Types of Cookware
Cooking delicious meals from scratch takes passion, ambition, skill--and the right gear. With so many different types of cookware out there, it's important to know the basics of how specific materials and pans work, how to clean your cookware, and how to safely store it.
For dishes that require slow, gradual cooking, ceramic cookware is a must. The surface of this material won't react with drastic pH differences, making it the ideal candidate for making foods with acidic ingredients or, alternately, alkaline foods. You can even take it a step further and serve your meal straight from the oven since ceramic can double as serveware just as easily.
Common kitchen accessories made of ceramic include open skillets, sauce pots and casserole dishes.
If you've never owned a ceramic pot, pan or dish before, be careful with cleaning. Wait for the cookware to cool completely before handling it. If any food gets stuck to the surface, let it soak with warm water and dish detergent. Double check that the model you've selected is dishwasher safe before loading it to your machine. Plastic cleaning materials like scrubs are safe to use on ceramic.
Storage tip: keep your ceramic cookware away from other cookware. Contact between two different ceramic pans or dishes can impair the integrity of the material, so it's good practice to keep individual cookware separate.
Induction heating differs from the common stove because it doesn't use direct flame or fire to heat. Instead, induction-safe cookware relies on another kind of technology--it transfers magnetic energy. As the cookware heats up, so too does your food. It's an efficient and rapid-fire way to make a meal and also boasts many benefits including energy-saving properties.
Cooking via induction is only possible with cookware that contains magnetic elements, such as some made of stainless steel. The pros are pretty fantastic, too: cleaning made easy because induction cooking doesn't result in sticky food or burned residue. Also, the cooking surface stays cool throughout so it's very safe to move around.
Storing induction cookware is very straightforward. Keep your pans and pots stored in dry, cool environments and make certain they're clean before putting them away.
Like induction cookware, non-stick cookware isn't a distinct material altogether. Cookware with non-stick properties comes in many materials that standard cookware is made of. So, how's it different? The top layer is a coating that greatly reduces residual sticking to pans, pots and dishes.
Non-stick cookware brings with it a lot of interesting benefits, like the fact you won't need to coat the surface with as much oil or butter to avoid having food stick. This comes in handy when cooking low fat meals.
Non-stick cookware is great for a variety of food, including eggs and cheese. Cleanup is hassle-free with soft sponges and regular dish detergent. Remember to never scrub non-stick cookware with steel wool or other abrasive materials because it'll scratch the protective non-stick coat off.
After you're done using it, you can store your non-stick cookware with your other pots, pans and dishes.
Although pricier than its counterparts, copper cookware is magical. Aside from the stunning color which adds real decorative value to your kitchen, copper cookware is also a phenomenal conductor. Cooking with a copper pan is an entirely different experience than using most other materials because of how efficient copper is at retaining and distributing heat. This allows for a thorough, even cook.
Copper cookware is good for both the stovetop and the oven, affording you a wide variety of cooking possibilities. Great for both sweets and salty food alike, you can use copper pans and pots to make jams, desserts and most regular meals.
When it comes to caring for your copper cookware, be mindful of the fact that you'll need to polish it frequently. Keep abrasive cleaning utensils like steel wool or harmful chemicals away, opting instead to clean with dish detergent and plastic brushes.
For storage, always keep your copper cookware in areas with low humidity. Copper is very reactive and tarnishes easily if you don't take the necessary precautions to safeguard your cookware.