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Is Organic Food the Best We Can Buy?

“Go organic” is something that all of us have heard about a lot. And to go all organic, we have to spend a significant amount of money as organic food products cost like 60% more than typical food products.

Such is the case because of the high production costs. As to the answer to the question of whether it is “worth” it – it is arguable.

What is ‘Organic Food’ Anyway?

The food products that are produced by fulfilling certain standards of “organic farming” are called organic foods. To put it in simpler terms, the foods that are grown in a natural setting, i.e., without any artificial fertilizers/pesticides or, GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms).

For example – meats that are termed as ‘organic’ come from the animals that did not undergo any hormones or antibiotic injections.

Are Organic Foods Really ‘Organic?’

A major portion of the consumers have doubts about the “organic” part of organic foods. They have stated that they believe that the “organic” labeling is there just to charge more.

Are Organic Foods Really ‘Organic

There have been some instances of these food products not being “completely organic” that made the majority of the consumers so skeptical. But researches have suggested that there are some significant differences between conventional food products and organic food products.

Does It Make a Difference?

There have been some doubts regarding the significance of the number of residual pesticides in food products. The number of residual pesticides in conventional foods may not be enough to bring harm to human health.

It has also been pointed out by some of the skeptics of organic foods that the “natural” pesticides used in organic farming may have harmful impacts on the human body as scientists are still searching for answers.

The same goes for nutritional value as studies have shown no significant difference between organic and conventional foods when it comes to nutritional value.

The Impacts of Organic Foods on the Human Body

Firstly, the amount of residual pesticide in organic foods is 5 times less than that of conventional food products. Secondly, these food products also have a lower level of harmful metals in comparison to conventional food products.

Thirdly, organic foods contain more nutritional value than typical foods do. Lastly, the consumption of organic foods does not help in developing antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the body.

A Few Other Ways of Measuring the “Worth”

Organic methods of farming ensure increased bio-diversity, comparatively better health of the soil and, prolonged sustainability of the arable lands, making them all about production values.

But organic farming has only proved to be environmentally friendly when its impacts were measured per acre and not per product unit. Conventional farming has proved to have detrimental health effects on the farmers while organic farming has not.

Also, organic farming is necessary for the further economic progression of a country as it has the ability to eliminate corporate monopoly.

Conclusion

Is organic food really the best? Well, maybe, maybe not. But if we want organic without emptying our wallets, we should the following;

  • Buying bulk, organic foods prioritizing pregnant women and children,
  • Buying food products that are “in season,”
  • Growing one’s own food, if possible.
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Stainless Steel Cookware: What to Check Before Buying

Before heading into cookware made of stainless steel, we need to try and understand what the material is and why it is appealing to the cookware buyers.

With the lowest of ten and a half percent of chromium in its mass, stainless steel counts as a type of steel. The material is resistant to corrosion, meaning that it resists staining, rust, and tarnishing. The high resistance feature makes it appealing to people who are looking for appliances of low maintenance.

Also, cookware of stainless steel is convenient to sterilize and clean. You can cleanse and steam clean the material quite quickly. Although stainless steel comes with a lot of benefits, you have to consider some factors before buying cookware made of them.

Let’s talk about why you should buy cookware made of stainless steel that you need to check in them before you buy them.

Reasons to Consider Stainless Steel

The main issue with stainless steel is heat conductivity as compared to aluminum it is less by sixteen times.

This means that the stainless steel will need sixteen times longer to reach the same temperature as the aluminum cookware. Also, if you do not know how to use this cookware correctly, most food will be sticking to the surface.

Reasons to Consider Stainless Steel

Although there are issues, you get a lot of benefits from the stainless steel to consider buying cookware made of it. These are:

  • Durability

You can scrub, scratch and bang it, but it will still work as it’s way harder than copper or aluminum. The melting point is quite higher than the two.

  • Looks Good

The shiny and polished look of the stainless steel is difficult to beat.

  • Ease of Maintenance

You do not need to take much care of the cookware made of stainless steel. If it is looking dull, you need but a little bit of water and vinegar to restore the sparkle and shine.

  • Nonreactive

Stainless steel does not react in contact with food like aluminum and copper reacts.

