Kitchen Appliance Advice

Stainless Steel Cookware Buying Advice

Stainless steel is an iron alloy which is made resistant to corrosion by the addition of chromium, nickel and other elements and compounds. Stainless steel cookware is made with stainless steel, an alloy that starts with basic iron with up to 8 alloys added, depending on the quality. The major alloys in stainless steel cookware are chromium and nickel.

Stainless steel has advantages that make it a great favorite for making cookware. First, it is fairly inert and, when cooking, will not generally react to change the taste and color of even the most acidic foods. Secondly, it is very attractive and requires minimal care, since it won't chip or easily rust and it takes little seasoning.

Stainless Steel Cookware
Its primary disadvantage is that it is an even poorer conductor of heat than steel, so people have to move the food constantly in the stainless steel cookware in order to cook the food evenly. To improve its heat conduct capability, stainless utensils are usually with a layer of conductive material, such as copper or aluminum. An important layer of conductive material is often added to the bottom of the pan and, sometimes, all around the pan. The heat conductive quality of stainless is only about one tenth that of copper and about one fifth that of aluminum.

There are many varying qualities of stainless steel. You can easily make do with the lesser ones for most oven use, since heavy weight and heat distribution may be less important when the pan is enveloped in the even heat of an oven. For stovetop cooking, don't skimp on quality: buy only the better ones.

The principal elements in stainless that have effects on our health are iron, chromium and nickel. As indicated above, iron can be very beneficial. Chromium is also beneficial in small quantities, and you would have to cook four complete meals a day in stainless cookware to come close to reaching adverse effects from chromium intake. Although nickel is poisonous in large quantities, only trace amounts go into the food; not enough to make a difference. If you're allergic to nickel, you should avoid using stainless altogether.

Buying Tips:
Stainless steel offers numerous benefits to housewives and professional chefs alike. Being nonporous and non-reactive, it will not pit and its non-reactive qualities allow chefs to cook any ingredient without corroding or discoloring the pan. It resists scratches and dents and is dishwasher safe, plus its high chromium content preserves its shiny, attractive look. Typically, the wall thickness of stainless steel cookware is 0.8 mm or 1.0 mm and some high-end stainless lines offer 1.2-mm wall thickness, which adds to the pans' sturdiness and more readily prevents denting. Modern ergonomically designed handles offer better control for pouring, lifting, and cleaning professional-weight stainless steel cookware.

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