Be it a saucepan, or your heating pot, or the pan in which you cook delicious fries, all of it are termed as cookware. Cookware is made with many different materials and there are different ones to serve specific cooking purposes. In this article, we explore various materials in which cookware is available. We will also see how cookware styles have changed from ancient to modern times.
Anything that can be placed on a stove or cooktop for cooking food and those materials that help or aid in cooking like spatulas, turners , ladles etc can be defined as cookware. One can buy single cookware or a cookware combo set from the market. The combo sets can have any number of items. They usually combine pans, pots, and vessels of different sizes and shapes that are needed in our day-to-day life. If you are shifting to a new place or thinking of replacing your existing cookware, then cookware combo sets are the optimal choice. They are cost-effective too.
Cookware in ancient days was made from many different materials which are in use till date. Many kinds of research have revealed that the cookware used by our ancestors was designed scientifically to bring out the nutrition and flavors in the food cooked in them.
Stone Age Cookware
During the stone age, the most common cookware was the Kal-chatti. It is a thick pot made entirely of stone and it usually has multiple dimensions. These stone pots are known to retain heat for long after removal from the stove, thereby keeping the food warmer for a good amount of time.
Soapstone is a naturally occurring stone, soft, and a rich source of magnesium. It is durable and retains heat very well. Soapstone cookware is a part of many kitchens even today due to the benefits it provides.
Iron Age Cookware
The application of iron in cookware has been prevalent since time immemorial. Many Asian countries are known to possess multiple ancient iron cookware. The black round bottom vessel called Kadai is popular in Indian kitchens for cooking an assortment of food items. The flat bottom pan, Tawa, is still in use for making chapatti, frying eggs, and much more.
Cast iron cookware was the most conventional cookware item of the past years. Some of the traditional cookware is still in use and has no better replacement. The cast-iron oven with a lid is often used for items that need slow cooking. The cast-iron skillet is used for roasting of all sorts. Cast iron gained popularity due to the heat retaining capacity. Being a poor conductor, this material takes time to heat up and cool off. So, once heated it takes a long time to let go of the heat.
How To Season Cast Iron Cookware?
Your cast iron pan or pot develops a smooth surface when it comes in contact with oil during cooking. With time, this seasoning starts coming off and you will know it when your cookware loses the glossy look and starts turning matte.
The best way to season cast iron is by using unsaturated oils. These oil molecules chemically bond with the minute iron particles forming the smooth non-sticky surface again. Another method is to use a scrub and dish wash to scrub the surface till it feels smooth. This can be followed by proper rinsing, drying, and coating with oil. To know how to season a cast iron Dosa Tawa Click Here
Metallic cookware comprises a wide variety of options to choose from. Most traditional cookware in use is metallic. Not all metals can be used for making cookware. The metals have been chosen considering their conductivity. Also, metals used for cookware should not be chemically reactive and should not alter the taste of the food. While cast iron is considered to be the king of metallic cookware, some other common metallic cookwares seen in kitchens are as follows:
These are accessible in 3 types, pressed aluminum, anodized aluminum, and cast aluminum. The cheapest and easily available in the pressed aluminum cookware. However, these are not very durable and overtime alters the flavor of the food being cooked in it. The other two types are much costlier and of higher quality as compared to the pressed ones. They are chemically unreactive even after being heated and do not change the food taste.
With cast iron cookware the heat is retained for a long time even after you remove the vessel from the stove. What if you need something that cools down as easily as it heats up? The answer is copper cookware. The heat also spreads evenly through the pan or pot. You can get copper cookware in three types, tinned, bare, or lined with stainless steel bottoms. Copper is generally not advisable to be used for direct cooking. It is the copper bottles , jugs and vessels that are famous and mostly used to store water. Citrus fruit type juice are not to be stored in such copperwares and they tend to react with the copper causing seepage of copper into juice or food. Water stored in copper bottles are also not advised to be refrigerated but to be left in room temperature itself.
Stainless Steel Cookware
These are your daily cooking equipment. Their durability is high and one can cook all types of food in them. They are easily available at an affordable price. When using stainless steel cookware, you don’t have to worry about any dents or scratches. Maintenance is easy and they heat up pretty quickly. Carbon steel is a variety of steel cookware much better than stainless steel or copper. These weigh less and come with a non-stick bottom.
These include cookware made from clay, glass, ceramics, stone, silicone, etc. Here are a few popular ones:
They are the non-stick cookware that has replaced the traditional cast iron in most homes. They are super light and can be cleaned easily. You can cook absolutely anything in a ceramic pot without having to worry about getting a sticky bottom to clean off. They are the modern cookware that is slowly taken over other metallic and non-metallic cookware. These, however, are not very durable and the heating capacity is also low.
Made from a mix of clay and other earthly matter, pottery items have an aesthetic look and are a traditional form of cookware. While the traditional handmade ones cannot be used on modern gas stoves or cooktops, the modern ones have been designed to suit the gas stove. Food cooked in pottery is said to have a better flavor. This material is said to have multiple benefits and can be recycled easily.
Glass cookware is not very common in use as it is a fragile material. If your glass cookware is resistant to breakage then it is a safe option. The cookware used in micro-ovens is usually glass or ceramic. It is not recommended that you use this type of cookware as some unhealthy components dissolve with your food as the vessel heats up. Also, they heat up slowly. Glass-ceramic cookware is another type that is gaining popularity. These are pretty cheap and light to use.
The Best Material For Cookware
The choice of cookware to be used depends upon many factors ranging from the food to be cooked, the inclination one has towards many of the health aspects it manifests, the culture and food habits one carries.
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