There are so many different types of cookware on the market today, it can be hard to decide which to type to buy. When I decided to replace my worn out pots and pans, I decided to do a little research before making a purchase. I was amazed at the differences in types of cookware. I found that some types of cookware are more healthier cooking choices than others. Here is a list of each type of cookware's pros and cons. This should help you make up your mind when it comes time for you to update your own cookware.
Stainless Steel- Stainless steel is one of the best choices for cookware, as long as it is properly cared for. Stainless steel is nearly non-stick and heats evenly, especially if it has an aluminum clad bottom. Never use scouring pads or metal utensils with stainless steel. Scratching the inside of the cookware can allow small amounts of chromium and nickel to leach into your food. Be sure to follow cleaning instructions from the manufacturer when caring for stainless steel cookware.
Copper Clad Exterior with Stainless Steel Lining- To retain the shining copper exterior on copper clad requires more care than just stainless steel. It also allows the benefit of copper's ability to conduct heat. The stainless steel interior should be cared for by avoiding scratches of any kind. Once again, follow manufacturer's instructions when cleaning your cookware.
Aluminum- Regular aluminum cookware has been on the market for ages. It heats quickly, is lightweight and costs less than many other types of cookware. Aluminum can be reactive to acidic foods. Try to cook your tomatoes and other acidic foods in a different type of cookware. Don't use aluminum cookware over high heat. It has also been suggested that aluminum cookware can be linked to Alzheimer's disease, but this has not been proven.
Anodized Aluminum- Anodized aluminum is safer to use than regular aluminum cookware. It has been treated in a special process to prevent any leaching of metals into your food. It is also lightweight and heats evenly and quickly. It does not react when cooking acidic foods either.
Copper Cookware- Copper cookware is very pretty, but if not cared for properly it can also leach into your food. It is usually coated with a protective layer to prevent this from happening. I would avoid using this type of cookware if it is uncoated or the coating is scratched or dissolved. For best results, follow the instructions given by the manufacturer.
SilverStone and Teflon- SilverStone and Teflon are both non-stick cookware finishes. They make cooking and cleanup a breeze, but they can also emit harmful fumes when used over high heat. When scratched, small amount of the coating can also get into your food. Don't use Teflon if you have a pet bird. The fumes from cooking with Teflon is hazardous to birds.
Cast Iron Cookware- Cast iron cookware is one of the best choices for cooking. It conducts heat evenly and has no hot spots. When properly cared for, it is a nearly non-stick cookware. Since we need iron in our diets, the small amount of iron that leaches into food is actually a benefit. Cast iron must be seasoned to keep it from rusting. Follow the instructions that come with your cookware to ensure a properly seasoned finish. Due to the thickness, it heats up more slowly than other types of cookware. It is also extremely heavy, which can be a draw back for people with hand or wrist problems.
After much debate, I finally decided to buy a quality set of stainless steel cookware. I'm caring for the finish as recommended, and I'm making sure to only use wood or plastic utensils when cooking. This set of cookware should last for many years to come.
I already have a 13" cast iron skillet and absolutely love it. The only reason I chose stainless steel over cast iron was because it's hard to find cast iron saucepans in the most common sizes. I may yet add a smaller size cast iron skillet or griddle to my cookware collection before I'm completely satisfied.