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Great cookware is one of the best investments you can make, but there are so many choices and picking the right product can be difficult. The first thing you should determine is what kind of cooking you want to do, how many people you are most likely to cook for and your level of expertise. You should build your selection by choosing basic pieces first and then adding specialty pans that you desire.
Types of Cookware
The first thing you should look for when looking for new cookware is the different types of pieces that are available. If you are a beginner you will most likely need efficient and cost-effective solutions for your cookware needs. So let's start out with the basics, when selecting new cookware there are four major pieces to consider: a stock pot, a fry pan, a sauté pan, and last but not least, a saucepan.
The Stockpot is a large, deep pot with a flat bottom. It is used to cook liquid foods that do not need to be extremely close to the heat source. Stockpots let you sauté or brown, and then add liquids when making stocks, soups, or stews. Their tall profiles are great for keeping pasta submerged during boiling. This particular pot comes in a variety of sizes and it's smart to keep in mind that having multiple sizes comes in handy when one has to cook for either a small or large group.
Frying Pan / Skillet
The fry pan or skillet is an essential kitchen workhorse and may be one of the most versatile pieces of cookware you'll ever own. Flipping omelets, stir-frying, and even searing proteins is easy with the right fry pan. These pans are designed with a flat bottom and curved sides, making them a perfect choice for turning foods over or simmering with oils. How hot can they get? That depends on the material your pan is made of. Nonstick pans shouldn't exceed low or medium heat to retain their coating, while high heat is fine for stainless steel. Frypans and skillets come in all sizes (yes, even ones built for single eggs) and typically don't come with a lid.
Another form of skillets are Cast Iron Skillets. Cast Iron Skillets are similar to fry pans, however the main difference is the care and the material they are made out of. Seeing as these skillets are made of cast iron they can be pretty heavy. The best advice, if you haven't ever used a skillet, would be to come in and hold a skillet prior to purchase. When selecting a Cast Iron Skillet, be sure that it is preseasoned. The issue with skillets that are not pre-seasoned is that food will stick to it. To properly care and clean a cast iron skillet follow the instructions below.
Cast Iron Skillets
The Sauté Pan is meant for sautéing, which translates into being able to fry food while moving it around quickly in the pan, all while covered with a lid. Sauté pans are similar to fry pans when it comes to the design, they too have a flat bottom, however the main difference between fry and sauté pans is that instead of having rounded sides, sauté pans have straight sides. Seeing as they are deeper than a fry pan, sauté pans can be used for multiple uses in addition to sautéing. Some of these uses are deep-frying, searing, and preparing certain sauces such as marinara.
The Sauce Pan has a rounded bottom and tall, straight sides. This means that they are a very versatile cookware choice, and can be used when making all kinds of sauces and soups. These pans can be used with or without a lid to control evaporation, which is why sauce pans are a go-to in any kitchen. A sauce pan is also ideal for many other uses - from reheating leftovers and preparing grains, to boiling eggs or noodles.