How to choose your Non-stick pots and pans?
"How good is a pianist without his piano?"... similarly, how good is a chef without the right cookware?
You don't really have to be a professional chef to cook good. You just need love for food, sense of aromas and yes, have the right cookware. There are various types of cookwares available in the market including aluminum, cast iron, stainless steel, non-stick, copper etc.
I love non-stick because it helps me cook food, even Indian food that is usually greasy, in absolutely minimal oil! And yes, its so easy to clean! Health and convenience are my favorite features of Non stick!
This article will guide all the pros and the beginners on basics of what to look for while buying non-stick pots and pans (whether you are a first time non-stick user or are replacing your old ones). Trust me, cooking can be so much more fun if you do it the right way.
1. Check the weight
Always lift and feel the weight of the product. Heavy bottom pots and pans have thicker base, evenly heats the food (evenly cooks without burning the food unlike thin based pans). In case of frying pans or woks, see to it that it is heavy bottomed yet convenient for you to hold and lift in case you need to toss pastas, noodles or stir fry vegetables.
- Perfluorooctanoic acid - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Go to the above link for more info on PFOA
2. Non-stick quality
The price of your non-stick cookware is primarily based on the weight and the non-stick quality of the product. Check how many layers of coating is there on your non-stick cookware. If it is teflon coated, it will be marked on the packaging itself. Teflon is one of the most popular non-stick coating. Look for PFOA free non-stick coatings. Remember, PFOA is carcinogenic.
More the non-stick layers, stronger and durable is the coating (4-5 layer coating is good).
3. The body
You have a range of options for your non-stick pots and pans- non-stick ceramic pots, non-stick aluminum, non-stick stainless steel etc.
Then you can pick die-cast cookware too which are stronger. Die cast cookware is made out of molten form and not moulded later.
4. Pick your color
Its a life that we have in our kitchens too! We don't want it to be mundane and boring!
The market offers various cool colors of cookwares these days. Pick your favorite color. If you are a full time homemaker, remember, you spent a good amount of time in your kitchen... you want to make cooking fun! You can also match it up with the look of your kitchen.
My favorite is red! and sometimes I like to bring my pots right on the table for my casual get togethers.
You should also check if the outer colors are non-stick or just food grade paints.
5. Safe and comfortable handles
Go for bakelite or silicone handles. They won't heat up and burn your hands. They make it easy to hold and lift the cookware. If your cookware does not have these handles, you can also pick a set of silicone grips that are available in the retail market.
Also check how comfortable are the handles when you hold them. Now a days brands are very particular about producing ergonomic handles for a better grip coz you don't want your fry pan to fly off your hand while tossing just because of poor grip!
6. Stove compatibility
Look for non-stick cookware stove compatibility as per your requirement- gas or electric or halogen or induction or oven compatible. E.g. If you have an electric and an induction stove, pick the ones that are compatible with both. This way you will be able to use your favorite pans wherever you want.
There are times when I and my husband travel or camp and we prefer carrying our small portable induction cook top and a fry pan. It makes our lives so easy.
7. Shape and size
Pick your cookware as per your cooking requirements. What is your food specialty or food habits or what do you cook often at home? How much do you cook every day?
Always keep your basic essentials handy. I ensure that in my kitchen, I have a sauce pan, a fry pan, a wok and a dutch oven with lids (I being an Indian, this cookware acts like my traditional Kadai). Off late I have also been using griddle a lot. Helps me in making quick fixes for lunch etc.
Now, what is important is to pick the right size cookware for your kitchen. This completely differs from kitchen to kitchen basis your daily requirements. I have friends who use larger capacity cookwares so that they can cook at once for 2-3 days and refrigerate the food. If you prefer eating fresh i.e. cooking everyday, then judge by the quantity of food that need to be cooked.
You can save up money by buying cookware combos instead of individual cookware pieces. Don't go only by the pictures shown on the packaging, but always check the capacities written on it.
Tips for durability of your Non-stick cookware
- Use wooden or nylon spatulas. you can use metal spatulas if your cookware claims being "metal friendly". But, I would still suggest cooking with wooden or Nylon spatulas for the non-stick longevity.
- Never pre-heat an empty non-stick pan! Always cook on medium or low flame (this will also ensure that the food nutrients stay intact).
- Put the non-stick under the sink water only once it cools down
- If your non-stick coating has started to chip, its time to REPLACE