Getting the best possible cookware for your kitchen is usually not a walk in the park. You have to choose from a variety ranging from copper, aluminium and even clay.
Below is a little research you can arm yourself with when facing the mammoth of making the most suitable choice of cookware.
Why cooking pots are made of metal
There are various reasons why cooking pots are made of metal.
Firstly, metals are good conductors of heat thereby ensuring food is evenly cooked.
Secondly, their durability is never in question considering the number of times we clumsily drop utensils.
Thirdly, cooking pots made of metals are not harmful to our health since they are not reactive when exposed to high temperatures.
When you compare them to their plastic counterparts which when exposed to high temperatures produce carbon monoxide that have very adverse effects on our health.
Finally, their high melting point ensures that our food cooks relatively fast.
Why are cooking pots and pans often made of metal bottoms and wooden handles?
Due to the fact that the metallic properties of cooking pots and pans have a major advantage of being good conductors of heat, a wooden handle is a necessity.
Wooden handles have an ability to stay cool for a long time therefore there is no risk of getting burnt when flipping the pan over or when removing a cooking pot from the stove.
Why do cooking pots have copper bottoms?
When you check most cooking pots you will find that they have copper bottoms.
There are a few reasons to support this choice.
The first reason is copper is a better conductor of heat compared to most metals for example steel and consequently cooks food faster and evenly comparatively.
Secondly, copper does not react with water and fort this reason are corrosion resistant.
Common metals used for pots and pans.
There are different types of metals used for cookware such as copper, aluminium, stainless steel, cast iron and carbon steel.
The two most commercialized are aluminium and stainless but it is recommended to know all of them in order to widen your scope of choices and preferences.
When it comes to choosing the suitable metal there are a few major factors to consider
- Heat conductivity, which determines how the metal conducts heat and how it loses the heat.
- It’s reactivity with food, which determines how well it is going to be suitable when cooking some foods compared to others.
- Maintenance is also another factor to check one considering how many times we mishandle utensils in the kitchen.
Below is a comprehensive guide on their pros and cons for you to assist you in your decision making.
Copper is the best conductor of heat compared to most cookware made of metals therefore it ensures food cooks evenly.
Their high responsiveness to heat makes it widely popular in the cooking industry.
It also adds a touch of aesthetics to your kitchen especially when polished. However, they have a disadvantage in that it reacts with the acids and natural minerals in food.
Therefore, it requires to be lined with non-reactive metal such as stainless steel to act as a protective coating.
This brings about another disadvantage in that it is quite expensive compared to the other types of cookware made of metal.
Despite the fact that its responsiveness poses as a disadvantage when cooking other types of food, this is not the case when it comes to cooking foods with high sugar content.
This is because sugar prevents reaction with the metal
Aluminium is second only to copper in conducting heat and also effectively distributing heat across the cooking surface.
It also suffers the same drawback of copper whereby it reacts with the acids and minerals present in food for example in tomatoes or lemons.
To combat this the manufactures line, them with a non-stick coating or use anodization. Anodization is the process of increasing thickness of the aluminium making it harder.
On the bright side it is cheaper and lightweight compared to copper.
Stainless steel has many advantages, it is more durable than aluminium, non-reactive, quite aesthetic and cheap compared to aluminium.
However, it is a poor conductor of heat compared to copper therefore most of them are lined with copper or aluminium core to work around this disadvantage.
The ones lined with copper tend to be more expensive compared to the aluminium coated ones.
Additionally, it is hard to clean especially when your stainless steel is not of the highest quality.
This is regarded as one of the most reliable cookware in the list since it is inexpensive. It can handle high heat and retains heat very well.
The older versions of cast iron cookware required seasoning to protect it from rusting and also to add a non-stick layer.
The newer versions come with preseason coatings as seen in the enamelled cast iron.
The latter are cheaper, easy to maintain and are entirely non-reactive compared to their predecessors.
They also boast of having the most variety of attractive colours to add that sense of brightness to your kitchen.
The older version is rather heavy and can rust when soaked in water for long periods and they are also hard to maintain since they can chip or crack easily.
Carbon steel has a high conductivity property only after aluminium.
It resembles the durability as cast iron but it is slimmer in nature. They both require seasoning to ensure that they do not rust and they develop a non-stick layer at a later time after constant use.
It is majorly used as a combination in enamelled cookware that are emerging.
They are expensive compared to cast iron and also lighter comparted to them. It is not suitable for cooking acidic foods since they are reactive.
In conclusion, different cookware materials have their advantages and disadvantages.
The only solution is to choose an appropriate cooking material that works best for you and is suitable for your preferred food choices.