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…

Mauviel 5pce M’Heritage Copper Cookware Set

mauviel-mheritage-copper-cookware-setHow beautiful is this Mauviel 5pce M’Heritage Copper Cookware Set!!

This would make a perfect starter set for someone starting out in the copper cookware collecting and who has expressed an interest in having a cookware set manufactured by one of the foremost manufacturers of copper cookware in the world.

This Mauviel 5 pce set is from the  Cuprinox Style line and it has the essential starter pots and pans needed to whip up fine food in the kitchen.

They are crafted from a 90% pure  copper exterior  which gives you even heating and precise heat control, and they have a durable 18/10  stainless steel interior that won’t interact with foods and makes for easy cleaning.

The handles are stay cool cast stainless steel handles.

It is recommended that the set is handwashed with soap and water and clean with Copper Brill cleaner to keep the set looking great. Do not place in the dishwasher.

I am a great fan of Mauviel Copper Cookware, it looks beautiful and it is durable and functional.  It looks elegant hanging from a pot rack in the kitchen.

Mauviel M'Heritage Cupinox cookware with Bronze HandlesThis Mauviel 5 pce M’Heritage Copper Cookware Set includes:

  • 1.9-qt. Saucepan with Lid
  • 3.5-qt. Saute Pan with Lid
  • 9.5-in. Fry Pan Mauviel

The Mauviel cookware set is made by a French family business which was  established in 1830 so they have loads of experience in making cookware. The business is located in the Normandy town of Villedieu-les-Poeles and is the foremost manufacturer of professional copper cookware in the world today. They have  a large range of different lines of copper cookware including specialty items that are highly regarded by professional cooks.

The set is also available with Bronze handles from Amazon.com

Where Can I Buy the Mauviel 5pce M’Heritage Copper Cookware Set with stainless handles?
Cooking.com
Where Can I Buy the Mauviel 5pce M’Heritage Copper Cookware Set with bronze handles?
Amazon.com


All Clad Copper Core Petite Braiser Pan

all-clad-copper-petite-braiser-panThe All Clad Copper core collection gives you a combination of 5 layers of  excellent performing metals.  And this classy All-Clad Copper Core Petite Braiser Pan combines effective performance with great looks. As a finishing touch there is a band of copper around the exterior of the pan for accent.

There is a layer of copper core  that extends up the side of the pan which is surrounded by two layers of aluminum to  give you rapid, even heat without any hot spots. This is combined with the durability and low maintenance of  18/10 stainless steel  which gives you a cooking surface that resists sticking and is easy to clean, plus the stainless steel easy to clean exterior surface.

The braiser pan has rolled edges  which help to prevent dripping when you are transferring the contents of the pan to the serving platter.  The lid fits perfectly which ensures that all the flavor and the heat is locked in.

The long stay cool, stainless steel handles are permanently attached with stainless steel rivets.

This All Clad Copper Core Petite Braiser pan measures 10 inches in diameter and it is 2 inches deep so it is just the right size to cook Tarte Tatin, which is traditionally an upside down apple cake or Coq au vin and  both recipes  from Chef Thomas Keller’s exclusive collection for All Clad Copper core cookware are included.

What We Like:

  • The unique bonded 5-ply construction which combines the culinary performance of copper with the easy clean stainless steel
  • The stainless steel interior layer/cooking surface that will not react with food and the stick resistant easy clean surface
  • The copper center that gives maximum and even heat conductivity
  • The long, polished stainless, stay cool handles secured with sturdy, non-corrosive rivets
  • The polished stainless lid that fist evenly with the pan’s edge to seal in the flavor of your foods.
  • The lifetime warranty
  • Made in the USA

What we don’t Like

  • It is recommended that your All-Clad Copper-Core Petite Braiser Pan is hand washed. Placing it in the dishwasher will deteriorate the exterior beauty of your pan.

Where Can I Buy the All Clad Copper Core Petite Braiser Pan?
MetroKitchen.com
Amazon.com

Ruffoni Classici Stockpot – Saute Pan Combo – Copper Cookware

ruffoni-classici-stockpot-saute-pan-comboCopper cookware is a favorite of mine, even though it requires a little work to keep it pristine looking. Generally you can clean the outside with a copper cleaner. Never use an abrasive. You can also  rub the exterior with a cloth that has been moistened with salt and vinegar or salt and lemon juice to clean it.

Ruffoni have an excellent range of copper cookware that is very elegant as well as practical.

Take this Stockpot – Saute pan combination. How innovative is that!!

You have the convenience of your stockpot for all your boiling, simmering, blanching and steaming requirements and it is just right for making soups and stews. Plus you have your saute pan for searing, and of course to saute.

The Ruffoni Classici line of cookware is made has a 1.5mm to 2.5mm thickness of copper and the handles are made from cast brass or forged iron.

The Ruffoni Classici Stockpot/Saute Pan Combo is a two handled pot that measure 8 3/4 inches and is about the same in diameter as it is in height.

Things to remember when cooking with copper cookware:

If you have a new pan, then before you use it for the first time you should add some water to the pan and bring it to the boil, once it is boiling add some aromatic herbs such as rosemary, sage or bay leaf or you can  even just use some green vegetables.

Maintaining the durability of the tin lining:

  • Never heat the pan empty, always ensure there is a small amount of liquid or fat in the pan before putting it over the flame or heat source.
  • Never let the pan boil or go dry so don’t have the flame too high.
  • Use silicone, wood or plastic utensils for stirring or mixing. Metal will scratch the tin lining.
  • Copper is an excellent conductor of heat so food shouldn’t stick to the bottom of the pan, and it should come clean in warm soapy water. Never ever use abrasive cleaning products or scouring pads to clean copper.
  • If you do burn the inside of the pot or pan  either due to inattention or some error in cooking, simply immerse the pan in warm, soapy water and leave it to soak until the mark comes away easily.
  • Over time the tin lining will eventually stain or get marks which are caused by high temperatures or food acids, this will not harm you, or  the functionality and hygiene of the product.

BEST PRICE – Where Can I Get the Best Price?
MetroKitchen.com