Selecting a pan for universal use

In many respects, the quality of the dish and the ease with which it is prepared depend on the correct choice of the pot. Let's compare the 7 basic types of pots and find out what type of pan can be called the most versatile and best.

7 kinds of saucepans - compare and lay out on the shelves

Enamelled pan

Enamelled Casserole

Pros: light, beautiful, it quickly boils water. And even in it you can store food in the refrigerator, as the enamel protects it from oxidation and exposure to metal salts.

It is better suited for: cooking soups, compotes, side dishes.

Cons: enamel - the coating is fragile, and therefore - temporary and requires careful handling. It can not be rubbed with abrasives and washed with acidic solutions, such as vinegar and citric acid, so as not to spoil the enamel.

Enamelled Casserole - скол эмали

As soon as the enamel is frayed or lost as in the photo above, the dishes become unsuitable, since the open metal will begin to "give" food harmful to the health of the salt.

Bad for: cooking syrups and jams.

How to choose an enamel saucepan: enamelled pots can be enameled in two ways: by dipping or spraying. Today, many modern manufacturers apply enamel on the dishes with the help of spraying, but this coating turns out to be thin and short-lived. Therefore, look for an enameled pan of Russian production, which is made using dipping technology. The method of coating is easy to determine, you only need to find on the outside of the dishes 2-4 dark dots - these are the places to which the fasteners were installed before coating with enamel as shown in the photo below.

How to choose enameled dishes

Another important point is the color of the enamel inside the pan. If from the outside it can be any, then inside only: black (but not brown), white, cream (but not yellow), gray-blue and blue. The enamel of any color is toxic. Also check the pan for chipped and gaps on the walls and remember the thicker the enamel, the longer it will last.

Aluminum pan without coating

Aluminum Casserole

Pros: easy, cheap, quickly heats up.

It is better for: boiling milk, cooking eggs, dumplings and pasta.

Cons: easy to deform and eventually darkens, aluminum dishes can change the taste of food due to the properties of aluminum react with acids and alkali, it releases toxic metal salts in very small doses that accumulate in the body over time.

Poorly suitable for: cooking children's and dietary dishes, preparing complex dishes, for example, pilaf, as well as acidic foods.

How to choose a pan made of aluminum: choose dishes with an even and thick bottom (more than 3 mm), thick walls (more than 1, 5 mm) and a tightly seated cover. Also pay attention to the handles - they should not be welded, but bolted to the bolts as shown in the photo above.

Cast-iron pan

Cast-iron pan

Плюсы: чугун – долговечен, не боится царапин, безопасен и даже полезен для здоровья, так как «отдает» малые дозы железа. Еще одно преимущество – чугун имеет натуральное «антипригарное покрытие», которое формируется из масла, впитавшегося в пористое дно чугуна. Cast-iron pan долго остывает, а блюда в ней получаются самыми вкусными благодаря той же пористости.

Suitable: for extinguishing, and for cooking, and for frying, and for baking dishes in the oven. Of course, pilau and meat dishes are especially delicious in cast-iron dishes.

Cons: cast iron pans are the heaviest, they can not be washed in a dishwasher, they are heated for a long time, which increases the cooking time, it is also undesirable to store food and leave water for a long time, since cast iron is prone to rust.

How to choose a cast iron pan: the darker, porous and heavier the cast iron, the better it is. A sign of substandard cast-iron dishes is the smoothness of the surface and the relative ease (a good 3-liter cast-iron pan should weigh more than 4 kg).

Cast-iron pan

Pan with non-stick Teflon coating

Teflon coated pan

Pros: quickly heats up, and most importantly - practically does not require the use of oil.

It is better for: cooking dietary dishes.

Cons: as soon as Teflon sputtering is damaged, the dishes become harmful to health, as food during cooking will be filled with carcinogenic toxic gases. Teflon coating, even with careful use, will last only 1 year.

Example of defective Teflon

How to choose a saucepan with Teflon coating: the more laminated Teflon, the longer it will last. The number of layers is indicated on the package. Before buying the dishes, make sure that the non-stick coating has an ideal smoothness (in the photo above, an example of how it should not be). Keep in mind that the choice of a stainless steel pan with Teflon coating will not be justified, since such models are expensive, but do not last long, because Teflon, even multi-layered, still sooner or later "peels off".

Pan of refractory / refractory ceramics

Casserole from heat-resistant ceramics

Pluses: it is environmentally friendly and absolutely safe for health, and therefore it is good to store food in the refrigerator, it also does not affect the taste of food, has no propensity for burning (until the glaze of ceramics is not rubbed) and retains heat for a long time.

