For many people pans have become something that either collect dust in the cupboards or a necessary nuisance to scrub after burning dinner. But that can all change by simply learning about them. What are they made of, how do I cook with them and what type of pan do I use for what purpose. Well, read on my friends and we will explore together the pros and cons of pots and pans!
In this first part of a series, let’s look into what type of pans you have to choose from:
Pros: Light weight, best heat conductor of all the metals (next to copper), comes is non-stick or anodized, less expensive and can handle high heat.
Cons: You should never cook acidic food in straight aluminum pans because it will react with the food causing an unpleasant discoloration. A link has also been found between cooking with aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease but the FDA and most scientist discount any connection between the two. In any case, aluminum is prone to warping or chipping over high heat.
Pros: Scratch resistant, great heat conduction, doesn’t react with food and can be found in the low to high price ranges. Rachael Ray also uses these.
Cons: Like most metals, it can be scratched or gouged. Damaging the surface of anodized metals will remove the anodized coating in that spot.
Pros: Durable, scratch resistant, doesn’t react with foods, can handle high heat and can be found in the medium to high price ranges. Can behave like a non-stick pan if you heat the pan before adding oil.
Cons: Not a good heat conductor by itself. Therefore, you need to find pans that have an aluminum or copper core and then you’ll have the best of both worlds; great heat conducting pans that can handle high heat and cook awesome! Cleaning can be difficult, but not impossible if you don’t heat the pan before you add the fat and then cook your food.
Cast Iron coated in Porcelain Enamel
Pros: Once heated, it will remain very hot for a long period of time. Added benefits from cooking with cast iron is the good workout you’ll get (they’re heavy). These are non-reactive and will not impart previous food flavors into foods you are currently cooking. Easy to clean, won’t rust and doesn’t need to be seasoned like cast iron itself.
Cons: Porcelain may chip over time, interior can stain and each model needs to be checked for maximum temperature.
Pros: Food doesn’t stick therefore you need less fat when cooking. Non-stick is easy to clean and found in the low to medium price range.
Cons: Does not brown the food or make it crispy because the surface holds the moisture between the pan and food. Coating can come off over time, not able to cook over high heat because it breaks the coating down, can’t use metal utensils and should not be stacked together without a fabric layer between them.
Over the next few posts, we will delve into greater detail about individual pans including: