Advantages of stainless steel cookware?

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Stainless steel cookware is popular due to its durability, non-reactive nature, and effectiveness in browning and searing. It is made up of steel, chromium, and sometimes nickel, and is often paired with a copper or aluminum core for better heat distribution.

Stainless steel cookware is the most popular cookware choice of today’s consumer. It is durable, inexpensive, easy to maintain, and useful in a variety of different cooking applications. Stainless steel also has a shiny appearance that many consumers find aesthetically pleasing.

Stainless steel is an alloy made up of two to three metals; steel, chromium and in some cases, nickel. The chromium in the alloy prevents or reduces rust formation in stainless steel. Higher grade stainless steel has nickel as part of the alloy along with chromium. Nickel works with chromium to increase the resistance of stainless steel to corrosion and rust.

Stainless steel is a favorite of many cooks because it is a non-reactive metal. This means that it can be used to cook food with a strong alkaline or acid content without the stainless steel reacting and changing the taste and appearance of the food. The non-reactive nature also means that stainless steel will not corrode or pit when in contact with acidic or alkaline foods. In comparison, cookware made with uncoated or anodized aluminum and cast iron reacts with acidic or alkaline foods.

Stainless steel cookware is also extremely durable. It resists dents, scratches and is strong. Durability also makes stainless steel cookware easy to clean and maintain. There are no special cleaning requirements for stainless steel cookware the way there are nonstick and copper cookware. Therefore, most stainless steel items can be cleaned with dish soap and water.

Another reason many cooks choose stainless steel cookware is due to its effectiveness in browning and searing meats. Searing helps the meat retain its internal moisture, making it juicy and tender. The browning helps caramelize the meat, bringing out the flavor and color of the internal sugars in the meat.

Browning and searing food in stainless steel cookware also creates stuck-on food bits and residual oils left in the bottom of the pan known as “fond.” Cooks pour a liquid such as wine or stock into the pan which loosens the bottoms from the pan. This is known as deglazing. Grading is the foundation of many classic sauces and gravies, and the leaching is a key element of the flavor and richness of these sauces.

One thing the consumer should keep in mind when considering stainless steel cookware is that stainless steel, for all its benefits, is a poor conductor of heat. Because heat conduction is a critical element of cookware performance, stainless steel cookware is typically made with a copper or aluminum core and/or bottom plate. Copper and aluminum are very efficient conductors of heat and provide a much more even heat distribution than stainless steel alone. The consumer is encouraged to only consider and purchase stainless steel cookware made with copper or aluminum.

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