Cookware Sets Tips

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What are the benefits of glass cookware? Is glass cookware for me?

Cookware Materials: Choose Glass Cookware If You Love the Look

Glass cookware is fun to watch when boiling vegetables, even though everybody knows a watched pot never boils! Still, few can resist peeking through glass lids, so it's great that many manufacturers create cookware sets featuring glass lids no matter what the rest of the cookware is made of. Usually, you can find small glass cookware sets that include a large pasta pot and a smaller vegetable pot, a glass double boiler, a large glass dutch oven for one-pot dinners and an assortment of glass baking dishes.

Benefits of glass cookware:

• You can watch your progress as you cook.

• Most pots and pans, including the handles, are all glass so they can go easily from stove-top to oven to table.

• Glass pots and pans are beautiful accessories to add to your other cookware.

Glass cookware is for cooks who:

• Like to collect a lot of different pieces of cookware.

• Are careful cooks who always have a pot-holder handy. Glass handles get extremely hot!

• Like to cook and serve all in the same vessel.

• Are careful with utensils. Metal utensils and scrubbers will scratch glass surfaces.

What are the benefits of enamel cookware? Is enamel cookware for me?

Cooking Materials: Choose Enameled Cast Iron for Ethnic Quality and Ageless Beauty

Remember the look of those old red Spanish stew pots or paella pots? Now you can get entire cookware sets, in a variety of fun kitchen colors, including red! It's still the same heavy cookware, although long ago it might have been earthenware. Now it's cast iron with a state-of-the-art coating of beautiful, durable, colorful enamel. This way you get all the cooking benefits of cast iron without the care problems of seasoning and rusting. Plus, you get a heavy, tight-fitting set of lids to seal in flavors and steam while cooking on lower temperatures.

Benefits of enamel cookware:

• Beauty. This is a timeless kitchen look you can match to many color schemes.

• Heavy cast-iron reduces cooking temperatures so there is little or no-stick.

• Retains heat longer while serving food, so food stays warm.

• Cookware can go from stove to oven.

Enamel cookware is great for cooks who:

• Love age-old cooking techniques.

• Have time to be careful with the enamel finish. Care needs to be taken upon washing so cookware is not banged or dropped.

• Can lift heavy cookware with one hand.

• Love to decorate with their cookware.

What are the benefits of waterless cookware? Is waterless cookware for me?

Special Cookware Sets: Waterless Cookware for Healthier Cooking and Eating

Did you ever wonder what's in the green water that's left over after you boil or steam broccoli? It's all the nutrients that have leached out of the vegetable. If you're concerned about keeping the nutrients in your food, instead of tossing them down the drain, then waterless cooking might be for you. It's a whole different cooking technique and each waterless cookware set requires you to follow the manufacturer's directions to achieve the best results. With waterless cookware sets, you add all the ingredients, a specified tiny amount of water, then the pot tells you what to do. The heat never goes above medium and most of the cooking is done on a low heat simmer so food never burns! Plus, most sets are made from easy-care stainless steel. Some waterless cookware sets are made from 304 surgical stainless steel which is the shiniest, toughest stainless steel there is in cookware.

Benefits of waterless cookware:

*Keeps nutrients in the food!

*Easy clean up

*The actual cooking is almost on auto-pilot, so there's no burnt messes.

Waterless cookware is great for cooks who:

• Are more concerned about nutrition than cooking

• Don't like to labor over hot pots and pans.

• Like easy clean up.

• Have fun trying new techniques.

• Have enough space for extra pans and pans

What pieces are included in a cookware set?

The Basic Pieces in a Cookware Set

Any cookware set will always include the basics. These are the essential pots and pans you need on a daily basis to cook most meals. Larger c ookware sets include many more different pieces. This way, you can choose from a basic 7-piece cookware set all the way to a full 15-piece cookware set. You can get even more extra pieces if you wait for a special cookware set sale or other promotion. Here's a description of the basic pieces you may find in a set, as well as what cooking techniques they provide:

Large spaghetti pot or stock pot: This two-handled pot is great for cooking large amounts of pasta, stews and soups. Sometimes a spaghetti strainer or a vegetable steamer that fits in the pot will also be included.

