Cutting vegetables, preparing meat, sauteing, frying, grilling, watching ingredients materialise into a dish is a rewarding experience, especially when they turn out to be perfect. An essential part of this experience is the various cookware, like skillets, frying pans, saucepans, grills, etc. This cookware forms a central part of the kitchen, and it must be of top quality to ensure excellent results.
Of the many cookware, the saucepan is perhaps the most versatile of them all. A saucepan is traditionally used to boil soups, make broths and gravies. But it also lends itself to deep frying, seasoning salads and many other cooking processes.
THE MATTER OF MATERIALS
A saucepan’s material adds to the dish’s taste and defines each recipe’s cooking time and manner. Each material reacts differently with fire and ingredients, and people must know which material is best-suited to their cooking.
Cast Iron Saucepan
The cast-iron saucepan is a staple in many kitchens. It spreads heat evenly across its surface without any burn spots. Cast iron is quite heavy, and people will have to handle them properly. The material is perfect for retaining heat for long periods and is the best option for soups.
Stainless Steel Saucepan
Stainless steel, as the name suggests, is resistant to stains. It is effortless to clean and maintain and is also dishwasher safe. Stainless steel heats up quickly and evenly, though its heat retention is not as extended as the cast iron. Stainless steel is a budget-friendly option, which can cook any gravy to perfection.
Porcelain and Ceramic Saucepans
These pans come in various designs and colours and can complement the decor of the kitchen. This material is also quite stain resistant, requiring low maintenance. Ceramic also allows for even distribution of heat, which cooks every ingredient wholly and individually.
The copper saucepan is perhaps the most sold type in Australia. Its rose gold sheen and smooth finish make it very attractive. Additionally, with even heat distribution, copper is highly reactive to heat. This reactivity allows for more control over temperatures. The saucepan heats up and simmers almost as soon as the knob turns. Copper is also anti-microbial, ensuring the utmost hygiene in cooking. Storing a dish in copper also ensures hygiene for long periods.
Carbon Steel Saucepan
Carbon steel is a mixture of carbon, iron and steel, with more steel parts than iron. Carbon is highly reactive to heat and distributes it evenly along the surface, ensuring there are no cold spots. This saucepan can cook a broth to perfection.
A saucepan also has other customisations that can make it a handy tool in the kitchen,
The lid and Pouring Spout
A saucepan doesn’t usually include a lid, so it is better to ensure whether the saucepan one buys has a lid or not before-hand. These lids also come with a small hole to let out steam and maintain perfect temperatures when covering the saucepan.
A saucepan is usually used for cooking dishes of a liquid nature, and pouring spout on the rim of the saucepan ensures minimum spillage and mess.
Saucepans usually come with one handle. Having another handle opposite the default one ensures minimal chances of burning skin when holding the saucepan. This additional handle is the helper’s handle.
Non-stick saucepans, which deep fry or bake ingredients, are also available. Before popping the saucepan in the oven for baking, ensure it is oven-safe.