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.  

 

 

 

 

Rachael Ray Kitchen Tool Accessories – Rachael Ray Tong Set

I find that a good set of kitchen tongs are an essential part of my kitchen. I use them for all those jobs such as turning steaks on the grill, sausages,kebabs, chicken pieces, tossing and serving a salad and a myriad of other cooking tasks.

For many years I used a set of tongs with the black silicone tops which is essential to making sure I don’t scratch any of my non-stick cookware. Well, although my set is functional, black sure doesn’t have the whizz bang effect that this set of Rachael Ray tongs has. Because like all Rachael Ray kitchen accessories, these tongs  are available in her signature colors of  orange, green and  blue .

So apart from being one of those really useful kitchen essentials these tongs add a bit of pizzaz when it comes to serving food.

Now another feature that I really like about these Rachael Ray 2-Piece   ‘lil Hugger Tongs’ is that they are  designed to withstand high heat up to 500°F, so you can use them on the grill without worrying if they are going to melt. They have  grippy silicone handles which are comfortable to hold and make it really easy to hold onto slippery foods such as corn on the cob.

When you have finished using the tongs they lock into a closed position for easy storage in the drawer or utensil holder. You will be really happy with how easy these tongs are to clean and they are dishwasher safe. Included in the set are tongs in the following sizes:

  • One pair  measuring 9 inches
  • One pair measuring  12 inches

The Rachael Ray tong set is one of those really useful kitchen utensils that you will have you wondering how you ever did without them.

Rachael Ray Orange 10 Piece Stainless Steel Set Review

Rachael Ray 10 Piece Stainless Steel Cookware SetThis set contains a 1½ quart saucepan with lid, a 3 quart saucepan with lid, an 8 quart stockpot with lid, an 8 inch skillet, a 10 inch skillet and a 10 inch (3 quart) sauté pan with lid.

This is a very ‘Rachael’ set with her trademark favorite  color orange.  If you like orange you will love this set – and it is also quite a good safety feature as it makes you more aware of where the handles are positioned on the stove top and so you automatically turn them in for safety. 

The stay-cool handles are also attached to the pans with double rivets making them extra strong.  They are easy-grip silicon and angled high so it doesn’t hurt your wrist to lift a full pan.

Stainless steel is not known for its’ ability to heat up quickly and evenly.  However the Rachael Ray 10-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set has a thick, flat aluminum base which makes up for this deficiency and it is great when you’re cooking as you don’t get hot spots that cause the food to stick and burn. 

It also has a nice satin finish rather than a shiny one  which is aesthetically pleasing – it looks really good. The slight rounding of the interiors from the base to the side makes them work like professional chef’s pans and gives great results.

The edges of the pans are slightly flared which makes it possible to pour from them without annoying drips. Dishwashing is not recommended but to be honest, because the bases are so thick, you don’t need a high heat so not much sticks to these – so hand washing isn’t a chore. 

If anything does stick, just give the pan a good soak in hot, soapy water and use a non-scratch dish scrubber.  Bar Keepers Friendwill get rid of even the most stubborn stuck or burnt on food.

The glass lids are great for seeing what’s happening to the food but the drawback with these is that there is no vent in the lid.  This means that as steam builds up, it clouds the glass so that you can’t see the contents and you do end up having to lift the lid off anyway.

A helpful bonus with this set is that the lids for the sauté pan and the Dutch oven also fit the 10 inch skillet so you don’t waste time hunting for lids. The set is compatible with all stove tops, even induction and is safe in an oven up to 400 degrees. All in all, a great ‘starter’ set for a reasonable price, which you can add to as there are many other matching items available.

Where Can I Buy the Rachael Ray 10 Piece Stainless Cookware Set?  Amazon

Review:Rachael Ray 8qt Hard Anodized Oval Pasta Pot

rachael-ray-8-quart-hard-anodized-oval-pasta-pot

Like most home cooks I have always cooked my pasta using a traditional pasta pot that is vertical with a strainer insert.

And anyone who uses the vertical pot to cook pasta knows how easily they boil over and how you have to break ‘long’ pasta to fit inside.

Well I want to introduce you to the pasta pot of your dreams.