It is better suited for: stewing vegetables, cooking stews and roasts, game, as well as it can bake dishes in the oven.

Cons: require the use of a flame divider, heavier than aluminum pans and are more expensive. Pottery can crack from falling, afraid of scratches from metal appliances and washing with abrasives. As soon as the icing on the bottom is wiped, the food will begin to burn, and the pan - to absorb the fat, which complicates its cleaning. Remember that you can not lower the ceramic pan into cold water immediately after cooking or put on the fire the dishes that have just been removed from the refrigerator, since from a sharp temperature drop it can crack or burst. Also, to avoid splitting the tank, do not allow the complete boiling-out of the water during cooking.

Advice for choice: a good pan should have a bottom thickness of 4-7 mm and accordingly, a large weight, for example, three-liter dishes should weigh more than 2 kg.

Pan of refractory / heat-resistant glass

Casserole from heat-resistant glass

Pluses: a glass pan can be immediately placed on the table, as it looks nice, safe for health, not prone to burning, easy to clean and can be washed in a dishwasher, well suited for baking dishes in the oven and storing dishes in the refrigerator, for a long time preserves heat;

It is better for: cooking garnishes, soups, compotes, cereals.

Cons: can not be put on a gas burner without a fire divider (photo below), it can break from falling and a sharp temperature drop.

Casserole from heat-resistant glass с рассекателем огня для газовой плиты

Bad for: stewing and frying.

Tips for choice: make out all the dishes in the light - the walls should be free of air bubbles, otherwise it may burst during cooking. It is important that the glass is not cloudy and opaque. The color of a good glass pan should have a bluish, turquoise hue.

Steel saucepan (stainless steel and medical steel)

stainless steel saucepan

Pros: almost perfect cookware - stainless steel pan impact resistant, durable, durable, not afraid of scratches from knives, forks and whiskers, evenly warmed up. Also, stainless steel pans are easy to clean - they can be cleaned with metal sponges and scrapers. Professional cooks are most often cooked in stainless steel cookware.

Better suitable for: universal, but more suitable for cooking and quenching than for frying food.

Cons: a good saucepan with a thick bottom is expensive, eventually fades, at the bottom there are indelible stains and stains, heated more slowly than aluminum pans.

Marking of a stainless steel pan

How to choose a stainless steel saucepan: Look for a marking on the package or bottom of the dish with the numbers: 18/10, 08/13, 12/13 or 12/18. The first figure is the chromium content in the stainless steel alloy, and the second is the nickel. The more the first value, the better the dishes, respectively, stainless steel with the marking 18/10 - the best, and it is such an alloy is called medical steel. The thicker the bottom and walls of dishes (the bottom - more than 3 mm, the walls - more than 0.5 mm in thickness), the more uniform the heating, and the food will not burn when frying and stewing dishes. Ideally, it is better to choose a saucepan with a double or triple bottom. But the marking declared by the manufacturer is not a guarantee of quality.

We propose to look at the following plot of the "Control Purchase" about how to choose the right pan from stainless steel with a glass lid and how to recognize a fake, etc.

6 main recommendations

  1. From whatever material the dishes are made, choosing from two similar models, choose one that has thicker walls and a bottom, as well as more layers of non-stick coating (if any);
  2. With a good saucepan, the handles should be bolted, not welded;

How to choose the right saucepan

  1. Always check the dishes for defects;
  2. The lid should sit tightly on the dishes and do not fall when it is tilted;
  3. The bottom must be level and stable;
  4. It is better not to buy cookware whole set. Make a set of containers of different not only in size, but also in the type of material. For example, for the preparation of pilaf and meat dishes is irreplaceable cast-iron kazanok, for extinguishing vegetables a ceramic saucepan is useful, for cooking soups - enameled, for cooking dietary dishes get Teflon model, for fast cooking eggs an aluminum small scoop will fit and, of course, do not forget to buy a universal kitchen utensils - stainless steel saucepan. It should be as high-quality as it is in it that you will most often cook. Read the dimensions of the dishes below.

How much pot should I choose?

What is the optimum pan size? A medium-sized pan with a volume of 3 liters is considered to be universal. In this capacity, you can cook soups, garnishes, meat, and compotes. But it is better to have in the kitchen a set of several pots of different sizes, shapes and types.

For cooking soups and compotes: the volume of the pot for cooking soups and compotes is chosen at the rate of 1 liter per one member of the family. That is, for a small family of 3 people is quite enough to get a 3-liter dishes. If you like to cook soups with a margin, then choose a larger pot.

For cooking eggs, vegetables, side dishes: a small pan with a volume of 1-2 liters.

For cooking porridge for 1-2 servings and sauces: pans with a volume of less than 1 liter.

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