How to Buy Cookware

Confused about what types of cookware to buy to make your favorite meal? You’re not alone. Different types of pots and pans are ideal for preparing specific types of meals. The materials that each pot or pan is made of has an impact on cooking certain dishes as well. Understanding some common kitchen terminology as well as what’s in your existing inventory can help you identify what you need to buy to make any dish you like!
EditSteps EditChoosing the Pieces that Best Fit Your Needs Buy a skillet if you fry a lot of foods. Skillets are not only excellent for frying, but also for scrambling eggs, as well as sautéing vegetables and meats. Buy an skillet if you’re cooking for 1 or 2 people. But if you’re frying for a household of 4 or more, buy a skillet.[1] Certain types of skillets can also be used in the oven. If you’re looking to roast beef or bake ham, buy a skillet.[2] Consider a skillet with a riveted handle for sturdy construction. Purchase a saucepan for rice, sauces, and pasta dishes. Look for one wide enough to accommodate your whisk so that you can stir food inside comfortably. Also, find one with large handles that allow you to pick up easily with oven mitts on.[3] The standard size is though you may want to purchase a or larger size if you prepare large quantities of sauces, soups, or other liquid foods. Obtain a stockpot for steaming and boiling food. Make sure your stockpot is sturdy and has wide enough handles to be able to lift it with your fingers protected by potholders or oven mitts. Buy an for typical household use, though if you plan to prepare a lot of pasta, stews or, soups, a to stockpot may be better.[4] Opt on the larger side ( to ) if you plan to make dishes with large pieces of meat, such as whole chicken stew or corned beef and cabbage.[5] You can buy a colander – used for straining water – as an insert if your existing stockpot doesn’t have one. This will help you easily separate cooked pasta or steamed vegetables from the boiling water they were cooked in. Acquire a sauté pan for a variety of meals. Use a sauté pan for rice dishes, stir-frying vegetables, and searing meats. Find a sauté pan with a thick base to ensure your food cooks evenly, as well as a tight-fitting lid to keep heat in and food moist.[6] The sauté pan is the most versatile of your cookware set as it can be used to prepare many types of meals. Use your sauté pan to sear a cut of beef or brown chicken for extra flavor. Or use it for casseroles, chili, or curries. Buy a complete cookware set if you don’t have any of the above pieces. Or, if your existing cookware is in disrepair, purchase a complete cookware set rather than buying pieces a la carte. You’ll get a better price purchasing a set than the pieces individually. The pieces in a cookware set will also look uniform and be covered by the same warranty.[7] Take stock of your existing inventory before deciding on a cookware set to avoid buying unnecessary dishes. Make a list of the pots and pans you already have. Be as detailed as possible. Note the sizes and material of the pot or pan on your list, as well as their condition. While not often thought of as conventional cookware, consider using this exercise to review the state of your other kitchen applies, like your utensils, measuring tools, blender, toaster, microwave, or food processor. If any of these items are in serious disrepair or in need of an upgrade, write this down too. Buy additional items depending on your budget and storage space. Most cookware sets will have the pieces mentioned above. To expand the range of dishes you’ll be able to prepare, supplement those pots and pans with other cookware items many consider indispensable.[8] These include: Dutch ovens: These pots can be used on a stovetop or in an oven and are often used to prepare soups, stews, or braised foods. Baking sheets or sheet pans: Use these for foods you’ll cook in batches like cookies and biscuits. Glass baking pans: Bake macaroni and cheese, pasta dishes, marinated meats, and casseroles in these sturdy Pyrex pans. Pie pans: Purchase standard-size () glass pie pans to prepare quiches and pies. EditChoosing the Material of your Pots and Pans Select aluminum cookware if you need versatile pots and pans. Aluminum cookware conducts heat extraordinarily well and can be treated with aluminum oxide to prevent food from sticking. Pick this popular material if you want lightweight, nonstick pans that cool quickly and can be used on both the stovetop and in the oven itself.[9] Aluminum cookware can also be both washed in the dishwasher and the sink. Pick stainless steel cookware if you want long-lasting, inexpensive cookware. Stainless steel cookware is cheaper than cookware made from other materials and is very durable. It also works well over high heat, but often cooks unevenly and cools down slowly. Choose stainless steel if you want long-lasting cookware that will retain its luster for years despite repeated use.[10] Stainless steel cookware is also highly scratch and warp resistant. Settle on copper pots and pans for professional level food preparation. Copper cookware is used most often by chefs as it conducts heat well, allowing you more control over how your food cooks. However, it is the most expensive type of cookware and requires regular polishing. Using copper pots with acidic foods may also result in a funny after taste or discoloration.[11] Buy copper pots and pans coated in enamel to avoid any after taste or discoloration when cooking acidic foods. Choose cast iron cookware to cook foods evenly over high heat. You can use cast iron cookware in both the stove and on the stovetop. When on the stovetop, it can handle higher heats than aluminum cookware. It is also relatively inexpensive compared to aluminum and copper cookware. However, it also rusts easily, is difficult to clean and is very heavy.[12] Look for cast iron cookware with aluminum or copper cladding. Cladding is a layer of metal along the sides and base of the pot. By layering the sides and base with aluminum or copper, a cladded cast iron pot obtains the heat conductivity of those metals.[13] Because cast iron cookware is vulnerable to rust, hand scouring is necessary to pots and pans made of this material. Avoid picking it if you’d rather put your cookware in a dishwasher. EditBuying Your Cookware Make a budget for your cookware purchase. Determine how much you can afford before figuring out what you need. Take a look at your monthly budget and savings to determine how much you are willing to spend on new cookware. Write this number down on a sheet of paper.[14] The great thing about cookware is you don’t need to buy it all at once. You can allocate some money out of each paycheck to buy a few pieces at a time until you have what you need. Comparison shop for the pots and pans you need. Identify the model of each piece you need, write down the price one retailer lists it at, then find the same model on the sites of 2 to 3 other retailers. Write down that price as well. Repeat until you’ve identified at least 2 prices for each piece you need. Then determine which combination of pieces you can afford based on how much you budgeted.[15] The websites of brick and mortar retailers are good places to start. Look for deals online and in circulars. Also, consider purchasing your cookware in November during Black Friday, or in May when retailers often offer deep discounts in anticipation of the summer wedding season. Visit the kitchen aisle of a well-established department store. Knowledgeable salespeople can advise you about which types of cookware fit your needs, as well as about good deals. Read the fine print about care and maintenance. Pots and pans made of different materials require different kinds of care. For example, copper cookware can be ruined by repeated cleaning in a dishwasher rather than by handwashing. Examine the details about the care of each possible purchase before you buy it and make sure you are prepared to maintain each piece appropriately. [16] Some things to keep in mind: Avoid using bleach or abrasive cleaners on stainless steel pots and pans. Let non-enameled cast iron cookware cool before rinsing or washing it. Handwash enameled cast iron pots and pans to keep their luster intact. Protect your investment by purchasing a warranty. Buy a limited lifetime warranty from the manufacturer or the retailer at the point of purchase. This warranty will cover manufacturing defects, allowing you to replace cookware that is chipped, cracked or otherwise damaged. Be careful you’re your cookware however, as your warranty will not cover damage you cause through accident or neglect.[17] Retail warranties usually cover products for a certain window after purchase. However, you can buy a limited lifetime warranty for most cookware that allows you to return damaged pots and pans directly to the manufacturer past the retail window. These kinds of warranties also usually require proof of purchase, so keep your receipt and copy of your warranty in a safe place. EditRelated wikiHows Buy Cooking Utensils EditReferences

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