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Stainless Steel Cookware

Stainless steel cookware is made with stainless steel. The metal is a type of alloy.

Alloy is a combination of several metals to make the outcome better than individual elements.

For example, on its own, iron gets rusty easily. By adding chromium and nickel, the resulting alloy does not rust and also gets stronger.

There are several qualities of stainless steel. Three common ones are 18/10, 18/8 and 18/0.

The number 18 refers to 18% of chromium added to the alloy. 10 refers to the nickel proportion in the steel mixture.

18/0 is less expensive than 18/10 and most cutlery sold today is made from this material. 18/10 gives greater protection against corrosion and has a softer shine: most contemporary patterns are made from this top grade stainless steel.

18/0 and 18/10 are both fully dishwasher-safe 18/10 and 18/8 will not stick to magnet, 18/0 will stick to a magnet.

Consumers who don't buy aluminum pots and pans usually buy stainless steel. Stainless steel accounts for 43 percent of cookware sold today in the US. Stainless steel cookware and bake ware is exceptionally durable. Its attractive finish won't corrode or tarnish permanently, and its hard, tough, nonporous surface is resistant to wear.

Like other steels, stainless steel is an alloy a combination of iron and other metals. Unlike other steels, however, it contains at least 11 percent chromium. This chromium makes the steel stainless all the way through.

According to the Cookware Manufacturers Association, stainless steel may also contain other elements, such as nickel, molybdenum or titanium. These materials can contribute special hardness, high temperature resistance and resistance to scratching and corrosion to the finished stainless steel alloy.

As stainless steel does not conduct heat evenly, most stainless steel cookware is made with copper or aluminum bottoms. Manufacturers caution against allowing acidic or salty foods to remain in stainless steel for long periods. Although there are no known health hazards from leaching of the metal, undissolved salt will pit steel surfaces.

The best choice of a pot or pan depends upon whom you ask and what you want. A North Carolina father of three preteens relies on his nonstick fry pan to create perfect Sunday morning pancakes with no mess with use of little butter.

A New York Times food critic features anodized aluminum in his search for a better saute pan. A member of a Maryland food cooperative says she could never part with her familiar and durable cast-iron cookware.

For myself, I love my TupperChef Stainless Steel cookware. I have been using them for eight years and they still look good and turn out good meals for my family every time.

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