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When you are setting out to buy cookware you are often overwhelmed the vast number of choices that there are in the market today.Today we are going to look at one question in particular: Is cooking with stainless steel safe?.
We will look a little into how stainless steel is made and what you need to look at in order to make sure you make the best choices when you are choosing.
Stainless steel is one of the safer options when it comes to cookware and it is often used by professional chefs all over the world because of the robust qualities that this cookware has. Before you turn away happy in the knowledge that the best of the best use this there are a few things that you should be aware of before you make your choice
To start with let us look at what stainless steel is made from. This is a mixture of metals and chemicals, including Iron, carbon, chromium and nickel and other elements. ( if you would like to read more about it check out the wikipedia page.
One of the main advantages of stainless steel is that it does not rust or corrode like other metals such as iron and aluminium and do there is not a coating that is needed. This makes the surface so much more robust and long lasting as there is all you need to do with it is clean it after use and even it does get scratched there will be no effect.
All you good you say so if this is all the case why the article, you could have just said use and been done with it, Here is the catch with Stainless steel, there are different grades of stainless steel that is used in the various cookware and so this will actually have a direct affect on the quality of the cookware as well as what chemicals could potentially go into your food.
With the lower qualities of stainless steel there is a chance that some of the elements making it up like nickel can be leached into your foods. While this is a small risk it is something that you should take into account.
If you would like to read more then please have a look at my article on healthy cookware.
Although Stainless steel is not nonstick there are ways to get around this and infact you there are techniques that the professionals use that will easily get around this including the use of oils etc when cooking.
I have put together this guide here to cooking with stainless steel
There is a lot of technical information out there about the different grades of stainless steel.
To boil it all down for you the best options that you should be looking for are the 300 series stainless steel, this is the most corrosion resistant and the least likely to leach elements into your food.
What this translates into is the stamp at the bottom of stainless steel cookware saying either 18/10 or 18/8 ( this indicates how much chromium or nickel, in terms of percentage, the alloy contains).
It is also important to to get the better quality stainless steel as this will have better induction cooking properties. If you have an electrical or gas stove you can get a little portable induction cooktop and this cookware can be used on all of them.
The simple answer is that it is generally better than nonstick as it is more robust and more healthy for you. There are however a few things that you should consider:
- What types of foods do you eat – some foods cook at lower temperatures and so actually the non stick option might be better for you.
- Stainless steel will tend to be more expensive than the nonstick brands but remember it will last longer.
- Stainless is more robust and will almost always outlast the nonstick versions.
- Nonstick is much better for those who a looking to cook without the use of oils etc.
- Stainless steel is better for searing meats (like cooking steaks )
I hope that I have given you some food for thought on this. There is really no real definitive answer on this as I have shown you that there are other options that might be better depending on what you are looking for.
I would suggest that if you can go for the stainless steel then you should, you can also have a mixture of nonstick and stainless and this would work to.
It is always important to remember that you should buy the absolute best that you can afford when buying cookware.
Your health is priceless and should be invested into by you whenever you can and this is especially important when it comes to cooking.
About the author
Understanding the science behind cooking helps me to figure out which tools are best suited for a particular job.
I like to help people better understand exactly what it is that they need when it comes to buying for the kitchen.
Making the right choice is easier when you know what it is you need to get.