  • Versatility

You can poach, stew, steam, braise, boil, sauté, and fry properly using the stainless steel kind of cookware.

With but a few limitations, the stainless steel can be considered the safest option of cookware at the market.

Factors to Consider for Buying

If you are at the market to buy some good cookware set made of stainless steel, it is quite unlikely that you will be carrying calipers to measure cookware for their material’s thickness or perhaps the weight scale to check their weight. However, you need to keep some things in mind.

  1. Stainless Steel Grade

The first thing to check in cookware is whether the material ratio is eighteen by eight or eighteen by ten since they are considered as the standard for measuring if the quality is good.

Most of the cookware in the market will have these numbers at their bottom, stamped, or on the box of the cookware. If you cannot find this information, look onto the next features and see if they match.

  1. The Cookware’s Weight

Not getting too technical with the side or base’s thickness or what a ‘right’ thickness has to be, good quality cookware of stainless steel will come with a ‘heft’ that you can feel as you lift the cookware up.

The Cookware’s Weight

If the pot is heavier, that means that it was made using more materials and it was quite expensive for its manufacturers to produce. So, the cookware will be much pricier for your wallet.

Also, the heavier cookware tends to be sturdier as well as less likely when it comes to having hot spots so that you can cook your food more evenly. They are less susceptible to dings and dents.

  1. The Core Material Used

As far as conducting heat goes, stainless steel is poor material. When buying, you should check to make sure that the cookware is made with copper or aluminum core and cladding. The aluminum or copper adds far better heat conductivity to the stainless steel’s durability.

The core of cookware is the disc at a pan’s bottom, and the layer that is along the sides and base is called the called or ply. Cookware that comes with cladding is generally costlier than the ones that only have a core of metal. Also, copper made cookware is always costlier than the ones made using aluminum.

Without having any hotspots, stainless steel cookware’s performance is primarily dependent on its efficiency to spread the heat around the body. The aluminum or copper core’s thickness determines this spread of heat. An increase in the thickness of the core will also increase the ability to distribute heat evenly.

One thing you need to remember is that the aluminum core is required to be three times thicker than the copper core to achieve the same level of heat distribution. That means cookware featuring the aluminum core offers a base that is thicker than the one offered by the copper alternative.

On the off chance you are trying to figure out the cookware’s quality using weight as you compare two sets of them, make sure to be comparing cookware of the same type. For example, compare copper with copper and aluminum with aluminum and not interchangeable.

  1. The Feel of the Cookware in the Hands

A physical store is better than ordering online if you want to check the feel of the cookware in the hands. See if they feel properly balanced and weighted. Also, if the fit of lids is snugly and the ease and sturdiness of grip on the handles and knobs.

The Feel of the Cookware in the Hands

Riveted knobs, as well as handles, tend to be more secure compared to the welded kind. However, it is harder to clean around them. The manufacturers of higher-end cookware resort to a construction that is rivetless. As a result, the interior’s surface becomes smoother.

  1. The Cookware Brand’s Reputation

Lastly, go with a cookware brand that is quite reputed in case of good quality. You can get a good set of cookware at any budget, but make sure the brand has a proper reputation and good reviews.

Conclusion

The cookware of stainless steel will offer you great value for your money. If you want to get yourself a set of them, this guide will help you pick out the best from the available ones in the market.

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Conventional Cooking vs. Induction Cooking: Head to Head

Everyone cooks differently. Everyone has their comfort zones. Everyone is divided between conventional cooking and induction cooking.

The principle of cooking, for a long time, has been cooking in a pot that is put on a hot surface. This is still true today. The only difference is the cookware.

The problem with such a system is that the heat is only directly applied to the parts the pot touches the stove. The rest of the pot is heated by conduction. This makes different parts of the pot be heated at different levels, and the overall taste of the food degrades.

Cue in: Induction stoves. These bad boys are a solution to the aforementioned problems. It not only heats the whole pot equally it can also control concise temperatures and hold them if and when required.

This article is here to explain the pros and cons of both types of cooking.

What is Conventional Cooking?

