You plan your family’s meals so they consume a balanced diet. You buy the best available meat and vegetables so that they can get the maximum nutrition out of their food. You make their meals fresh and use leftovers quickly so that they don’t spoil. But did you know that the cookware you use to prepare meals should also be a key consideration in your efforts to keep your family healthy?
Cookware comes in many different materials these days: traditional kinds like stainless steel, aluminum and cast iron to more modern upgrades such as nonstick and hard ionised. The material of your utensils determines how much oil you need to use and what kind of foods are safe to cook in them.
So what kind of cookware helps you make the healthiest meals? Let’s find out.
While stainless steel is incompatible with healthier alternatives to oil such as cooking spray (it leaves filmy deposits that causes food to burn), the good news is that it only requires a little oil or butter to lubricate its cooking surface.
However, it must be noted that stainless steel utensils need to have a thick copper or aluminum bottom; otherwise, they won’t conduct heat well and you’ll end up serving undercooked meals to your family. Mabe kitchen appliances (see online) such as electric cookers with induction stovetops are compatible with stainless steel cookware and heats food faster than other types of stoves.
Also, avoid cooking highly acidic foods in stainless steel utensils. The acid in the food can react with the steel and draw out metals such as chlorine, iron and nickel that can alter the taste of the food you’re cooking.
Aluminum is known to be an excellent heat conductor, so you know the meals you prepare in aluminum pots and pans will be well cooked.
They also tend to be low-stick (if they’re not already coming with a nonstick coating) so you can safely use minimum amounts of oil or butter to cook food.
As the metal naturally reacts easily with acids in foods, all aluminum cookware is coated with a nonstick layer or a thick layer of aluminum oxide (through anodization). So it’s best to be careful to avoid scraping the sides or bottoms with cooking utensils to prevent damage to the protective coating. Better yet, invest in a set of nylon cooking cookware that don’t do this kind of damage to your utensils.
Nonstick cookware’s main selling point is the fact that you don’t have to add fat to keep food from sticking to pots or pans. This automatically increases the health value of the meals you prepare using them. However, it’s important to note that cooking sprays and scratches from incorrect cooking utensils will break down its nonstick coating and cause food to start sticking.
All kinds of food can be safely prepared in nonstick cookware if it is properly used.
Its heat conductivity depends on its base material, which is often aluminum, an excellent conductor of heat.
Cast iron pots and pans are able to conduct heat fairly well, so food is quickly and easily cooked through. When used on an induction stovetop (view the range of Mabe’s kitchen appliances online), cast iron cookware can help food cook very well.
It can react with acidic foods, however, but not enough for it to adversely affect the taste or nutritional value of the food being prepared.
A cast iron pot has to be ‘seasoned’ before use, which means its cooking surfaces are rubbed with oil and heated in an oven for about an hour. The oil coating evens out its porous surface and provides a nonstick coating, which brings down your use of oil or butter.
The nonstick coating also prevents the formation of rust, which is an added health bonus.
Copper transfers heat very well from your stove to your food, but are often lined with tin or stainless steel to prevent the metal from leaching into foods. Acidic foods release copper ions that wear away the protective coating, so it will have to replaced occasionally. Care must also be taken to keep copper utensils clean because soot or carbon deposits will affect its heat distribution.
Bear in mind that if you have a electric coil stove (view the range of Mabe’s kitchen appliances online), a copper cookware set may be well worth its price. As coil stoves are known to heat unevenly, you need superior cookware to compensate for its inefficient heat distribution.
When buying copper cookware, it’s important to invest once in a high-quality set. Cheaper copper coated cookware comes with a very thin layer of copper that will not distribute heat efficiently. High-quality copper cookware, on the other hand, distributes heat uniformly on both the bottom of the pots as well as its sides.