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Recently, home cooks have been tossing out their non-stick cookware and are bringing out the big stainless steel pots and pans.
With good reason too, as these pots can last generations, some cooks holding onto their trusty stainless-steel pans for as long as fifty years. What’s more, you can use any utensils on them, and some can be tossed straight into the oven- that’s really been spicing up how we cook our dinners.
Stainless steel has a great reputation as being healthy and safe to cook from, as it doesn’t impart flavor onto the food or create chemical reactions with it. However, many users have struggled with the transition from different pans to those that are stainless steel. It’s well worth the change though, and you will be flying it once you know the little niches that come with these sturdy pans.
Six Essential Tips for Cooking with Stainless Steel Pots and Pans
1. Choosing the Perfect Pot
Splashing out a little is well worth it when it comes to getting a good pot or pan- after all, these pans are durable and if you look after them, you will have them your lifetime. Three-ply based is the best, and keep an eye out for pans with an aluminum or copper coil in them. The cheaper kinds that go without creating hotpots and may cook food unevenly.
2. Getting the Right Temperature
Now, this is the part where people get stumped, and frustrated at either their pot or their own cooking skills. Food burns or food sticks, and normally the prime cause for this is that the pan has not been preheated properly.
Always, preheat the pan before adding cooking fat or food. Firstly, take your time and heat up the pan slowly over medium high heat. It should take a couple of minutes in order to allow it to heat up evenly. Remove the pan from the heat source when adding the cooking fat. It should shiver slightly if the pan is a good temperature. If it burns or smokes, your pan is too hot and you will need to wipe it off, cool it down a little and start again.
Be sure to use an even cooking surface, as if it isn’t level, it causes the fat to pool in the pan. This won’t allow it to cover the cooking surface very well.
3. The Water Drop Trick
If you find that you are struggling to get the temperature just right, here is a handy little method. Add a small drop of water to the pan when you think it is ready. If it bubbles and evaporates quickly, it means that the pan is too cold and most likely, your food is going to stick to it. If the droplet separates fast into small droplets, it’s too hot.
Most likely, your food will burn and may not even be cooked inside. When the temperature is just right, the drop will stay intact and moves like a ball of mercury around the pan. Just remember, when you have found the right temperature, remove any water from the pan or else your oil will start spitting when you add it.
4. Your Food Is Sticking?
If your food is sticking to the pan, check again that your temperature is right using the tips above. Ensure your surface is clean (look at the steps below for advice on this) and the pan is dry before adding fat or food. It is also a good idea to add the food when it is room temperature. When the food is not fully cooked, bear in mind that it may also stick. Once the outside has gone crispy, it will remove itself from the pan.
Getting out of those stubborn burn marks can be a pain if you don’t know the secrets. That’s what we are here for. To start with, don’t use metal scrubbers on your pots and pans.
If that isn’t working, start by removing the crusted food the best you can. Next, clean burn marks by sprinkling the surface with baking soda and rubbing it in with a dry cloth. If it’s still not doing anything for you, fill the pan with water and bring it to the boil.
Once it is boiling, add salt and remove it from the heat. Allow it to sit for several hours and then drain it. Scrub off those marks with ease. Be sure to clean it after each use, as food films can cause discoloration and burn marks.
A good starting point for the likes of eggs, potatoes, and rice that stick in the pot, is to give it a good cold-water soak first. If you are doing this though, don’t add cold water straight from the tap to the hot pan. Allow it to cool down slowly so that you avoid warping the surface.
6. Extra Love and Care
These pans can last a lifetime and are a good, solid investment to make. It is well worth it to look after them, and there are many ways to do this. After use and wash, you can achieve a spotless shine by making sure that you hand dry your pots and pans. Some recommend a good, dry polish with a microfiber cloth to bring out the shine.
Although these tough pans can take a hit from almost anything, it’s a good idea to avoid using knives and electric beaters on their surfaces. On top of that, never allow liquids to boil dry, as the extreme temperatures can begin to damage your cookware. Additionally, salt doesn’t affect how the pan works but can leave spots and marks. So, refrain from storing food that is seasoned with salt in your pans.
Taking the time to get used to cooking with stainless steel pots and pans will be entirely worth it- for your health and your bank account. You will never have to replace them again if you follow the steps and look after them right.
Now that you have the tips and tricks to cooking with these robust pans, you will get the hang of it and you’ll never go back. Take care of your cookware, and you will find yourself passing them down through the generations. You can find ease in knowing they won’t corrode, cause reactions or fall apart on you.