A TO Z OF STAINLESS STEEL COOKWARE- A COMPLETE GUIDE

All of us know, that Stainless steel cookware looks beautiful, classy, rich, and elegant. But did you also know that it comes with its advantages and disadvantages?

Advantages supersede the disadvantages, only if you know how to select the correct product. Knowing about the product you buy will definitely increase your chances of selecting the right product.

So read on and by the end of the article, you will know “How and Why to buy Stainless Steel Cookware, for enlightening and adding value to your kitchen.  

What actually is Stainless Steel?

Stainless Steel is an Alloy (Mixture) of “Iron combined with carbon, (wherein carbon content is up to 1.7% or less.

The proportion of carbon added to Iron, ranges between 0.3%- 1.7%, which clearly indicates, the more the proportion of carbon, the harder the steel is. The lesser the proportion, the softer the steel.

Even though steel is much stronger than pure iron, it has a tendency to rust and corrode. So in order to avoid that, an element called” chromium and some other elements are added to it. The final product is called “STAINLESS STEEL”.

Summing it up:

Steel  is a combination of                 — Iron + Carbon (in a very small proportion)

Stainless Steel is a combination of — Steel + Chromium (more than 10.5%)  + Nickel

NOTE- While making Steel “instead of Nickel”, metals like Molybdenum, Nitrogen, Titanium, etc. can also be used.

With the combination of the above materials, the final product that comes out has the following features:

Features of stainless steel Cookware

features of STAINLESS STEEL cookware

  • Retains back almost 60% of the nutrition value- They retain back almost around 60% of the nutrition value of the food cooked in it.

  • Sturdy Cookware- They are very sturdy in nature, hence, they are scratch-resistant. So destroying the Cookware or giving it even a dent, is almost next to impossible.

  • Corrosion-resistant- It is Rust-free or Corrosion Resistant even in the presence of Acidic Materials. Hence it is highly compatible with Acidic foods as well.

  • Appearance- They are lustrous, with a mirror-like finish and a silver-like shine. Stainless Steel does not stain or Tarnish.

  • Preserves the Flavours of the food- It is because of the finish that the material by any chance does not affect the flavors of the dish cooked in it.

  • Safe Cookware- With a few cautions, it is one of the safest cookware that is available in the market
Advantages of stainless steel cookware

ADVANTAGES OF STAINLESS STEEL COOKWARE

  • Stainless Steel Cookware is Easy to Clean and Maintain-

No special methods are required in cleaning and maintenance of this cookware. It’s pretty easy, just scrape out the harder patches with a scrub and dish wash bar/liquid, and clean the softer part, with a sponge+ dish wash bar/liquid.   

Cleaning and maintenance of the Cookware are some of the easiest things to do when compared with other products in the market

  • Stainless Steel has a Smooth (Non-Porous) Surface

The surface of this cookware is the smoothest when compared with other products in the market. The advantage of non-porosity in these utensils help to avoid leaks, cracks, and dents.

  • Stainless Steel is quite durable

The material that it is made of, makes the surfaces of the cookware really hard to damage. Hence, even if we bang it, scratch it, or scrape it, this will hardly affect the utensil. Thus, we can say that Stainless Steel does not age.
 
  • Stainless Steel is very easy to handle

This cookware does not need any extra cautions or care while using them. We can scrub and scrape them without harming them, even a bit.

  • Stainless Steel Cookware looks wonderful 

When we come to look out for Stainless steel products in the market, we will see one of the most stylish, beautiful, and awesome products that are available. They are highly presentable, in front of your guests as well.

  • Stainless Steel Cookware is Non- Reactive

It is because of the making, that unlike other materials of cookware available in the market, steel does not react much with foods. We can cook anything and everything inside the cookware.

  • Stainless Steel acts as versatile cookware

From frying to steaming, from sautéing to boiling, from braising to steaming, or from stewing to poaching, we can do everything in the cookware without any hiccups. Thus making the Cookware quite versatile.

  • Stainless Steel Cookware is quite Affordable

This cookware is quite pocket-friendly. Also, keep into consideration the durability and longevity of the product. Buy them once and they remain the same for generations after generations.

  • Stainless Steel, when combined with a Copper or Aluminum Core, becomes Conductive

This helps in getting 2 advantages- “The durability of stainless steel” and “Heat transferability (conductivity)” of aluminum/copper, making the cookware great for searing. With this combination, it is an excellent go-to product, with unmatchable properties.

  • Stainless Steel is Recyclable

These products are completely recyclable, making them completely environmentally friendly.

Disadvantages of Stainless Steel Cookware

DISADVANTAGES OF STAINLESS STEEL COOKWARE

  • Non-conductor of heat

    Pure Stainless Steel is not a very good conductor of heat. Hence while cooking the distribution of heat over the cookware is uneven, making it hard to cook in a consistent manner.

  • Food Sticks to the bottom

    Since it is not Non-stick cookware, the food might/can stick to the bottom, until and unless you learn proper ways/methods to cook in it.

  • Can be toxic

    It is made with a combination of Steel + Chromium + Nickel, where Nickel can be quite toxic if it leaches into the food that is cooked.

