Stainless steel is an extremely popular choice for cookware due to its many advantages. Unlike aluminium, stainless steel does not react with any type of food and thus does not pit easily. Stainless steel, which is actually a combination of many metals, is also quite sturdy, preventing scratches and dents. At the same time, stainless steel is light, especially in comparison with cast iron. As its “stainless” name implies, stainless steel naturally resists corrosion. All of the qualities above make stainless steel one of the best choices for everyday cooks.
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One drawback to stainless steel, however, is that it does not conduct heat as well as many of its counterparts. Many higher quality companies, however, have introduced a line of pots and pans that mix a layer of stainless steel and a layer of copper or aluminium, allowing it to conduct heat well. These pots and pans may be a bit more expensive than the all stainless-steel items, but are a better choice for those who desire more accurate cooking.
Most stainless steel cookware lines come in both non-stick and regular options. These non-stick coatings prevent the cooked food from sticking to the surface of the pan, making clean-up considerably easier. Many every-day cooks adore this benefit, but there are a few drawbacks to non-stick coatings. First of all, they cannot be used with high heat because it will cause the coating to crack or breakdown and therefore cannot go into the oven. Secondly, although non-stick pans have dramatically improved since they were first introduced nearly fifty years ago, most non-stick layers inevitably flake or crack after a few years, no matter how well you take care of the pan. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has tested non-stick coatings, however, and says if flakes are ingested, they will pass through the body without causing any harm.
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