You are probably thinking of purchasing pans, and that is why you are reading this. Or you probably want to equip yourself with knowledge about these materials.
Well, you are in the right place. If you have ever waltzed into Target or Walmart and bought the first pot and pan you saw chillin’ on the shelf, you might have regretted after or counted yourself lucky (which rarely happens).
Being casual while shopping for cookware is a huge no. This is because purchasing the wrong kind of cookware can end up in disaster. You have also maybe asked yourself why a particular pan is more expensive than the other or why most chefs most recommend a specific one.
Before getting new cookware, especially pans, there are a few decisions to make, like what kind of material you should be cooking with and why.
Why do I need to know what my pans are made of?
- To help you know what kind of cookware would fit your budget.
- It will help you understand how to clean and maintain it.
- It will help you to understand the cookware better. You probably thought you were a lousy cook, but it just might be that the pan does not distribute heat evenly.
Below we will look at the pros and cons of each pan material to help you with knowing what would be most preferable for you.
- Ceramic pots and pans are not entirely made of ceramic. They instead, feature a ceramic coating bonded to the rest of the cookware’s construction. The layer provides a non-stick coating that eliminates the need to use cooking sprays which are considered unhealthy, butter or oil to prevent foods from sticking.
- The ceramic material is non-toxic and safe under high heat and even when damaged. The coating applied to the ceramic pot and pans provides a simple non-toxic solution.
- They are also easy to clean like any other non-stick pans and usually requires a bit of mild dishwashing soap warm water and the wipe of a paper towel or cloth.
- It has less efficient heat distribution because of the non-stick surface that’s from a nano-particle-sized ceramic coating on the surface of the pan. The irregularity of these particles increases the pan’s little surface area, making it rough and thus leaving areas where the food cannot stick. This leads to food not receiving any heat, so food takes longer to cook. It also cooks unevenly.
- The lifespan of ceramic cookware is quite short-lived when compared to others such as stainless steel and cast-iron skillets. Remember the nano-particles? They are also responsible for the lack of durability. The rough surface increases friction on the pan leading to quicker and easier wear and tear on the surface.
- They are also not high-heat safe despite them not leaching any toxic chemicals when exposed to high heat. The high temperatures just quickly damage the cookware’s sensitive surface coating and hence is quite limited.
Copper is quite a good investment on cookware! It is famed for its ability to conduct heat and electricity which are excellent features for a cookware material. It makes some of the most beautiful cookware that you can have in your kitchen.
- Copper gives you excellent control over temperature when cooking in that it offers superior heat conductivity. This s the speed at which a material heats and cools. It reacts quite highly to turning the stovetop heat up or down, and the unrivalled control allows you to braise and brown foods to perfection, sauté with ease and frying too.
- It does not produce hot spots, unlike ceramic cookware which does not cook evenly. We owe it up to copper’s excellent thermal conductivity.
- It is also not too heavy to lift. When people want to purchase cookware, thicker always seems to e the better option. Copper is that best option if you do not wish to heavy cookware but still want to retain the quality.
- It requires to be polished regularly to retain that shine which may require elbow grease. Even though it is not a must and that they can still work polished or tarnished, the cookware may sometimes be unlined in which case you will need to remove any green cast before cooking lest those minerals interfere with the taste of the food.
- Most cookware is not compatible with induction cooktops which rely on an electromagnetic field to vibrate the atoms in your cookware. This creates heat through molecular friction but requires a magnetic metal to work.
- It is also reactive with alkaline or acidic foods which can take on a metallic taste after being cooked or prepared in a copper pot. Light-coloured foods like eggs can also develop grey streaks when they pick up the copper compounds, which mean you will ingest small amounts of copper.
- This type of cookware has an excellent thermal conductivity
- Aluminium Cookware is lightweight
- It is very affordable
- Raw aluminium is highly reactive to alkaline and acidic foods.
- It is very soft and tends to warp in high heat and scratch easily that may lead to health issues.
A better option to this would be anodized aluminium which is treated by an electrochemical process that hardens it soling the problem with raw aluminium. Despite it taking longer to heat p than other materials, it is an excellent heat conductor scratch-resistant and lightweight but durable.
Raw cast iron is preferred for skillets, but enamelled cast iron has all the benefits of cast iron without the extra trouble making it an excellent material for dutch ovens. It is non-reactive, easy to clean and beautiful.
- Is durable
- Naturally non-stick if correctly seasoned
- Distributes heat evenly ad retains heat well
- It is also reactive and does not take well to acidic foods.
- Cast Iron is quite heavy and takes time to heat up
- The cookware also takes more effort to clean and maintain
- Unlike other materials, they are non-reactive meaning you can cook any food in it.
- It is dense and durable.
- Some are inexpensive.
- They are dishwasher safe.
- The basic ones have poor heat transfer and distribution.
The heat problem can be solved by buying better quality but higher-priced stainless-steel cookware with an added inner core made of copper or aluminium, which improves the heat conductivity. It may be on the higher side but is worth it.