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Aluminum nonstick pans are great conductors of heat, so food cooks quickly and uniformly. However, aluminum also reacts to acidic foods, like wine or tomato sauce, and it is a soft metal so it tends to scratch easily and sometimes warps or pits. So look for the word “anodized” when choosing aluminum nonstick cookware. It is an electromagnetc process that toughens the surface of aluminum pots until it's harder than stainless steel – and makes it nonreactive.
If you're on a quest for nonstick pots and pans, but arelimited by an ultra-tight budget, check out Farberware. Made of aluminum, which is second only to copper as the best conductor of heat, Farberware nonstick cookware warms through the bottom and sides to cook food evenly. It features sturdy riveted phenolic handles that remain cool while cooking, along with see-through glass lids to check progress as dinner bubbles on the stove. A 10-piece set is typically priced at well under $100, making it an ideal pick for college students or young couples just starting out.
If you're an Emeril Lagasse fan, check out Emerilware nonstick cookware. The Food Network phenomenon, chef and cookbook author collaborated with the world-renowned All-Clad brand to construct nonstick hard-anodized aluminum pots and pans. His input resulted in a "f lared lip" design which makes pouring a breeze. The cookware features cast stainless handles and glass lids that fit snugly on top. The line features a triple-layered nonstick coating that is exclusive to Emerilware. It is priced reasonably so that all Emeril enthusiasts can afford to “kick their cooking up a notch.”
Though many advances have been made in recent years, nonstick frying pans are not generally known for their browning capabilities. When making scrambled eggs, this is actually a good thing, since it enables them to retain their sunny, yellow color. With other types of pans, scrambled eggs can become brown and crusty. Nonstick coatings also make it easier to move eggs around and allow you to minimize the use of oil or butter -- adding them only for flavor enhancement -- rather than in an effort to prevent sticking.
If you've narrowed your nonstick cookware specifications down to a set that is hard-anodized, consider this: Cuisinart nonstick cookware offers a rendition within its Chef's Classic series. Long known for its hard-to-resist combination of both quality and value, Cuisinart creates nonstick pans that stand the test of time. Even sticky glazes slide right out of these pots and pans, no matter how frequent your use. A QuanTanium nonstick coating on the interior also contributes resilience.
If you want your pots and pans to look as good they perform, consider Calphalon Contemporary nonstick cookware. With their sleek lines and graceful curved silhouettes, these are pots and pans you won't want to hide in the kitchen. They can be used as serving
pieces at the dinner table. Calphalon Contemporary nonstick cookware is functional, too. Many of the pieces feature two stay-cool
looped handles so they can easily go straight from the stovetop to the oven. Constructed from heavy-gauge hard-anodized aluminum, these nonstick pots and pans heat food uniformly, sear quickly and brown beautifully. Thanks to an exclusive nonstick coating, they maintain their food-release qualities over time and are so durable, they come with a lifetime guarantee.
If you do a lot of low-fat cooking, you need nonstick pots and pans you can really put through their paces. Think about investing in hard-anodized nonstick cookware, which offers tremendous durability. When compared with the same nonstick coating on an aluminum pot, a hard-anodized pot will release food three times easier. The extreme strength of a hard-anodized surface -- which is twice as tough as stainless steel -- protects the nonstick coating and prevents the usual wear and tear that occurs with nonstick cookware made from aluminum. To clean hard-anodized nonstick pots and pans and ensure their finish lasts even longer, try specially-formulated hard-anodized cookware cleaner.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|