Since the day man invented fire, man learned to cook slowly. This evolution has brought the conventional norms of cooking on a stove. This method required fire which is powered through gas or electricity. It is more widespread in use currently.

conventional Cooking

Modern conventional cooking requires an exhaust fan to ease out the heat from the kitchen. Moreover, it also needs a fan that will help distribute the heat from the flame in the pot. This is the sort of cooking method we all grew up watching.

Pros

The advantages of having a conventional cooking stove are mentioned below:

  • Full Proof

Most of the recipes written are conditioned to match a conventional cooking stove. There is no way to ignore its commonness. Moreover, it usually comes with the house, rather than having to make it on your own.

  • Has An Exhaust Fan

Things can get a bit heated in the kitchen. What can you do in that case? Yes, you get an exhaust fan.

The only function of this fan is to take the hot air away from the inside of the kitchen to the outside of the house. In this way, fresh air circulation is created. Thus, the kitchen feels a lot less suffocating.

  • Conventional Over Can Be Attached

More often than not, conventional cooking stoves have an over-attached right under them. It is called a conventional oven. It is usually required for roasting and baking.

conventional cooking stoves

If you have enough experience, you can start to cook within the oven itself. It has better heat induction than the above stove and has an overall better taste to it. Moreover, it makes your kitchen complete and not have to waste space behind an electric oven.

Cons

The disadvantages of having a conventional cooking stove are given below:

  • Requires A Lot More Hands-On Time

Because you tend to repeatedly lift the lid of the cookware in order the turn the food around, a lot of the heat from inside escapes. This delays an already long wait for the food to be cooked.

Most people are already used to this, but as time goes and people have lesser and lesser time on their hands, this issue will be a much more significant factor then.

  • Food Is Cooked Unevenly

The main issue to be addressed here is the food either not cooking entirely or remaining raw in places. For any cook, this is worrisome. Not only is his skill going to be questioned, but it will also be due to a problem in the system, not even of his own.

This happens even after all the moving and the flipping and the turning of the food inside. Some parts of the food get overcooked, some get undercooked. And it is heart-breaking to find out that a portion of your hard-worked cook is nothing but left raw.

What is Induction Cooking?

Induction Cooking

The evolved version of modern cooking, induction stove. This is an electrically powered stove that cooks in a more energy-efficient way. It is also much less complicated to use than a regular conventional stove.

Pros

The pros of an induction cooking stove are given below:

  • Efficiency

It is deduced in a survey by “Consumer Reports” that an induction cooking stove is 25%-50% more energy-efficient. That means you save that much more money behind utility bills. Moreover, this type of stove offers temperature adjustments and control which a conventional cooking stove never can.

  • Safety

Cooking in an induction stove means you get to avoid the fire and the hot metal coils. There have been accidents due to leaving clothing on the stove. Incidents directly injuring people have also taken place.

Safety For Cooking

This sort of issue cannot take place through an induction cooking stove. The only way someone can get hurt by this sort of stove is if they turn it on and purposefully put body parts on it. I’m sure you are not negligent enough to let that happen.

Cons

The cons of an induction cooking stove are given below:

  • Cookware

Because induction cooking stove is so new in the market, not all types of cookware can be used to cook into it. Moreover, the process of this specific cookware is high. This results in the savings above made through the switch, almost redundant.

  • Vibrations

During cooking on an induction cooking stove, there have been complaints of a faint humming or vibration from the pot. This usually isn’t a big deal but is on hindsight, an annoyance towards the people in the kitchen. It isn’t a big deal but surely a drawback.

  • Uncommon

As mentioned in the first point, the whole system of induction cooking is new to the market. As a result, most recipes are directed to the conventional cooking stove system. It makes the lives just that much harder for everyone in trying to convert the temperature requirements to and fro.

Conclusion

The debate will live on for the foreseeable future. However, this article can conclude that the conventional cooking stove system is great for the typical family, who like to have the time to cook, sit and eat like a family.

However, if you are an individualistic personality, you’d prefer the time-efficient induction cooking stove system.

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Apron sink vs farmhouse sink: head to head battle

Mr. Adam wanted to renovate his old wooden house. He was a man of culture and wanted to follow an old-school theme for doing so. He asked for suggestions from his friends and colleagues. Some suggested for farmhouse sinks and others told him to go for apron sinks.

Being an enthusiast, he searched for both the sinks online but became confused after seeing the results. The design and features of both the sinks looked exactly the same.