Medium saucepan: This is the most versatile pot for cooking sauces, vegetables and rice, as well as for heating up leftovers.

Small saucepan: Sometimes called a butter warmer, this small pot is great for cooking small amounts of liquids (one quart or less).

Large sauté pan: This type of cooking pan has higher, straighter sides than a large frying pan. This pan is suitable for cooking whole meals and even stir-frying.

Large frying pan: With its angled sides and shallow surface, these pans are great for cooking with oils and flipping foods.

Small frying pan or omelet pan: This is usually a non-stick pan for creating a perfect two-egg omelet.

Do I need a large cookware set? What kind of cookware set is right for me?

For Beginner Cooks: Buy Only What You Need

A cookware set can be a beautiful thing! If you know the brand and style of cookware you want, as well as the materials and features that work best for you in your kitchen, then it's time to buy a cookware set. All cookware sets include your essential pots, pans and the lids that go with them, but some include much more. If you're a beginner, a large cookware set may be too much. Start small and remember, you don't have to buy the entire set at once unless there's an unbelievable sale in the brand you want.
Start with just the basic pieces: A large spaghetti stock pot, a regular saucepan for cooking veggies and rice or warming up soups and sauces, a small saucepan for melting and cooking small amounts of liquids or gravies, a sauté pan for everyday dinners and maybe an omelet pan for cooking small breakfasts.

Buy these basics separately to try out the different cooking materials, or try a small 7 piece cookware set to see what works for you, your cooking style and your kitchen.

Once you settle on a brand and type of cookware that works for you, build your set little by little just the way you want it, especially if budgetary constraints are an issue.

Now that you have some basic pieces and have tried different materials and styles, you can wait for a great cookware set sale in the brand and style that includes exactly what you want.

What are the benefits of non-stick cookware? Is non-stick cookware for me?

Cookware Materials: Choose Non-Stick Cookware for Faster Cooking and Clean Up

If you're a busy person and you spend less than 30 minutes cooking your dinners, non-stick cookware is for you. There's no doubt that there's less room for error when you cook in a non-stick pan because food hardly ever burns. And, if it does, you can easily soak it right off very quickly without scraping or using harsh detergents. This type of cookware also requires less cooking oils to achieve the same effect, so for people on special low-fat diets, this can be a great option. However, non-stick cookware can be a little more fragile than other types of cookware as you have to be careful about utensils. You'll need a separate set of plastic and wooden utensils for use with your non-stick cookware.

The benefits of owning non-stick cookware:

• Less chance of a burnt dinner.

• Easy clean up. A quick suds, wipe and rinse is usually all it takes. Non-stick pot and pans do NOT go in the dishwasher, however.

• Black exterior shows no stains so cookware always looks great.

• Use less cooking oil.

Non-stick cookware is great for cooks who:

• Are on a budget. There are many cookware sets to choose from at every price level and you can find non-stick discount cookware sets easily.

• Lead busy lives. Large, young families, quick meals, and hectic schedules are the hallmarks of this cook.

• Are on a low-fat diet.

• Hate burning dinner more than anything!

• Want clean-up to be a snap!

What are the benefits of stainless steel cookware? Is stainless steel cookware for me?

Cookware Materials: Choose Stainless Steel for the Ease and Versatility

There's no doubt that stainless steel is an essential cookware material for its durability, affordability and ease of care and clean up. Many cookware surfaces contain stainless steel and handles because they can take the beating from daily cooking and cleaning. The newest offerings in cookware take advantage of "cladding" which means bonding different metals togehter to take advantage of their benefits toward cooking. The MC2 line of All-Clad stainless cookware sets is a perfect example of an easy-care stainless steel interior coupled with a beautiful brushed aluminum exterior

The benefits of owning stainless steel cookware:

  • Affordability: You can find stainless steel cookware sets to fit any budget.
  • Ease of Clean-up: Stainless steel can go in or out of the dishwasher and be scrubbed clean.
  • No special utensils are required: Metal utensils will not damage stainless steel pots and pans.
  • Traditional look: Your mom probably had a Farberware cookware set in stainless steel and so can you!
  • All-Clad stainless steel sets, a Farberware cookware set and a Cuisinart cookware set are some of the best cookware sets available in stainless steel.

