Pros And Cons Of Common Cookware Materials
When you’re cooking, you need to use the best cookware for the job. Different materials yield different results, so understanding the best use for pots and pans will make sure your food comes out great. Here’s a quick overview of different types of cookware, and the advantages and drawbacks of each. As you work through your culinary chef courses, you can use this information to experiment with a variety of materials and find out what you like best.
Copper cookware is common in kitchens because of its excellent ability to distribute heat and its professional look. Commonly used for French cuisine, copper cookware has a reputation for elegance and quality. Because copper is so conductive, it heats up quickly and cuts down on cooking time. However, there are drawbacks. Copper is very reactive to acidic foods, which limits what can be cooked with it. These reactions can cause foods to taste metallic, and in some cases, can actually make the cooked food slightly toxic. It’s also very heavy, and since copper is relatively malleable, easily collects dents and scratches.
These durable pans are affordable and can last an incredibly long time. They also increase the iron content of the foods cooked within them, which can help people who don’t have enough iron in their diet. Unfortunately, they take a long time to heat up, and, like copper, are pretty heavy. Another possible disadvantage of cast-iron is that they’re high maintenance. As soon as the pan is cool enough for you to touch it, you have to rinse it with hot water and clean it using a sponge. This means if you’re making your own food, you may need to cut your meal short or get up in the middle of eating to take care of your pots and pans.
Lightweight and inexpensive, aluminum cookware has a lot of appeal right out of the gate. It’s fairly conductive, so it heats quickly and evenly. However, it suffers from the same problem as copper when it comes to reactivity. Acidic foods cooked in aluminum will come out with an odd taste. Usually, the interiors of aluminum pots and pans are coated with another material, but the coating can wear away over time. Aluminum pans are also prone to warping, and because of this, they’re not recommended for people using flat-top stoves.
Stainless steel is durable and nonreactive, so it’s not going to make your food taste like metal. It also has a bright, clean look that requires a low level of maintenance. Unfortunately, it’s not nearly as conductive as other forms of cookware, and distributes heat poorly. To make up for this, many stainless steel pots and pans have a base or core made of copper or aluminum. This increases the cookware’s heating ability, along with its price. Stainless steel is also likely to cling to food and can require serous scrubbing to clean.