Though Nickel, when consumed in small quantities is not harmful, but in case, if you are sensitive to nickel or chromium, then Steel is definitely not for you.

How to clean Stainless Steel Cookware

HOW TO MAINTAIN AND CLEAN YOUR STAINLESS STEEL COOKWARE?

It is easy to maintain and clean Stainless Steel cookware. Nothing special needs to be learned for their maintenance and care. Yet again, below are some procedures that can help:

  • We should try cooking on a medium flame, as far as we can. This helps the food not to stick to the vessel.
  • Before washing our utensils, it is advised that we soak them in water for some time, so that the food comes off easily.
  • We should make sure that the utensil has completely cooled down before we soak it in water. Soaking of Hot Vessels may cause the vessel to distort.
  • Though a dishwasher bar/liquid and a scrub are good enough for cleaning stainless steel cookware, in case you see a white deposit on the surface of the utensil, then cleaning it with vinegar is a good option
Making stainless steel cookware non-stick

MAKING A STAINLESS STEEL PAN – NON STICK

A HOT PAN WITH COLD OIL – That’s the trick.

We will need to heat the pan first, and when it is reasonably hot, we will need to grease the pot with cold oil, and then we will wait till we see smoke coming out. Now we start making what we want, and probably now, nothing will stick to the pan.

Things to keep in mind while buying stainless steel

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHILE BUYING STAINLESS STEEL COOKWARE

You could opt for a Stainless Steel Cookware with aluminium/copper Core or Cladding

Since stainless steel is not a good conductor of heat, it might cook the food unevenly, thus we can opt for any two options as mentioned below. Along with “Durability” and “Resistance to Corrosion”, we should also get the benefit of “Even Heat Distribution”.

  • Stainless Steel Cookware with Aluminium/Copper Core–  This means that there will be an Aluminium or Copper disc at the bottom of the pan, for heat retention.
  • Stainless Steel Cookware with Aluminium/Copper Cladding – This means that there will be a complete layer of Aluminium or Copper at the base and at the sides, for even heat distribution.

NOTE:
A FULLY CLADDED COOKWARE is more expensive than the one with the Metal Core.
COPPER will be more expensive than ALUMINUM.

Quality Check – 18/10 (Indication of Chromium : Nickel ratio)

This number indicates the grade of the Stainless Steel Cookware.

The first number       – Indicates the Chromium content.
The second number – Indicates the Nickel content

The higher the nickel content, the more will be the shine, glossiness and mirror-like finish of the Cookware, but “THE MORE TOXIC ” will it also be.

Therefore an 18/10 grade is considered acceptable. If not-  then consider buying a utensil with lower Nickel value, but keep in mind that will not be very glossy and  shiny.

Weight of the Cookware

A heavier cookware, is a better option in case of Stainless Steel Cookware. The heaviness guarantees the quality of price you are paying. Moreover, it will be a more sturdy, which ensures “longevity” and “even distribution” of heat for better cooking.

Further and as mentioned- Copper is better and expensive as compared to Aluminum Core.

Another point to notice is that:
3 times Aluminum = 1 time Copper (for obtaining the same heat retention and distribution), so a stainless steel product with aluminum base will always be heavier than a copper base.

Therefore, while comparing products, make sure you compare Aluminum with aluminum and Copper with copper

Cookware with sturdy handles and strong Lids are more convenient to use

Cooking is a daily process. Therefore, cookwares with comfortable handles and  good cover lids, will always be more convenient and easy to use. Keep this also in mind, before purchase.

Where to buy stainless steel cookware

WHERE TO BUY STAINLESS STEEL COOKWARE?

As per my suggestion,  for stainless steel cookware we should always go in for good brand names, as for the non- branded ones we do not know what composition of Chromium/Nickel in them. This is the main thing to look out for while buying this cookware, so that they do not become Toxic for us.

You can go in for brands that you find suitable, or  here are some of the links that I have suggested which I would recommend personally, for you to buy online.

PRODUCT RECOMMENDATION

FOR MY INDIAN READERS

Meyer: 3 Piece Set - Frypan + Kadai with Interchangeable Glass Lid, 24cm

Check out the Complete Range-  HERE.

FOR MY INDIAN READERS

Prestige: Induction Base Non-Stick Stainless Steel Fry Pan, 240mm

Check out the Complete Range-  HERE.

FOR MY INTERNATIONAL READERS

All-Clad: 6405 SS Copper Core 5-Ply Bonded Saute Pan / Cookware,5-Quart

Check out the Complete Range-  HERE.

Signing off

SIGNING OFF:

Stainless Steel Cookware , though has its advantages  of low maintenance and  easy handling, can become toxic , in case we buy the wrong product.

So, I will not say that it is the best kind of cookware available in the market. It comes with its disadvantages, but if you are not sensitive to Nickel or Chromium then this could be the product to go for.

All- in- All it is an OK-OK product, but is definitely a better option than that of Aluminum and Non- Stick Cookware.

Just choose what you are buying- WISELY.

Happy Cooking

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