Taking Stock – How to Get the Most Out of Your Stock Pot
Winter is wreaking its frosty vengeance upon us. Outside, the wind, rain and chill are making life unpleasant for the poor souls unfortunate enough to be trapped in their clutches. Inside, however, there’s a huge stock pot of mouth-watering soup bubbling and simmering laconically over a nurturing flame. There are few more satisfying experiences than toiling over a vat of hearty, soul and body warming soups, stews, chilli and pasta when the mercury has plummeted. Whether you’re whipping up a large load to pop into the freezer for a rainy day, or feeding the hungry hoards, your stock pot is an indispensable tool in the kitchen. Aside from the comfort foods mentioned above, stock pots are Incredibly versatile. They’re ideal for cooking lobster, crab, whole ears of corn, and even stewing fruit and vegetables for jams, sauces and relishes. Oh yeah, you can also prepare stock in them!
It’s vital to consider a variety of factors when choosing the best stock pot for your needs. Read on to learn precisely what you should be looking for when shopping for your newest piece of cookware:
Stock pots are measured by diameter and volume, which results in a wide range of options from which to choose. The most common size is 24cm in 5.7L or 7.6L variations. If you’re going to be using your stock pot primarily for making sauces, stews, soups or pasta, the 24cm/5.7L option should be more than sufficient for your purposes. However, if you’re a homemade stock aficionado, consider opting for something above 24cm/7.6L as the extra space is more conducive to cooking in large quantities – a 26cm/9.5L stock pot may be better suited to your needs.
Get a Grip
Stock pots have two handles on either side to assist with lifting when filled and heavy. Look for handles that are securely riveted to the sides and are easy to grip – when you’re about to pick up a vat of boiling water, the last thing you want to worry about is fumbling around with awkwardly shaped handles! An extra point to keep in mind is to look for handles that are heat resistant, as this will limit your need to put on oven mitts when using your stock pot.
Deciding on the material for your new stock pot is a critical consideration. It can also be overwhelming one due to the variety of options on the market today. Let’s break it down:
- Non-stick stockpots are a breeze to use and clean and are a favourite with cooks everywhere as they prevent food from sticking to the base of the pot burning. Non-stick pots offer excellent heat conductivity and retention and require less oil than other varieties, which is what you’re looking for when you’re watching your waistline.
- Not only do Stainless steel pots look stunning in a contemporary kitchen, but they also offer second-to-none heat retention. Lightweight and sturdy without being too heavy, stainless steel pots are a classic choice of cookware enthusiasts. The only potential drawback is that they require careful upkeep to ensure they continue performing at their best.
- Hard anodised aluminium pots are electromagnetically treated to make them twice as hard as stainless steel and stick-resistant. They’re extremely easy to clean and dishwasher safe. Perfect for long and slow cooking, their durable surface ensures that they’ll last you for years without getting chipped or scratched.
- If superior heat control is a selling point for you, you’ll want to opt for a copper stock pot. An excellent heat conductor, copper also cools quickly when removed from heat, making it perfect for stove to table serving. Copper can be prone to scratching and tarnishing, which you can remedy by using mild detergents and non-abrasive sponges.
The last point to consider when shopping for a stock pot is its lid. If you prefer to check in on your cooking when it’s on the stove, a glass lid may be the best choice for you as you can see how your creation is progressing without releasing heat. Another handy option to keep an eye out for is a vented lid. This prevents your cooking from bubbling and spitting over your oven and reduces pressure as heat builds up in the pot.
Shopping for a new stock pot can be a confusing experience, with all the variations and combinations of size, materials and hardware. However, if you keep these main points in mind, you’ll be on your way to finding the perfect stock pot for your kitchen in no time. Happy cooking!