Friday 11 March 2016

Coveted Cookware

Buying cookware can be difficult and confusing. The price and brand of the cookware shouldn’t be the most important criteria to consider when choosing your cookware. The material the cookware is made of is the most important to consider. Some cookware materials conduct heat excellently, others react with acidic food. Some pots and pans are durable and easy to care for while others are difficult to care for. We are going to look at the characteristics of some cookware materials. First on the list is:

Ruffoni Historia Copper Stockpot £345/ 96,363.20


Copper has excellent thermal conductivity and cooks food evenly though it does not react well to high heat. Copper heats and reacts to temperature changes quickly, giving the cook more control and making it easy to cook food evenly. Copper is a reactive metal therefore it must be lined with another material, such as stainless steel or tin otherwise it will react with alkaline or acidic foods, which then take on a metallic taste after being cooked in a copper pot.

Mauviel Cuprinox Fish Kettle £499/₦139,377

Light colored foods, like eggs, can also develop grey streaks when they pick up the copper compounds, which also means you'll ingest small amounts of copper. Copper also requires regular polishing and maintenance and is expensive. Copper does not work on induction cooktops. Ruffoni and Mauviel are popular copper cookware brands.

Mauviel oval cocotte £259/₦72,342

Cast Iron

Cast iron is one of the most versatile cooking materials. It’s durable and can cook almost anywhere – from stove to oven and grill though it does not heat evenly.
Staub cast iron Red Square Grill £98.95/ ₦ 27,638

Cast iron is notoriously hard to take care of. It needs to be seasoned by adding a layer of polymerized oil to protect the surface. The process consists of repeatedly rubbing the cast iron with oil, heating it up, and cooling it down. A well-seasoned cast iron pan will be nearly non-stick.

After each use, it needs to be re-seasoned. Cast iron is a reactive metal but if the pan is seasoned properly, acidic or alkaline food can be cooked in it for a short time.
Cast iron is very heavy and can easily rust, chip and crack if not properly cared for.

Enameled cast iron

Enameled cast iron offers many of the same benefits of classic cast iron, but without the hassle of seasoning. Plus, it’s much more attractive, and most models come in a wide array of colors. This cookware is lined with ceramic enamel making it non-reactive, meaning that home cooks can simmer tomato sauce without worry.

Le Creuset Round Casserole Dish £200/ ₦ 55,862.70

Enameled cast iron pots are heavy and take a while to heat through, but they do retain heat extremely well. These characteristics make enameled cast iron great for browning and transferring from the stovetop to the oven. This is a perfect material for dutch ovens used for baking bread. Cleaning enamelled cast iron is easy: soap and water should do the trick. Staub and Le Creuset are popular enamelled cast iron brands.

Staub Gratin Dish £31.95/ ₦ 8,924.07

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is non-reactive, durable, dishwasher-safe, and resistant to rust, corrosion, scratching, and denting. It’s also pretty easy on the eyes. However, on its own, stainless steel is a terrible heat conductor. The key to finding good stainless-steel cookware is to pick a model that has a core of another type of metal that conducts heat more effectively – most often aluminum or copper.

Mauviel Stainless Steel Casserole £339/ ₦ 94,687.30

Aluminum-core pots and pans are more affordable than copper-core. However, copper is a slightly better conductor of heat compared to aluminum, giving the cook more control over the cooking process. Fissler and Mauviel are popular stainless steel cookware brands.

Fissler stainless steel 5-piece intensa set

Fissler Vitavit pressure cooker


Aluminium has excellent thermal conductivity, is lightweight, affordable and highly reactive to alkaline or acidic foods. It's also very soft and tends to warp in high heat and scratch easily, which leads to health concerns with long term use.

Swiss diamond cast aluminium crepe pan £115/ ₦ 32,121.10

Aluminum must be processed in certain ways before it’s used as cookware. Anodized aluminum – which makes up the majority of the aluminum cookware out there – has been treated by an electrochemical process to harden it and make it non-reactive. While anodized aluminum does take longer to heat up than other materials, it's an excellent heat conductor.

Aluminum is also a popular material for bakeware, but it is almost always paired with another type of metal to increase durability.

Scan pan aluminium IQ Grill Pan with ceramic titanium non-stick coating £129/ ₦36,031.40

Photo credit: Harrods website, Fissler website.

Prices are correct at the time of publishing.


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