Everything under control at the stove - Cookware selection a matter of taste
>>> Cheaper cookware can also offer good quality >>> Materials selected depend on what the user wants >>> Put a lid on it >>>Special case: pressure cookers
Cookware prices vary widely. For a three-piece set, cooks can invest anything from EUR 25 to EUR 1000. Cookware selection, however, is not as simple as it seems at first sight - price and quality do not necessarily go hand in hand.
TÜV SÜD Product Service, TÜV SÜD Group, gives helpful tips for purchase and use.
Stainless steel, Teflon and others
The material you select depends on your preferences. If you are looking for a durable material with excellent heat retention, choose stainless-steel cookware. People with a serious nickel allergy, however, should take into account that traces of dissolved nickel may be present in the food when acid dishes such as sauerkraut are prepared. Cookware made of cast aluminium is easy to handle and to clean as most of it is Teflon coated. Kitchen tools, however, may scratch Teflon coating, so that we recommend using tools made of synthetic materials. This ensures that the Teflon remains on the cookware where it belongs, and avoids the danger of toxic gases -- although admittedly, these gases only develop at temperatures exceeding 260 degree Celsius, a temperature very rarely achieved in kitchens.
Glass is easy to clean, yet, a poor thermal conductor, while the exact opposite applies to copper cookware. Iron and enamel are both good thermal conductors, but have the disadvantage of being rather heavy. In addition, enamel must be of good quality, otherwise it could dissolve and get into the food. Enamel cookware tested by TÜV SÜD Product Service satisfies this requirement.
In cooking, the result is what counts. Tasty and delicious meals depend on food being evenly heated without burning. To achieve this, pans must have a completely flat base to ensure even heat distribution. To avoid a rude awakening, buy products distinguished by the TÜV SÜD Octagon or GS mark of TÜV SÜD Product Service, because these products have been tested for thermal deformation. As a general rule, the following applies: the thicker the base, the better the cookware. In addition, the base and sides should always have a rounded join, so that stirring reaches all the pan contents and nothing can burn. It also facilitates cleaning.
Food should be healthy and safe
Besides taste, vitamins also play an important role. Cooking vegetables with as little water as possible, for example, preserves significant more vitamins than boiling them in large amounts of water. However, for this preparation method pots or saucepans need a close-fitting lid. If the lid just rests on the sides of the pot or pan, the contact area should be large enough. Glass lids also preserve vitamins and energy as they enable the cooking process to be checked without lifting the pot lid.
In general, care should be taken to avoid lids with sharp edges or areas where food particles may be trapped. Cookware should have stable, easy-grip handles which must not become hotter than 70°C.
Energy saving is in
Our experts from TÜV Product Service recommend making sure that instructions on energy-efficient cooking are enclosed when you purchase cookware These instructions also contain information on how to select the correct cookware for the various hot plates. The pot or pan should not be too big for the hot plate, because food then heats too slowly. Nor should it be too small -- this would mean wasting energy.
Cooking with a pressure cooker is particularly energy-efficient. Since these pressure cookers operate under very high pressure, safety aspects play a major role. The appropriate certification mark of TÜV Product Service is a good decision-making aid. Other important factors are: Is the pressure cooker easy to operate? Are function and safety components easy to clean and service?