Then why did they have different names? Not only Mr. Adam but also many other people wonder about the odds between these two sinks.

So, without any further ado, let us deep dive into the details brought to you by [brand name] and remove our confusion about these two sinks for good!

Basically, there is no difference!

Yes. This is a very popular opinion among many of the users that there is practically no difference between the farmhouse sink and the apron sink!

Both of them are to be placed between the countertops and balanced over the cabinetries. Both have a large deep bowl-like shape, extending over the edge of the cabinets for 2-3 inches. Both show the front surface part which is known as the “front apron”.

People use both of the sinks for the same purpose, washing vegetables, cleaning dishes and glass-wares or even bathing little babies! Then why are they named different actually?

The most acceptable answer to this question may be hidden in their origin. The farmhouse sinks belong to an age-old era, when no system of in-house plumbing was discovered. People had to fetch water from rivers, wells or canals and reserve it for day-long use.

That’s why the sinks were made in such a shape, with the ability to hold the preserved water for a long time in the farmhouses.

But with the advent of time, the plumbing and sanitary systems developed and the need for water reservation died with time.

Nevertheless, the design of such a sink still remained popular among the people. So, the same product was marketed with a brand-new name, from ‘farmhouse sink’ to ‘apron sink’, basically having no particular difference.

But we can’t ignore some prominent differences existing between the two models of the same origin! Now, let’s jump to the next part of our argument.

Differences between farmhouse sinks and apron sinks

  • Material

There is a famous dogma that fireclay or cast-iron sinks are the original farmhouse sinks. Sinks of other materials are not the authentic farmhouse sinks.

Well, if we follow this dogma, then it becomes clear to us that people are more placid in believing that the stainless-steel sinks, copper sinks, marble sinks are of the apron sink generation. So, here we can mark our first difference between the two sinks!

  • Design

The next point to be debated is the design of the two sinks. Originally, the farmhouse sinks installed in the farmhouses were heavy in weight and large in size.

They came with not only the bowl in the middle but also with drainboards on both sides of it and with a backsplash behind.

Sink Design

The backsplash had holes for installing faucets. These sinks were to be installed across the whole of the countertop area.

But with time, this design got changed. The new design includes a smaller area consisting of the single bowl only, with no backsplashes or drying area.

These modern forms of the farmhouse sink are actually named the front apron sink. Although the original design is rarely found these days, some apron sinks are sold in the name of farmhouse sinks.

  • Installation Process

The farmhouse sinks come with a top-mount installation system. Though it will be a good choice for a butcher block countertop, it will also work with any kind of countertop. Moreover, you won’t have to worry about water damage caused to the exposed edge of the countertop next to the sink.

On the other hand, the apron sinks are built in both under mount and top-mount system. The under mount-varieties make the sinks able to be installed under the surface of the countertop.

They have a more modern and timeless look. But you have to cautiously seal the blank space in the middle of the countertop and the sink, to prevent water damage.

  • Usage

The farmhouse sinks usually have a deeper bowl than the other kitchen sinks available in the market. This certainly has a great advantage for people who have to work a lot of time in the kitchen.

For example, the dish-washer employees of the hotels and restaurants have to continuously wash dishes in the sink for 4-8 long hours.

The extended part of the front apron makes it easier for such people as they don’t have to lean too much to reach the faucet. It helps reduce their back pain.

Some apron sinks are less deep than the farmhouse sinks. So, if you have to pass a lot of time working in the sink, you should go for the farmhouse sink.

So, that’s all folks! From the critical discussion above, we can conclude by saying that, originally both the sinks are the same in nature. But some subtle differences in their build quality makes them different from each other.

The original farmhouse sinks are rare to be found in the market. Whatever is sold in the name of farmhouse sinks, are actually apron sinks, to be honest!

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How to Clean and Season Cast Iron Cookware?

Cast iron cookware has been a favorite among people since 5th century BC. The Chinese invented it first by putting the iron into molds. Steel was preferable in making things too. It was cheaper at that time, and people started using it to make things of daily use. After the 15th century, it became popular in the West.

If you haven’t used cast iron cookware in your cooking yet, you are missing out on something great. Cast iron cookware is famous for their resilience and the capacity of retaining heat for a long time.

