It’s a typical weeknight in your kitchen. Tonight, you’re making a healthy vegetable and seafood bowl that feeds four, and you’re secretly banking on a hearty helping of leftovers for lunch tomorrow. In the oven, you’re roasting broccoli. On the cooktop, you’re sautéing shrimp and mushrooms. The table is set with your favorite spring time plates and cloth napkins (you know it’s still February, but your table says “bring on the sunshine”). It’s finally time to combine the ingredients, and that’s when you realize your large stir-fry pan is…nonexistent because you never purchased one? Hiding in a drawer somewhere? Not large enough to contain all your ingredients? All of the above?
It’s a common scenario many of us face. Purchasing the right cookware, and caring for it properly, is often not quite as top of mind as, say, grocery shopping or updating your kitchen décor. But, why do pots and pans often play second fiddle to other kitchen mainstays? While plates, bowls, mugs often double as décor or statement pieces, our trusty cookware is often much more utilitarian. Even so, we all know that to cook healthy, mouthwatering meals, our kitchens must be stocked with the right tools. Here are my top three tips to help you get the most out of your cookware:
1. Select the Right Cookware for Your Kitchen. While you may think all pots and pans are alike, there are several things to consider when choosing the right ones for your kitchen and your cooking style.
First, consider your appliances—specifically, your cooktop. If you have an induction cooktop, like the Bosch Induction Cooktop, you’ll want to insure your cookware is magnetized, since induction cooking uses magnetic energy as its heating source. For this application, try adding cast iron pans to your rotation. These pans are inherently magnetized, and are oven-safe, making them perfect for a seamless cooktop to oven transfer. Similarly, pans made out of carbon steel offer a more classic look and feel without the added weight of cast iron. These pans work beautifully with induction cooktops, and, as an added bonus, become naturally non-stick after just a few uses.
Second, consider the size of your household. If you have a family of 6, you’ll need larger pots and pans for everything from scrambling eggs for brunch to sautéing vegetables for dinner. If your family is smaller, you won’t need a quart-sized pot nearly as often. Stash one or two toward the back of the cabinet for small dinner parties, and focus on small to mid-size cookware that better suits your lifestyle.
2. Buy Open Stock Cookware. Let’s face it: Most of us don’t replace our pots and pans on a regular basis. Because of this, when the time does come for a cookware upgrade, it’s often easy to be attracted to those large box sets boasting 50 pieces for one low price. But tempting as it may be, how many of those pieces would you really use? In reality, purchasing cookware in bulk turns your kitchen cabinets into a storage vehicle for items you’ll never use, creating wasted, and cramped, space. Skip the kitchen clutter and opt, instead, for open stock cookware. By choosing the items you know you’ll use on a regular basis, you’ll always have the right tools for your cooking habits, no matter how adventurous you decide to get with next week’s dinner menu.
3. Smart Storage Habits. Ah, yes. Storage. If you’re anything like me, the tricky part of shopping (one of my favorite pastimes) is figuring out where to store all the great things you’ve purchased.
When it comes to cookware, this challenge is one that plagues most all of us. To use your space to its fullest extent, set aside one to two drawers or cabinets that will house cookware only. By keeping a special area for your cookware, you will always have a designated space to look when it’s time to start cooking dinner. Then, lay everything out on your counter to discover which items are best for stacking. With a bit of strategy, you’ll find that most of your pots and pans do fit inside each other beautifully! Finally, grab a box of coffee filters from your local supermarket, and lay one filter inside each pan before stacking to insure your pans won’t scratch each other when being moved in and out of the cabinet.
Do you have a favorite cookware storage trick? Let us know in the comment section below.
Danny Seo is a brand ambassador for Bosch home appliances. For more inspiring ideas to live a healthier, natural lifestyle, visit DannySeo.com.