Heavy Metal: A Cookware Material Review

Sometimes too many choices can make a decision more difficult, and thing is certain when choosing a new cookware set: you have a lot of choices.

Cookware is manufactured using all kinds of materials, but the most common are anodized aluminum, stainless steel, cast iron, enameled metal, metal coated in a non-stick polymer and titanium. There are more, and copper can stand alone or be incorporated with some of these materials because it is a good conductor of heat, but these are the main categories.

So, let’s take a look at the properties of each.  

Anodized Aluminum 

You can probably find inexpensive pots and pans made from simple aluminum, but most aluminum cookware sets will be anodized. This is an electrochemical process that enhances aluminum, increasing its non-stick properties and rendering it non-reactive to acidic foods.  

The benefit of this over a non-stick polymer is that it is not easily damaged by metal utensils. It is also very durable considering how much lighter it is than cast iron or stainless steel.  

The drawback is that durable, lightweight non-stick quality tends to come at a higher price than cheaply made inexpensive cookware sets. That being said, Amazon have very competitive prices for anodized cookware sets such as the Rachael Ray Hard Anodized Cookware Set. read the review

Stainless Steel  

Stainless steel is durable, non-stick, stain-resistant and stylish. Stainless steel can be manufactured in several different ways with varying balances of metal added to the required chromium that makes it “stainless,” and these differences can impact quality and cost.

Something to remember about stainless steel is that it does not conduct heat very well and is often combined with either aluminum or copper. This is done by adding a disc of material to the bottom of the piece to help distribute heat, or the stainless steel is “clad” over an aluminum or copper core so that the conductive material runs up the sides and so better distributes heat.

Knowing how your stainless steel cookware is constructed will help you know how it will perform. In either case, though, high-quality stainless steel cookware performs very well. One of the best Stainless Steel cookware sets is the Cuisinart MCP-12 MultiClad Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set. read the review

Stainless steel cookware can be heavy and it should be polished from time to time to keep it looking like new, and it should be hand washed.

Cast Iron

Cast iron cookware may be the most durable of the lot. It is heavy, dense and can survive a beating. It also cooks evenly and is easy to care for once it has been properly “seasoned.”

Seasoning cast iron cookware is necessary to keep it from rusting and to bring out its natural non-stick properties. It involves coating the metal with oil or shortening periodically throughout the life of the utensil. After seasoning a cast iron utensil should only be cleaned using hot water, and dried with a clean cloth.

Raw cast iron cookware is generally inexpensive and durable, which makes it a good choice for small investments. But, it is also very heavy and bulky and can be tiring to use for everyday cooking. 

Enameled Cast Iron

Enameled cookware is metal cookware that has been coated with enamel – a kind of smooth glass created with high heat. The metal coated could be aluminum, cast iron or some other metal.

Enameling can improve heat conductivity for more even cooking, as well as provide a non-reactive surface for cooking acidic foods. It is also very attractive and often comes in bright colors that can liven up a kitchen. 

Le Creuset have set the benchmark for practical, functional and beautiful enameled cast iron cookware

The drawbacks are usually cost, as well as being mindful of chipping the enamel. These pieces are not fragile, in fact they are chip resistant but they should be hand washed and they will chip if banged on with metal utensils. read the review

Copper 

Copper is common as a core metal in high-quality cookware because it has superior heat conductivity. This enables a copper utensil to evenly distribute heat as well as hold precise temperatures very well.  

Copper is also very beautiful, and gives a kitchen an unmistakable Old-World feel.  

The concern about copper, however, and the reason why it is used more frequently as a core is because it is highly reactive with foods and can alter the taste. In fact, most copper cookware is lined with tin or steel, so the only real benefit as compared to a clad utensil is the style and appearance.  

Finally, copper cookware is comparatively expensive, but it is beautiful, unique and delivers high-quality performance.

Titanium 

Titanium combines super lightweight material with durability to make the perfect cookware for all-day use, or for people who can’t lift heavy objects. The question is whether the weight of the cookware you use is a significant factor in your cooking.  

The reason is because titanium does not evenly distribute heat and so will be lined with another metal. In other words, aside from being lightweight and durable, the titanium metal provides no other benefit.  

Titanium cookware sets are amazingly durable considering how light they are.  

So, you can see that there are many material options when it comes to cookware. So many, in fact, it is important to consider your needs and budget before jumping into a purchase. Hopefully, these short descriptions will give you an idea of how to best outfit your kitchen.  

 

 

 

 

Top Ten Tips on Caring for Copper Cookware

All Clad Cop R Chef Copper Cookware SetCopper cookware can be a bit of a chore to look after but if you follow these top 10 tips it will ensure that your copper cookware stays in the best condition possible.

1. Use a mild detergent, hot water and a soft sponge or dishcloth to clean it.
2. Soak cooked-on food – don’t try and scrub it off.
3. Use a circular rotating motion when cleaning the inside of a copper pot.
4. Don’t put a hot pan into water. This can cause irreversible warping.
5. Always use a low flame for cooking as Copper and tin are very good conductors of heat.
6. Never heat an empty pan.
7. Use only wood, rubber or plastic utensils.
8. Never use metal or abrasive utensils.
9. An all over patina is fine but don’t allow your cookware to develop darkened areas which can cause hot spots.
10. Don’t use aerosol cooking sprays as they can leave a gummy residue which is very hard to remove.