People love using cast iron cookware for its amazing features which are different from the cookware made of other materials. Although cast iron cookware is recommended by many to use in cooking food, it has some downsides as well. It needs great care and seasoning if one wishes it to last for a long time.

Cast Iron Cookware

Cast iron is basically a combination of iron and carbon where the amount of carbon is 2%-4%. Other minerals such as silicon, manganese, sulfur, and phosphorus are also found in its composition.

Cast Iron Cookware

It distributes the heat beneath the cooking pot evenly. It takes too much time to get heated after the fire gets turned on. On the other hand, it consumes a large amount of time to get cooled down if it gets overheated.

Cast iron cookware is vulnerable at times though the durability of this material is praiseworthy.

Pros of Cast Iron Cookware

  • excellent heat retention capacity
  • affordable price
  • distributes heat evenly
  • food gets cooked properly
  • healthy and safe to cook food in
  • amazing durability and sturdiness
  • gives a good nonstick surface (if seasoned well)
  • thick and heavy in weight
  • not damageable easily

Cons of Cast Iron Cookware

  • needs great care
  • reactive to acidic food at times
  • takes time to distribute the heat evenly
  • takes too long to cool down
  • hard to carry if too big in size

Why Does Cast Iron Cookware Need Seasoning and Cleaning?

‘Seasoning’ and ‘cleaning’ are like saviors of cast iron cookware if one intends to make it last. Without seasoning, cast iron cookware will almost start acting like a despicable enemy of yours. Without cleaning, cast iron cookware will make your life no less than hell.

The detailed discussion over seasoning and cleaning cast iron cookware is given below:

Seasoning of Cast Iron Cookware

Seasoning is a process to make the cooking surface non-stick and slick so that no residue stays or gets stuck on the cookware. Actually, proper seasoning helps cast iron cookware to protect the surface from rust, keeps food intact and away from reacting with the iron of the cookware.

Cleaning a Cast Iron Cookware Up

 

Accordingly, it prevents the food from sticking on to the surface. In addition, enamel-coated cast iron cookware needs no extra seasoning as the enamel itself prevents the cookware from rusting.

Cleaning a Cast Iron Cookware Up

The cleaning process of the cast iron cookware is totally different from every other cookware out there as it needs intensive care if one wishes to keep it for a lifetime. There are arguments over how a cast iron cookware should get cleaned up which are quite debatable.

One group claims that wipes will do better cleaning as it needs no touch of soap and water whereas the other group believes in using a mild soap to wash it off.

How to Season Cast Iron Cookware?

  • One must wash the cast iron cookware thoroughly with soapy water.
  • Dry it up as quickly as possible.
  • A thin layer of vegetable oil has to be spread or brushed all over the surface.
  • Place the cookware upside down into a large oven with the heat at 375-degree Fahrenheit or 180 degree Celsius
  • Bake for one hour straight
  • Let it cool down by itself in the oven.

Repeating the same process gives the cast iron cookware extra protective layers which protects it from easily getting damaged. It is recommended by the experts to keep seasoning cast iron pan regularly to keep its features intact and make it long-lasting.

How to Clean Cast Iron Cookware Up?

  • If the surface has rust stains, one must use a rust eraser first then season it again with oil.
  • To scrub the food residue off, one must use kosher salt that is good for scrubbing.
  • It is recommended to use soap while cleaning it up as it may harm the nonstick properties of the seasoned cast iron cookware.
  • As cast-iron cookware tends to be reactive to acidic foods at times, it is strictly prohibited to marinate in this.
  • Metal spatulas are enemies of cast iron cookware as it damages the surface and makes it scratchy and uneven.
  • Boiling water in cast iron cookware causes corrosion.

Some people fear that cast iron cookware needs high maintenance after knowing about the seasoning and cleaning process of it. All it needs is just a little time and care, which increases the chances of its higher longevity and keeps the firmness and resilience intact for years.

If it’s seasoned and cleaned up well, assure yourself that the cast iron cookware will stay with you for a lifetime without getting damaged.

Conclusion

To conclude, it can be said that seasoning and cleaning the cast iron cookware is not a hard nut to crack. All you need is to follow some guidelines to make it last forever.