Care & Maintenance
Can pots and pans be put in the dishwasher? Many of the different surfaces may be safe in the dishwasher, but hand washing them will add to your cookware's longevity. Always double check with the manufacturer's cleaning guidelines.
If food sticks to the interior of the pan or the pan is sticky, it could be that you have the heat turned up too high. Quite a few people do this. High is not always the best option. Food should be heated gently and heat should be turned down as soon as the food reaches the optimum cooking temperature.
I have spots or staining on the interior of my stainless steel pans. What is this? Some food and water contain acids and salts that can cause subtle and minor corrosion to cooking surfaces. To solve this, add salt to dishes only when water is boiling to prevent it from settling on the bottom of the pan. Another reason may be that the pan was overheated. This type of corrosion can be removed by using a stainless steel cleaner.
Shape, Material & Construction
Is a heavier pot/pan always better than a lighter one? Top-of-the-line cookware is usually heavier than cheaper brands. The heavier a pot/pan is, the more secure; it will sit evenly on the stove top. However, you do need to be able to lift it off the burner with ease. If it's too heavy for you, it could cause other hazards.
Is there one material for cookware that is recommended above the others? Each type of material can be very beneficial depending on your specific cooking application. No one type is universally the best. They all have advantages and disadvantages.
In 18/10 stainless steel the 18 refers to the percentage of chromium that is found in the steel. It's important because it helps to fend off corrosion. The 10 refers to the percentage of nickel in the piece. This also fights against corrosion and gives items a shiny look. You can also find 18/8 stainless steel.
Use pans with flat bottoms for the proper heating elements in a ceramic stove top to function optimally. For more information, consult your stove top manufacturer's guidelines and recommendations.
Heavy-gauge construction is a primary feature in great cookware. If it's not thick enough, it's not going to conduct heat properly. Other features include stay-cool, oven-safe handles, even heat conductivity and a nonreactive cooking surface. Always be sure to look for features that meet your individual cooking needs.
What type of utensil works the best with cookware? This depends on the material your cookware is made of. Nonstick surfaces will scratch easily and should be used with nylon or wooden utensils. Copper, aluminum and stainless steel are very scratch-resistant, and could be used with metal utensils.