Read the full guide to caring for copper cookware here…

Review: Calphalon Tri Ply Copper Everyday Pan With Stainless Steel Lid

calphalon-12in-tri-ply-copper-everyday-panIf you cook a lot, but are not a fan of a kitchen full of pots and pans, you may be on the lookout for one pan that will do everything you need. You’ve found it. The  Calphalon Tri-ply Copper Everyday Pan is prepared for all the cooking requests you can toss at it.

This 12 inch pan is 2 inches deep and has plenty of room inside to hold full casseroles as well as anything else you can think of to cook up.

On the construction front, the exterior is made of brushed copper with an inner core of aluminum and in interior of stainless steel. This is the best of all worlds. This means the pan will heat up quickly and evenly, allowing you to get cooking sooner and save time in meal prep. At the same time, the stainless steel interior will keep looking like new, as it will not stain or tarnish. To keep them looking this way, they should be hand washed and hand dried before you put them away, making sure to wipe away any spots.

This pan comes with a matching lid and is oven ready and can handle either baking or broiling.

What We Like

  • This is a good size pan that will let you cook small to large portions.
  • It heats evenly for better cooking results.
  • It has a nice weight that lets you know it’s durable without being overwhelming.
  • Double handles make it easier to carry when full.
  • It has a very attractive brushed finish.

Other Things To Consider

  • The handles can get very hot to the touch.
  • These have to be hand washed and can spot if you don’t make sure to dry them thoroughly.
  • The pan is easy to scratch, marring that beautiful image.

Where Can I Buy Calphalon Tri Ply Copper Everyday Pan?
Cooking.com

Amazon.com

Until June 30 2009 or while stocks last, Cooking.com have a DOUBLE BONUS OFFER promotion:

Purchase $299 or more on selected Calphalon cookware and receive a Bonus 7-pc. Utensil Set.
Purchase $399 or more on selected Calphalon cookware and receive the Utensil Set and a Bonus 6.5-qt. Soup Pot.

The offer Excludes Simply Calphalon Nonstick, Simply Calphalon Stainless and Simply Traditional cookware.
Limit one per order.

REVIEW: Mauviel Cupretam Pour La Table Copper Bain-Marie Double Boiler with Porcelain Insert

Mauviel Bain MarieIf you are a real culinary pro and want to be able to do everything just like the big dogs do, you may be training your eyes on the Mauviel Cupretam Pour la Table Copper Bain Marie Double Boiler with Porcelain Insert.

If you know the name Mauviel, you know this is indubitably the top name in copper cookware that chefs the around the world have in their collection.

At first glance, you will notice something different about this double boiler. It is unmatched for beauty, crafted out of copper and accented with a stripe from the ceramic insert.

But the ceramic insert is not just for looks; it serves a purpose as well. By using porcelain as the cooking insert, the heating process is more controlled, making sure your culinary creations come out the right way every time.

As you know, double boilers are used to cook food items that can be extremely messy and take some time to clean up afterwards. From cheeses to custards and chocolates, the double boiler is the home of some of the messier foods that can be heated. This is why it is good to know that this double boiler is very easy to clean. After you are done with cooking your masterpiece, you need little more than some warm water and a mild dish washing detergent to clean all the food away and prepare the double boiler for your next culinary creation.

What We Like

  • This is a dream to clean. The ceramic insert is very easy to wash and easy to get ready for the next time you need it.

What We Don’t Like

  • The price. While this is a great piece of kitchen cookware, it is pricey and may well be out of the range of most kitchen budgets.

Those who have purchased and reviewed the Mauviel Bain Marie state that the item is well worth every cent they paid for it.

Where Can I Buy the Mauviel Cupretam Pour La Table Copper Bain-Marie Double Boiler with Porcelain Insert ?
Amazon.com

REVIEW: All Clad Cop-R-Chef 7 Piece Cookware Set

All Clad Copper R Chef 7 Piece Cookware SetCopper cookware is used by chefs the world over and for good reason. The superior heat conductivity and rapid temperature changes make it a joy to work with.The All Clad Cop-R-Chef range of cookware is one of the best brands of copper cookware. It’s cookware for chefs or serious cooks.

The All-Clad Cop-R-Chef 7-Piece Cookware Set
is made from a tri-ply construction of a copper outer layer with a core of aluminum and a cooking surface of stainless steel.  Both aluminum and copper are good conductors of heat – you won’t find hot spots on the surface and foods cook evenly. You will really notice the difference when you cook with this type of cookware.

The only drawback with copper cookware is maintaining it in the same condition as when you bought it. It requires regularly polishing and you will need to hand wash it. The dishwasher is not too kind on copper cookware and can turn it a dark color.

What’s Included

  • 2qt saucepan with lid
  • 4qt casserole with lid
  • 8 inch fry pan
  • 3qt saute pan with lid

Want to Read More Reviews?

You can read reviews for the All Clad Cop R Chef Cookware Set at Amazon

WHERE CAN I GET THE BEST PRICE?

We found the best price at Amazon