The  Rachael Ray 8-Quart Hard-Anodized Covered Oval Pasta Pot with the funky orange handles has a sensible oval shape means that you don’t have to break up your pasta and you don’t have to wait around for one end to soften so that you can push the dry ends into the boiling water, nearly scorching your fingers. Simply submerge your pasta and get on with your life – why did no-one think of this before?

Another great feature is that the pot has a pouring spout on the side so all you do is leave the lid on and drain it straight into the sink. No more burning your fingers  or losing some of the precious pasta in the sink when you are in a hurry and don’t take the time toreach for a strainer.

The pasta stays warm in the pot and if you add sauce, you have plenty of room to toss the pasta without half of it landing up on your stove top.

It is a great pot for every day use as you can use it to also cook soups, roasts, stir fries and casseroles. It’s safe in the oven up to 400 degrees making it a good all-rounder. The large size is great too. In fact, this pot has so much room that you  find yourself adding a lot more vegetables than you usually would so you will be eating healthier as well!

The pot is a good weight. It’s not lightweight but not so heavy that it’s difficult to lift when full, which is good when you’re walking to the sink carrying a large pot of boiling water! While we’re on that subject, the zingy orange silicon handles are give you an excellent hold as they stay cool and you can grip them firmly.

It has a non-stick interior so it can’t go into the dishwasher but it really is easy to clean so this isn’t a drawback.

There are just two points to be aware of. Because the pot is so large, you need to watch that the handles aren’t positioned over another heat source, if you’re using more than one at the time.

Also, if you have a small  cooking ring, you may need to stir the pot a little more often to make sure that all of the contents gets to the heat. As the pot is anodized aluminum, it conducts heat brilliantly so this really isn’t a big problem but it’s just something to be aware of.

In summary, another winner from Rachael Ray who manages to combine great performance with good looks…and her cookware isn’t bad either!”

CLICK HERE to buy the Rachael Ray 8 quart Oval Pasta Pot.

Find out what others are saying at Amazon.com.

And click here  if you would like to find out all about Rachael’s extremely popular Hard Anodized 10pc Cookware Set.

REVIEW: Rachael Ray Round 5.5qt Covered Casserole Everything Pan

Rachael Ray Covered Casserole Everything PanI love Rachael Ray cookware and so it seems does a good proportion of the population. It would have to be one of the most popular brands on our site. This is why whenever a new piece of cookware in the Rachael Ray line becomes available it always generates a lot of attention and I can see that this one will do the same.

I’m not sure why, but this pan is called an ‘Everything Pan’ on Cooking.com but on Amazon it’s called a Covered Round Casserole,.

I much prefer the ‘Everything Pan’ title because this handy pan is very versatile and you will find yourself using it for more than just casseroles.

This is a nice sized pan at 5.5qt. It comes with a sizable cooking surface to allow you enough room to sear meat with the high sides giving you the opportunity to easily add plenty of ingredients without any problem.

The pan is made from a hard anodized construction. What this means is that you have a strong durable pot that distributes heat evenly. This means no hot spots when you cook so foods cook nice and evenly.

The surface is non-stick so foods release easily and clean up is quick and easy. This will be important as you can’t put this one in the dishwasher.

The handles of this pan are covered with a grippy silicone coating so they stay cool on the stove top and you can maintain a good grip on the pot when lifting from the stove.

What I love about this pan is that you can transfer it from stove top to the oven as it is oven safe to 400F….nice! This saves you having to transfer the contents of the pot to another oven-safe pan. It’s nice not having to wash up more pots and pans than you need to.

The pan comes with a glass lid so you can monitor foods without having to constantly remove the lid. This ensures that moisture is retained and you don’t have to worry about scalding yourself with escaping steam when the lid is removed.

It’s also good to see that Rachael Ray has enough faith in her products to back it this one up with a lifetime warranty.

It’s currently only available in orange but as with most of the Rachael Ray cookware line it is most likely that other colors will become available in the near future.

Want to Read Reviews?

You can read reviews for the Rachael Ray Orange Everything Pan/Covered Casserole at Cooking.com

WHERE CAN I GET THE BEST PRICE?

We found the best price at Cooking.com and Amazon