When it comes to buying kitchenware it’s not a matter of one size fits all, rather it depends on what you’re cooking and your budget. There’s a place and purpose for each of them within your home kitchen. From metal, ceramic, glass, or even silicone, here’s when you should use each one.
When should you use metal or ceramic or glass or silicone pans?
There are a number of different benefits of metal cookware. It is a wonderful investment as it is durable and it can last for decades. Metal cookware is an efficient conductor that heats evenly and it is very safe to use. In short, metal kitchenware is an ideal solution for most cooking, and it's something you should own if you want to get the most from your kitchen. There are several different types of metal cookware, all with their own individual benefits - aluminum, copper, stainless steel, and of course, the classic cast-iron cookware.
Aluminium is one of the most popular cookware materials, and it’s for a good reason too! Aluminium is cheap, lightweight, and a fantastic conductor of heat. However, it falls short in its ability to retain heat and will often struggle to keep a consistent temperature. Another drawback of aluminum is that it is reactive with acidic food. Because of this, aluminum cookware typically comes coated with a thin layer of PTFE (teflon) that forms a protective, non-stick coating between the aluminium and your food.
Stainless steel is a blend of various metals and is ideal for use on induction stovetops as it is typically 70-75% iron. Stainless steel pans are favourable by many home cooks due to their resistance to acid. Unlike other metal cookware, stainless steel won’t react with your food. Where it falls short however, is in its lackluster ability to distribute heat. Many kitchenware manufacturers will combine stainless steel with a higher conducting material bottom, like aluminium, to help fix this problem.
Copper kitchenware is the best conductor of heat. However, it’s heavy and expensive, very expensive. Similarly to aluminium, copper pans can’t be used on an induction stove and are reactive with acidic foods. Because of this, most manufacturers line copper pans with a thin layer of tin or stainless steel providing a protective barrier between the metal and your food.
Cast iron is a ‘virtually indestructible’ cookware that’s been around since almost forever. Cast iron pans are constructed in one piece, typically by pouring molten iron into a sand mould. Because there are no seams or joints involved, cast iron is the most durable cookware option. They are generally thicker and heavier than other metal pans, making them fantastic for retaining heat. Typically a “seasoning” of edible fat or oil is applied to cast iron cookware to help prevent it from rusting too easily or reacting with acidic foods.
Moreover, metal cookware is durable. So when you buy this cookware, you know that it will last for years to come. However, unless specified as a ‘non-stick’ material, metal cookware tends to be susceptible to burnt residue and stains, so it pays to grease it before cooking.
Apart from its aesthetics, Ceramic cookware does more than just beautify your meals. To begin with,ceramic is generally non-stick, so you need not fear cooking with raw food like meat and vegetables. Ceramic pans are also scratch resistant and heat proof. They’re easy to clean, unlike other cookware that tend to leave burnt residue and stains.
Ceramic is made from clay, a non-toxic chemical that prevents chemical release and won’t react with your food. Ceramic also emits far infrared energy, cooking your food evenly from the middle out
Clay also heats faster. This means that you can bake, fry, or broil dishes faster than with other types of pans. These types of dishes usually need to be cooked on the hottest setting. Cooking on a ceramic pot allows you to achieve this in half the time.
Glass bakeware is best used in the oven. Cooks who prefer to use glass bakeware love it for its ability to keep heat and its non-reactive properties. Unlike metal pans, your meals cooked in glass won’t pick up a metallic taste.
Another (less scientific) benefit of glass pans is that it’s clear, taking the guesswork out of cooking and allowing you to monitor the progress of your meals from all angles.
As a general rule, you should never use glass in direct high heat situations such as broiling or on the stovetop. Glass is a poor heat conductor that is sensitive to sudden heat changes and can very easily shatter under the stress of high heat. Despite being a poor conductor of heat, glass does a great job at distributing it evenly throughout the dish. This makes glass cookware an excellent choice for when you’re serving a pudding, casserole or something that needs to keep its heat outside of the oven.
Silicone Moulds & Bakeware
When you are looking for an easy and efficient way to cook your favorite meals, look no further than silicone cookware. Silicone cookware is made from all-around synthetic silicon materials. Unlike other types of cookware, silicone bakeware is not restricted to cooking alone. They are also excellent for use in baking, moulding chocolates and cutting cookies, and rolling out dough and pastries. In fact, the benefits of silicone cookware include many things beyond simply being used for cooking and meal preparation.
The most obvious benefit of using silicone cookware is that they are inexpensive and lightweight. However, the main advantages of silicone cooking pans are its high-heat tolerance and non-stickability.
Now that you know and have identified each of their properties, we would like to remind you that the best cookware to use has a lot to do with the kind of food you wish to cook. Thus, it is ultimately on you to decide which one to choose for each meal. Or get all of them and choose to cook with each type, on a rotational basis. Happy Cooking to all!