Stainless steel cookware is great for cooks who are on a budget. You can get a bigger set
cheaper. They're also great if you want to a fast clean up or don't want to use a lot of different utensils.

What is a good, basic cooking set to use?

Calphalon Cooking Sets Are Great For All

Got some basic cooking needs? One of the best sets on the market is a Calphalon cookware set. A classic set is usually eight pieces. Each pan can go into the oven, which adds versatility to the set. The 1-1/2-quart and 2-1/2-quart saucepans and 4-quart chef's pan with rounded sides all have lids and are perfect for making sauces, and the chef's pan is great for braising. The non-stick 8- and 10-inch omelet pans sear and sauté as well as cook omelets. Made of heavy-gauge aluminum, the pans cook without hot spots or warping. All items should be hand washed with mild detergent to ensure the integrity of the stick-resistant surface remains in tact.

What are the different kinds of cookware available?

Cookware 101

Cookware sets can be made out of several materials. Copper is considered the best material for cookware, as it conducts heat uniformly and quickly. Aluminum is widely used in cookware sets as it performs almost as well as copper and is generally cheaper, but be sure the aluminum is a thick gauge. Cast iron cookware sets can be even cheaper than aluminum, but it does require more maintenance. Enameled cast iron can be very colorful, but expect the price to go up quickly! A nonstick cookware set has manmade coatings that keep foods from sticking to the pan. When cooking fish or omelets, for example, this can be a big help. Stainless steel cookware sets are easy to clean but are also prone to hot spots, so search for thicker pots and pans.

Is cooking cast iron healthier?

The Benefits of Cooking With Cast Iron

Did you know cooking with a cast iron cookware set can actually improve your health? Cooking with cast iron results in a slightly increased bodily intake of Iron, an essential mineral. Most North Americans don't get enough iron in their diet. Granted, if you cook one or two meals a day on iron pans, the small amount that is absorbed into the body by the food represents only about 20% of the recommended daily dosage, but it's better than nothing!

What is recommended cookware for vegetarians?

Stainless Steel Cookware For Vegan Cooking

If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you should invest in a good-quality stainless steel cookware set. If you take care of these pots and pans you will have them for a lifetime. Unfortunately, lower-quality (i.e., lighter) stainless steel pans found at department stores or specialty home stores will not conduct the heat well, nor will they hold in the heat. The best vegetarian cooking is done on a low flame, and the heat needs to be held inside the pot tightly. Thick, heavier, better built stainless steel is what you need to find in a pot or pan.

How can I make pans in my cookware set heat faster?

Paint it Black

If your cookware set does not have a black outer finish, consider putting one on yourself. This can be done quite easily and cheaply. Go to any hardware or home improvement store and pick up a can of black oven paint. Why paint them black? Adding the black coating to the outside of your pots (never on the inside ) will help your cookware heat up faster.

What are the benefits of cast iron? Is cast iron cookware for me?

Cookware Materials: Choose Cast Iron for its Solid Look and Feel

Cast iron has a solid, heavy feel that has withstood the test of time when it comes to cooking. In the past, iron was a readily available resource cast into pots and pans that was virtually indestructible. The cookware could also do double-duty as a weapon! Now, a cast iron cookware set is forged to perfection, sometimes left raw for you to season, sometimes coated with state-of-the art colored enamels. Either way, there are proven benefits to investing in a cast iron cookware set.

Benefits of cast iron cookware:

• Heavy pots stay put on the stove. Provide superior heat distribution.

• Heavy lids, sealing steam and juices for lower cooking temperatures.

• If seasoned, the surface has non-stick properties that lower your chances of a burnt-on mess.

• Do not have to be washed with soap and water if used properly.

Cast iron cookware is for cooks who:

• Love the heavy feel and solid old-fashioned look.

• Like to show off their country kitchen!

• Don't mind the seasoning technique.

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Guru Spotlight
Mary White