticking just as well).
I really appreciated this very fine article, thanks again Tori for your wonderful website !!!!
Also, be sure to buy some Bar Keeper’s Friend, which will help you clean the more stubborn stains. I have not suggested a bargain here because I don’t currently stock one in my market, but if I come across one I will definitely add it.

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