Choosing new cookware can seem like an easy process, but that is often only true for people who have not been to a local kitchen supply store since they bought their previous set. Modern cookware offered by kitchen supply and department stores differs widely in terms of materials, styles, durability, and storability. Before investing a large amount of money in a set of new cookware, it is profitable to do some comparative searches at different types of brands.
Most people’s top priorities when buying cookware are cost, quality, and material. After that, artistic, or the way things look, become important, although external, factor.
In the world of cookware, the adage says; you often get what you pay for. Nevertheless, even those on a conservative budget can still find great quality cookware at a fair price, which also happens to look good.
Keep in mind that in the same way that you should not judge a book by its cover, you should not choose cookware based mainly on looks.
Yes, I like shiny, new objects as much as most people, but pots and pans are tools and they serve specialized purposes. It is far more beneficial to have functional cookware than something that just looks beautiful. Do not get it wrong, having a matching 10-piece set of pots and pans is great but who cares if your salmon filet glues to the bottom of the sauté pan?
Here are the things I consider when shopping for pots and pans for my kitchen
Number of pieces
You have to consider the number of pots and pans you need in your kitchen. It is recommended to have at least an 8 – inch frying pan for quick, small tasks like pancakes and eggs; a 10-inch fry pan for cooking larger dishes or for family sizes; a stockpot for pasta and soup; and a small saucepan for quick, easy tasks, deep enough to boil an egg, good for reheating and simmering.
The first thing you need to consider when buying cookware is the type of material it’s made of since it affects both the price and the performance. While there are some cookware pieces made from clay or stovetop-safe ceramic materials, those tend to be specialty items rather than everyday cookware. Most cookware is made from different types of metal, like stainless steel, aluminum, and copper. Though some cookware is made entirely from one type of metal, it is not rare to find cookware made from two or more materials. Here are different types of cookware materials.
The type of material the cookware is made from will determine the way it is maintained. Some materials are more difficult to care for than others, so while you might be able to put some pieces in the dishwasher, others will need to be hand-washed. When it comes to considering cookware performance, some metals react differently when heated. From copper, which is extremely responsive, to cast iron that holds heat very well, each metal has its unique heating capacity.
Size always makes a big impact, when it comes to buying cookware sets. A small frying pan is perfect for cooking one or two eggs, while a big pot is exactly what you need for cooking great batches of soup. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to the perfect size for a piece of cookware. It just relies on how many people you are going to cook for and how much you want to make at a time. While some might choose small cookware for individual meals, others might love large cookware, so they can cook in advance and store meals in the refrigerator.
It is good to consider how cookware feels in your hand. It is important. You want to feel safe and be in control when cooking. Some cookware has silicone-wrapped handles which usually stay cooler to the touch and feel safer in the hand than metal handles. For easy moving of cookware, look for helper handles. It is an extra handle on the opposite side of the major one which helps lift to make more balance.
When you buy a cookware set, it is usual for there to be more pots than lids, since it’s likely that some lids will be substitutable. When you are buying cookware one piece at a time, it is fine to get a lid, but if you have other cookware, you may already have a lid that will fit very well. Lids are often made from the same material as the pot, so they can resist the same heat. Some lids are made from glass, which means you can see the food without removing the lid, but they may not be able to handle high oven temperature.
You need to consider the coating of the cookware. Nonstick interior coated cookware stops your eggs from sticking and makes cleaning easier, while uncoated cookware tends to be better for boiling meats and for managing high heat on the stove and in the oven. Some cookware has an external coating, which is likely to be more decorative than serving a purpose. Though anodizing is not technically a coating, it creates a hard external surface on aluminum cookware that looks appealing and withstand stains and rust. Cast iron cookware often has an enameled coating so it does not need food flavor the way that uncoated cast iron does. Coated cast iron can withstand corrosion and can manage acidic foods with ease. The disadvantage of any coating is that it can be damaged, which can make the cookware to become useless.
Oven and dishwasher safety
Oven safety is useful for a variety of dishes since it allows you to move your cookware from the cooktop to the oven to finish cooking or keep warm. Dishwasher-safe cookware saves you time and energy, you can just pop it into the dishwasher instead of hand-washing. Know that hard anodized cookware will stand up to multiple washes, while other coated cookware can fade faster with constant washing.
There are huge different pots in different shapes, often for definite uses, like grill pans or roasting pans. Generally, wide, less deep pans are perfect for cooking foods where evaporation is wanted. Let’s take, for example, a less deep pot is ideal for reducing sauces. Tall, narrow pots are perfect when the goal is to limit the evaporation of liquid, like when you are cooking pasta.
In many kitchens, storage space is a problem and a cookware set can take up a lot of that worthy space. Cookware sets that can nest will save cabinet or closet space, but you will need to collect the whole set to pick the one piece you want. And while large woks, stockpots, and very large frying pans can be useful, that cookware might not fit in a cabinet.
When buying a cookware set consider its weight. A lightweight cookware set is too fragile and heated very fast. so, make sure the cookware has some weight. Hefty weight cookware permits you to get a good sear but may be hard to lift.