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Cookware Materials

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Cookware Materials

Cookware Materials The material you choose for your cookware can make a very big difference. Every material conducts heat differently. The rate at which a material conducts heat not only determines how long it will take to cook your food, but also how the food will actually taste. Our current selection of cookware offers you options such as the basic stainless steel cookware alternatives that are great for the budget, to more premium materials such as aluminum and copper cookware. These premium materials will not only enrich the flavor of your food and save you time preparing your meals, but they're also a stylish and elegant addition to your kitchen decor!

Aluminum : Aluminum is the best heat conductor next to copper. It is widely used in cookware because of its advantages of great conductivity, lower cost and great strength. Aluminum is a lightweight metal with very good thermal conductance and resistance to rust and many forms of corrosion. It can, however, react with some acidic foods, changing the taste. Sauces containing egg yolks or some vegetables may cause oxidation of non-anodized aluminum cookware. Aluminum is generally used as a core heat conductor and is covered with a stainless steel or an anodized coating to protect the food.

Cast Iron Cookware : The major advantage of cast iron is its capability to retain and evenly distribute heat. This cookware material is excellent for browning, frying and baking various foods. Another beauty of cast iron cookware is it can be used on top of the stove and in the oven. Similar to other cookware materials, cast iron also reacts with foods and can absorb the flavors of what was cooked in it unless the cookware is seasoned. Usually raw cast iron pans are seasoned before they are first used.
Another type of cast iron is enameled cast iron cookware. Enameled cast iron has a hard porcelain enamel coating that provides a permanent finish to prevent the cast iron from reacting with food. It also comes in many colors and doesn't require seasoning.

Ceramic : Glazed ceramics, such as porcelain, provide a nonstick cooking surface. Unglazed ceramics, such as terra cotta, have a porous surface that can hold water or other liquids during the cooking process, adding moisture in the form of steam to the food. Particular care must be taken when cooking in unglazed ceramic cookware to ensure that the clay does not contain lead. Used as stovetop cookware or bake ware, these surfaces are fairly resistant to sticking from food. Their operable temperature range may not be as high as metals and their heating properties vary. Ceramic cookware can be relatively inexpensive and is very easy to maintain. They are generally neutral and do not react to foods in a way that might alter the flavor. They may, however, be prone to breakage. Most ceramic cookware can be used in both regular and microwave ovens. This offers greater flexibility as metal pans should not be used in a microwave oven.

Copper : Copper is the best conductor of heat, especially for top-of-range cooking where the food must be cooked at precisely controlled temperatures. Copper cookware has about ten times the heat conductivity of stainless steel and glass and twice that of aluminum. It transmits heat evenly with great response, this makes it best for such high-heat, fast-cooking techniques such as sauteing and frying. Copper cookware, however, tends to react with foods. To prevent this most copper pans are lined with tin or stainless steel. A majority of copper pans today are lined with stainless steel rather than tin because it will last much longer. Copper cookware should not be placed in the dishwasher nor left to air dry as this causes spotting and they will have to be polished more frequently.

Glass : Used as stovetop cookware or bake ware, glass surfaces are fairly resistant to sticking from food. Their operable temperature range may not be as high as metals and their heating properties vary but they can be relatively inexpensive and very easy to maintain. They are neutral and do not react to foods in a way that might alter the flavor. They may, however, be prone to breakage. Most glass cookware can be used in both regular and microwave ovens offering greater flexibility to the cooker. Some are even made to be used for stovetops but care must be taken to prevent them from directly coming in contact with electric elements or with excessive heat by using a metal trivet or diffuser. Glass may conduct heat well but it does not distribute evenly. The advantages are that it works well for most oven cooking, it does not react with acidic foods, all foods can be safely stored in it and there are no adverse health effects from cooking in it.

Hard Anodized Aluminum : Anodizing is one of the oldest and most reliable ways of protecting aluminum. It is anodized for corrosion resistance, abrasion resistance, and stick-resistance and esthetic reasons. This special coating has been added to the aluminum to help make it reduce the effects that regular aluminum cookware might have on certain foods. It is a good choice of material for most any type of cooking. Pots and pans made from anodized aluminum are not dishwasher safe and can be dark in color making it hard to see slight color changes in the food being cooked. Also, when washing by hand, it's generally advised not to use corrosive detergents or scrubbing tools as that will likely damage the anodized finish. Anodized aluminum has had the naturally occurring layer of aluminum oxide thickened by an electrolytic process to create a surface that is hard and non-reactive. It is used for saute pans, stockpots, roasters, and Dutch ovens.

Non Stick : The advantages of nonstick cookware include ease of cleaning and when cooking the food requires less fat. These surfaces are excellent for frying or grilling foods. Modern metal cookware is frequently coated with a nonstick substance in order to reduce the possibility of food sticking to the pan surface. Nonstick pans should not be used at high temperatures though. The result is less food being burnt. In order to preserve the nonstick coating on a pan, it is important to never use metal implements in the pan while cooking nor use harsh scouring pads or chemical abrasives when cleaning. The fundamental thing to realize is that these nonstick surfaces are coatings. They have little influence over the cooking efficiency of the material. While these surfaces are very durable, they are subject to wear and tear.

Stainless Steel : Stainless steel cookware is easy to care for, exceptionally durable and light, it won't corrode or tarnish and its nonporous surface is resistant to wear. It also doesn't react with either alkaline or acidic foods. The drawbacks to stainless steel are that it is a poor conductor of heat and does not distribute heat evenly. Quality stainless steel cookware will usually have heavy bottoms with a core of copper or aluminum sandwiched between layers of steel. Stainless steel is an iron alloy containing a minimum of 11.5% chromium. Blends containing 18% chromium with either 8% nickel, called 18/8, or with 10% nickel, called 18/10, are commonly used for kitchen equipment. Stainless steel cookware is very popular because of its moderate price and its versatility.