Stainless steel is a mixture of iron, chromium, and nickel. Stainless steel is known for its durability and attractive appearance. The word stainless is given a name for its rust-resistant properties. It does not stain or develop rust. Moreover, it also resists corrosion and oxidation. The presence of water or oxygen cannot damage it as well.
The stainless steel cookware is known for their aesthetics. Their pots and pans look gorgeous and are ideal for searing, sautéing, browning, etc. These types of utensils are trendy and seen in almost every kitchen.
Accordingly, stainless steel is not a good conductor of heat. Experts suggest to buy cookware which has copper cores or copper body as copper heats up very fast and cools down quickly. However, cooking in a utensil made entirely of stainless steel will give you hot spots.
Recognizing the Quality of Stainless Steel
Stainless steel cookware is recognized to be safe for cooking. Any good quality stainless steel is a better choice than other substitutes available in the market. The metal steel itself is much stronger than plain iron, which makes the steel stainless is chromium.
In that sense, to measure the quality of stainless steel, you should check the amount of chromium present in it. The higher the amount of chromium in the steel has a better resistance to corrosion.
Consequently, there are different kinds of stainless steel used for making cookware. The certified types are AISI 200 series, 300 series, and 400 series. The 300 series has 304 and 316 types. The 400 is magnetic. For the 200 series, the creators replaced the nickel with manganese because it’s cheaper.
What to Look before Buying?
While buying or even considering purchasing a stainless steel utensil, you should measure the market and consider some things before making the purchase. Here are some points to keep in mind before you make your decision:
The Grade of the Steel
You don’t have to be a scientist to measure the grade of stainless steel. Make sure the cookware is made with 18/8 or 18/10 as these are the standards for good quality cookware. These numbers will be stamped at the bottom of the cookware or stated on the box.
Weight of the Utensil
A good quality stainless steel cookware will have a significant weight. A heavier pot means that it contains more materials. In addition, if it’s sturdy, there are fewer chances for dents and dings. If you are shopping online, check the reviews.
The Material Used in Core
Stainless steel is a very poor conductor of heat. You would want a set that has copper or aluminum as the core. This combination will give you the high heat conductivity of the two metals, and also the longevity of stainless steel.
Benefits of Stainless Steel Cookware
To make a decision about whether stainless steel cookware is worth it or not, you must leverage the benefits and disadvantages of the cookware. Stainless steel does offer lots of advantages.
You can scratch it, throw it, scrub it roughly; it will still work. The steel is also harder than copper or aluminum and has a higher melting point than both metals. This cookware is the most long-lasting of all the cookware in the market. It lasts longer than them and withstands more.
Maintenance is Easy
These types of cookware do not need special care. They don’t lose their shining very easily; even if they do, just take a cup of water and vinegar to regain the shine.
Does not React
Unlike other metals used for manufacturing cookware as aluminum and copper, stainless steel does not react with any of the acidic foods out there. It is very inert. It does not react with any kind of food.
Great for Searing and Sauteing
Steel can withstand higher heat and temperature better than the other metals. So cooking processes like searing and sauteing can be done in stainless steel with no issue.
Stainless steel is not just suitable for searing and sautéing, it’s also great for frying, boiling, braising, stewing, poaching, and even steaming. You can do just about everything in it.
Stainless steel looks good. The cookware made of it looks very classy and gorgeous. The shiny, polished luster is hard to beat.
The Core Can be a Different Metal
As the heat conductivity of steel is low, it can be paired with copper or aluminum as its core. This is done frequently so the cookware can provide the best of the two kinds of metals.
The durability of stainless steel cookware offers at a cheap price and that is one of the best deals of kitchen appliances. They are generally very affordable. The value lies in its durability. If you buy one set, you can use it for years.
Disadvantages of Stainless Steel Cookware
With amazing benefits, there also come some disadvantages. To make a good solid decision, you should consider both sides of the coin.
Poor Heat Conductor
Stainless steel cookware must have copper and aluminum to be good conductors. Without the copper or aluminum core, cooking with steel cookware is extremely hard as the pan does not heat up. It wastes both time and energy.
Stainless steel can withstand higher heat than copper or aluminum, but it comes with a cost. When exposed to high heat, the color of coating changes and the steel does not look very shiny anymore. High heat makes it ugly.
Saltwater can cause pitting on the pans. Pitting is extremely localized corrosion caused by salt that can create a hole in the pot. So you will have to throw the pot away if you use salt water.
It’s not Non-Stick
This is one of the most classic issues while cooking with stainless steel, food tends to get stuck to the pan. Stainless steel cookware is really bad for cooking delicate foods. It requires a lot of oil or fat for creating a non-stick surface. You can never use it to cook eggs, fish, and lean meat.
Stainless steel cookware offers more benefits than disadvantages without depending on who is making the purchase. At the same time, if it’s a person whose diet includes more eggs, they should not buy it.
However, for others, it’s a great asset to the kitchen.