Cooking is an important activity carried out daily in different homes and places including restaurants. This is so because one of the fundamental human needs is food.
Several things are involved when it comes to food preparation otherwise called cooking. From the utensils which include spoons, spatulas, ladles, pots, etc., to equipment used such as cookers and burners, oven, etc. to heat-producing devices such as lighters and matches.
You can check out some essential cooking utensils here.
Over time, the way humans cook has evolved. From using crude tools and methods, we have evolved to using easier and more sophisticated methods and equipment in the kitchen or wherever food is prepared.
Advanced cooking utensils such as pressure cookers, instapots, etc. now make cooking fun, fast and enjoyable. Pans are also one of these utensils. They are unique and have their pride of place in the list of utensils in the kitchen.
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What are Pans and what are They Used for?
Pans are a type of food preparation container. They can be made from many different materials including aluminum, stainless steel, cast iron, copper, carbon steel, ceramic, clay, etc. and they can be used on most cooktops and ovens.
Typically, they come with a single long handle which is usually made of a non-heat conducting material for easy handling and carriage especially when it is hot. They also sometimes come with lids.
Depending on what you intend to do, a pan can be used for different forms of cooking such as frying, sautéing, make soups and sauce, or baking. They are essential utensils to have in the kitchen because they can be put to a wide variety of uses.
Guide to Buying Pans
Purchasing cooking utensils and cookware can be expensive especially when it is a good product. This however does not automatically mean that the cost of a product determines its quality.
That said, whether you are buying one as your first or just to increase your cookware stock or you need to replace an old one, one way or the other, you will at some point need to buy a pan. How do you select one that is good and durable?
We will quickly look at a few tips here to guide you. You can however find a more extensive guide here: https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cookware/buying-guide/index.htm.
What Type of Material is it?
In choosing the best cookware material, selecting a heavy-gauge metal is much better than thinner gauge metal. While thinner-gauge materials can warp, dent, and hold heat unevenly making your food scorch or burn, heavier materials will not do so and will cook your food in a more even way as they manage heat in a better way.
To easily know if the material is heavy or not, simply hit the bottom of the cookware with your knuckles. A thud sound indicates a heavy-gauge metal and a good one to buy while a light ping indicates a light material.
Good pans materials such as copper and aluminum are good conductors of heat. They easily get heated up and are also quick to get cool.
Consider the Handle and Lid
Handles of pans can either be welded, riveted, or screwed to the body. Select one that is sturdy and handy and that won’t easily break off.
For screwed-on handles, occasionally, the screws might loosen but you can just as easily use a screwdriver to screw it back tightly.
Also, riveted or screwed handles may collect residue even after it is washed so you may want to consider that.
The handle material can be made of metal, wood, plastic, or ceramic.
Although wood and plastic handles do not get hot, they may not be oven-proof if you are going to be using it in there and metal handles may become too hot to handle.
Whichever one you choose is dependent on your usage.
Not all pans come with lids so if you want one with a lid, remember to check if it is oven safe and ensure it has an insulated handle.
Consider your Cooktop
An important consideration in buying a pan is your cooktop. For flat bottoms, a suitable cooktop is an electric stove or a smooth top.
You may buy a rounded bottom pan if your cooktop is a vented ring on top of a burner as it can support it. Cookware with magnetic properties is the best if you have an induction cooktop.
Choosing the right pan or cookware to meet your day to day needs in the kitchen is vital. There are a number of great products out there that make cooking fun, fast and easy like the Always essential cooking pan.
Buying cookware is an investment and getting it right is critical to avoid wasting your time, money, and resources. You will also avoid the frustration that comes with buying and owning a bad product. Take your time to search for one that will make cooking easy and fun for you.