The kitchen. A source of joy for some people and absolute dread for others. For those who shudder at the thought of preparing another meal, getting to know your pans and their correct uses, will be half the battle won.
For instance, do you know the difference between a skillet and sauté pan? Is the pressure cooker better than a stock pot? We shall delve into the world of pans and attempt to increase your knowledge of your kitchenware.
Although these terms can be interchangeable, there are some subtle differences between a frying pan and a skillet. Both are constructed with a flat bottom and rounded, sloped sides. This makes them ideal for fast cooking times, with various types of oils, over a high heat. The sloped sides prevent steam from rising in the pan, and make dishing up food easier.
Some skillets can have raised ridges on the bottom, to allow excess fats and grease to be drained away. Some brands of skillets also have a slightly larger surface area. Frying pans and skillets tend to come without lids. These pans can be made from cast-iron, non-stick, stainless steel, copper or even ceramic. Frying pans/skillets are an essential piece of cookware in any kitchen for many things from frying simple eggs to making a stir fry.
The saucepan has a circular bottom, with tall, straight sides. This very versatile pan is the perfect choice when making sauces and soups. The bottom of the pan is wide, which allows the cooking of vegetables and meats in smaller amounts of liquid. The saucepan is ideal for slow cooking, which adds so many flavors to your cooking.
They can be used with or without a lid. The lid provides you with control over evaporation that can accelerate cooking. There are many uses for this resourceful pan from reheating leftovers to boiling noodles. Can come in all types of cookware materials.
The stock pot is a very large, tall, deep pot, with a flat bottom. Due to its height advantage, liquid foods that do not need to be so close to the heat, can be cooked. When making a stock, soup, or a stew, you can first sauté or brown the meat in the stock pot, and then add the liquids. It’s a great pot to keep pasta under water during boiling.
Not only can they be used for cooking, but they are great for when you need to dye a shirt! Most commonly available in stainless steel, aluminum and copper.
Typically an all-purpose pan from Asia, this pan with high sloping sides is perfect for many things. Traditionally they are 14 inches in diameter and made of carbon steel, but are available in a variety of different materials. The bottom of the wok gets very hot, while the sides stay cooler. Due to its design, you can move the ingredients around the pan, making sure everything is cooked to perfection. Fantastic for stir–frying, steaming and deep frying.
The pressure cooker is not a pan you will find in every kitchen, but one that can prove to be very useful. A pressure cooker allows you to cook a meal faster than normal. The lids seal completely, while the liquid is boiling inside. The resultant steam then builds up the pressure, which raises the cooking temperatures and shortens the cooking time.
Pressure cookers come in varying sizes from 3 quarts to really large 10 quarts. A detachable pressure regulator can change the pressure from low, medium or high, while the safety valve with automatically vent the resultant steam. Usually made with aluminum or stainless steel.
A roasting pan, or roaster, is a rectangular pan with short sides. The shape and short sides, allows the oven’s heat to get to as much of the food as possible. The large construction makes this pan essential for roasting large meats such as turkey or beef. Best used in the hot dry heat of the oven. Available in numerous materials.
Hopefully these brief explanations of your kitchen essentials will help guide you to creating that perfect meal. Who would have thought that there were so many types of pans and different ways to cook? With the above information, you can now select the method that is best for you and the meal you are going to cook, ensuring that the meal you make will have everyone coming back for seconds.
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