The saucepans and frying pans we place on the stove and the casserole dishes we put in the oven are collectively known as cookware and generally sold as sets. While can choose to purchase each of these items individually, it will generally be more cost-effective to buy a matching collection. Before you grab your credit card and rush off to your local supermarket, however, there are a couple of points to consider before you make your purchase.
The vast number of brands and the diversity of their products have done little to simplify the task, so the best approach will be to focus on your individual needs with the emphasis on the four main areas:
As is the case with most purchases, you are only likely to get the level of quality you are prepared to pay for. As such, when choosing cookware sets, the best plan will be to buy the very best you can afford.
Different Hobs for Different Steel
In the case of gas, any type of pan should work fine. However, solid hot plates and ceramic tops will need pans that have a flat base. While this will also be necessary if you happen to own an induction hob, because its heat is generated by a magnetic induction coil, the material from which your chosen cookware set is constructed will be even more important. Cast Iron and stainless steel will be perfect but, unless they are bonded, aluminium or copper pans will simply fail to heat up at all. Halogen hobs can also pose problems. They need pans with thick bases which should not be shiny as they could reflect light and cause the halogen lamps to switch off.
Cleaning Your Cookware
You will obviously want your new pans to retain their good looks for as long as possible, so they must not only be sufficiently durable to stand up to the cooking conditions but also the cleaning process. Here again, stainless steel is an obvious choice, but cast iron with an enamel coating is also highly durable, not to mention the fact that it’s a wonderfully colourful option for cookware sets.
While you might want to consider purchasing aluminium pans because they are lightweight, the metal does have a tendency to react with acidic foods such as tomato, which can affect its taste. In the case of spinach, it can also tend to turn black when cooked in an aluminium saucepan.
How much trouble will it be to keep your cookware set looking good? Although a row of copper pans may make an impressive display on your kitchen wall, it takes a lot of effort to keep them bright and shiny, whereas stainless steel cookware sets require very little.
In practice, there is little doubt that stainless steel and cast iron are the overall winners in terms of the above criteria. Some cooks may be concerned that the latter might be heavy in comparison to its platinum, deluxe and budget stainless steel products, but this needn’t be the case. Snappy Chef also offers superlight cast iron cookware sets that cook as good as they look. Click here to see what we have to offer.