Having the right cookware for your kitchen is one of the greatest investments you can make for your new kitchen or remodel. The right cooking kitchenware is a mood booster that will lighten up the moments you spend in your kitchen. The number of people you will be cooking for and your level of expertise.
THE FOUR MAJOR PIECES OF COOKWARE
The four major pieces of cookware are the stockpot, the frying pan, the sauté pan, the saucepan. Let’s look at the four basic types of cookware for any beginner
THE STOCK POT
This is a large, and deep pot with a flat bottom. The Stock Pot is used to cook liquid foods that do not need to be extremely close to the heat source. Stockpots let you sauté or brown, and then add liquids when making stocks, soups, or stews. They are great for cooking pasta by submerging it underwater. Stockpots come in a variety of sizes for variations in the numbers and amounts of food one may prepare
THE FRY PAN / SKILLET
A frying pan or Skillet is a must-have for all kitchens. They are great for everyday cooking from making your eggs to Flipping omelettes, and stir-frying. They are great when searing. Fry pans are designed with a flat bottom and curved sides; this makes them perfect for turning foods over or simmering food with oils. Frypans and skillets come in a variety of sizes to cater for variations in preferences.
Cast Iron Skillets are similar to fry pans but made out of a thick and heavy cast iron material. A pre-seasoned cast iron skillet is similar to a nonstick fry pan, while one that is not pre-seasoned cast iron skillet is similar to a stick fry pan
THE SAUTÉ PAN
The purpose of a sauté pan is sautéing this is the ability cook food while moving it around quickly while covered with a lid. Sauté pans have a flat bottom like the frying pan and straight sides, unlike the frypan which has rounded sides. Sauté pans are deeper than fry pans and can be used for multiple tasks like making sauces, deep-frying, searing other than sautéing.
THE SAUCE PAN
The Sauce Pan is the most common cookware in most homes and families. It has a rounded bottom with tall and straight sides. They are very versatile and can be used for cooking many foods, sauces and soups. This means that they are a very versatile cookware choice, and can be used when making all kinds of sauces and soups. A saucepan may have a lid or not. they also come in a variety of sizes to cater for the changes in amounts of food often cooked.
THE BRAISER PAN
These are large flat bottomed pans with a moisture-locking lid. A braiser pan can be used to brown food on the stovetop or slow-cook food in the oven. Some it can also be placed and served from the dining table.
A Wok is an all-purpose pan originating from Asia made of carbon steel. They have high sloping sides and a small rounded bottom. One cooks while moving ingredients around the wok from the hot bottom to the cooler sides. They are often used for stir-frying, steaming, and deep-frying.
THE PRESSURE COOKER
Pressure Cookers are used for cooking tough foods that often take a long cook. They have lids that completely seal the pot, while the liquid is boiling inside leading to Steam which then builds up pressure in the cooker. This leads to higher cooking temperatures and shorter cooking times
Cookware sets are made up of different cookware pans of a similar design. Buying cookware in bundles is a great way to save money to acquire matching designs of cookware for your kitchen. Cookware Sets range from 10-18 pieces, with different variations in each set.
COMMON COOKWARE MATERIALS
Cookware is made out of different materials, each material will have its advantages and disadvantage. Knowledge of the material used in making kitchen cookware will help you to make a better choice when choosing the best cookware for your kitchen.
Aluminium is the most common kind of material that you will find in cookware. Aluminium is a good heat conductor with well-aligned heat distribution throughout the cooking ware. Aluminium cookware is slightly cheaper and easy to find compared to other cookware materials.
The biggest disadvantage of aluminium is that it is untreated meaning it easily reacts with food and easily stains. Nonstick aluminium is advised for use because they are coated with a nonstick layer that prevents the cooking pan from rerating with food.
This material is similar to cast iron but it is much lighter. Carbon steel is commonly used in the manufacture of expensive cookware. It is used for making Woks and Stir-Fry Pans.
Cast iron cookware material is extremely thick and heavy-duty. Due to its thickness, it usually takes longer to heat up compared to other materials. But it retains and distributes heat evenly once it heats up. Cast irons make great coo wares for browning, braising, stewing, slow cooking and baking
The disadvantage of cast irons is that they totally don’t have any friendly relationship with water. They should never be soaked in water or fail to dry after washing. Cast irons material rusts the moment it is exposed to water for long periods of time.
HOW TO CLEAN AND MAINTAIN CAST IRON COOKWARE.
Pour a half cup of kosher salt onto the skillet. Rub it with a paper towel to remove dust or impurities. Then, wash the cookware with hot soapy water, and dry it immediately.
TYPES OF CAST IRON
- BARE CAST IRON is seasoned with a nonstick surface that lasts forever. It is best cleaned by wiping with a cloth.
- ENAMEL-COATED CAST IRON is seasoned and coated with a temporary enamel coating which requires less coating. It is however a temporary coasting as some acidic foods react with it and stripe off the coating.
Ceramic cookware is mostly found in the form of casserole dishes. It is a good insulator and hence used for simmering food at a constant temperature. Ceramic cookware is fragile and should be handled with great care. It exists in these categories: Porcelain, Stoneware and Earthenware.
Stainless steel is a lightweight, durable and easy to clean cookware material. Its disadvantage is that it is a poor conductor of heat and does not distribute heat evenly. It has a smooth surface that is easy to clean.