The great advantage of stainless steel fittings is its durability and appearance along with the low maintenance it requires. Being an extremely hard alloy, the chances of it being chipped or scratched during normal use are almost nil. It will not rust and with regular care and cleaning stainless steel parts can last a lifetime. Stainless steel utensils do not react with food during the cooking process and will not be affected by being used to prepare food with a high acid content. The attractive shiny surfaces of stainless steel, either as a single piece or as part of a set of stainless steel items, will add to the decoration of the kitchen.
A large variety of utensils are made of stainless steel including stockpots, sauté pans, frying / skillets / omelet pans and casseroles. There are many reputable makers of stainless steel appliances and among the best known are KitchenAid, Le Creuset, All-Clad, Calphalon and Cuisinart.
What makes stainless steel items of good quality
1. The better the quality of the stainless steel, the better the particular items. Nickel is an important component of the alloy and the higher the nickel content, the better the quality of the stainless steel. When purchasing stainless steel cookware, check the specifications for nickel content. A common specification is given as “18/10”. This means that stainless steel is made with 18% chromium and 10% nickel. A utensil with this specification will be made of a better metal grade than one with an “18/8” specification.
2. One problem with stainless steel is that it is not a good conductor of heat. This means that your cooking time will be longer and that the utensils may not heat up evenly, causing hot spots that can affect the food being cooked. To overcome this, manufacturers use what is called a 3-layer construction technique that involves a sandwich layer of either aluminum or copper between 2 layers of stainless steel. Copper or aluminum are good conductors of heat and will compensate for the slow and uneven heating that you will bet when cooking with pure stainless steel utensils and ensure rapid and uniform heating.
3. Search for tight fitting lids to prevent heat loss during cooking.
4. Cheap kitchenware made of stainless steel, are made with screw on handles made of plastic which tend to loosen and fall off and can be dangerous if you are using heavy pots.
5. Buy stainless steel appliances with “keeps the handles cool” which, at least for a while, stay fresh but are also safe to use in the oven.
6. Try lifting the pots and see if the handle design allows you to lift (keep in mind that it will be heavier when full of food) comfortably.
7. Make sure the particulars of the particulars ovenproof. This allows you to transfer the pot from the stove directly to the oven without transferring the food to another container.
8. Most good quality stainless steel fittings come with a lifetime warranty. Check the warranty terms before you buy and make sure you can follow the cleaning and maintenance instructions so that the warranty is not voided.
9. If you are using an induction stove or planning to get one, buy stainless steel cookware with a magnetic exterior that allows stainless steel pans as well as pots to be used for induction cooking.
10. And finally, look for a design that will fit into your kitchen decor and also look good on the dining table.
Some final suggestions
Always buy the best quality that fits within your budget. Compromising on the quality of your particulars defeats the purpose of buying something that should last you a lifetime.
Buying sets of stainless steel items is generally cheaper than buying single pieces. But don’t let this economy lead you to buy utensils you won’t use. Keep in mind the size of your family, food and cooking habits and only buy stainless steel utensils that you will be able to use. The sets come in various sizes so you should be able to find one that has just what you are looking for.
Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s cleaning and maintenance instructions to ensure that your lifetime dining set really does last that long. Although kitchenware made of stainless steel is safe for washing dishes, the instructions of the brand you buy, may advise cleaning with a fine powder clean using hot water. The manufacturer may have found that this will protect the luster and shine.