Any good chef knows how important it is to have all the right equipment in their kitchen.
However, it’s just as important to know what each piece of cookware is used for, what kind of cooking methods you can use with it and what recipes you can make.
The stock pot is often a part of many peoples’ cookware collections, but what is a stock pot used for?
As the name suggests, it’s great for making large quantities of liquid foods like stock, soup, and sauce.
That’s not all they’re good for though, and in this article, we’re going to be breaking down exactly what characteristics define a stockpot and everything you can do with one in your kitchen.
What is a Stockpot?
You will often find a stockpot in a set of essential pots and pans. It is almost certainly the largest pot you’ll have in your collection. It is round, has a flat base, and has tall, straight sides.
Stockpots often have a handle on either side, making it easier to lift with two hands. This is beneficial for when you’re cooking a large amount of food in the pot that could end up being very heavy.
It can be a nightmare to try and strain liquids out of your food in the sink and not be able to lift your pot comfortably. That’s why stockpots are well-equipped for the job.
They also have a lid with a handle on top and there are two main purposes for the lid being there.
Primarily, placing the lid over a boiling pot of liquid will retain moisture, causing any steam to condense on the lid and rejoin the food down below.
Also, the lid helps the food retain heat, meaning you won’t need to apply as much heat from your stove, thereby saving some gas or electricity.
In general, stockpots rock!
Now, let’s take a look at some of the things you can do with one…
What Is A Stock Pot Used For? Things You Can Cook.
We’ve already been over the kinds of liquids you can cook with a stockpot. Stock is naturally the primary use for the pot but you can just as easily make soups and large quantities of sauce in one.
In fact, you can boil pretty much anything in a stockpot, provided it’s large enough. Many home cooks often look to the stockpot instead of a saucepan to boil pasta or potatoes. This is particularly useful when boiling large quantities of food.
Oftentimes, if you’re looking to boil a large portion of meat, your stockpot will be the only option that will capacitate that much food.
Similarly, it might be the go-to piece of cookware for baking large pieces of meat, too. This is only possible if your stockpot is made entirely of metal. If any parts (often the handles) are made of plastic, you should never put your stockpot in the oven.
However, if you do have an entirely metal stockpot, you can easily use it to submerge your meat in sauce to ensure it stays fully coated while cooking in an oven.
What CAN’T you Cook in a Stockpot?
Despite being such a versatile piece of kitchen equipment, stockpots aren’t great for every situation.
For example, stockpots aren’t great for searing and frying pieces of meat. The high sides of the pot will make it difficult to get to the food with any utensils like a spatula and stockpots are very rarely designed to be non-stick, so you may have some issues with food burning to the bottom of the pot.
However, this still doesn’t mean you can’t fry the meat in your stockpot. Plenty of all-in-one recipes that include meat will call for you to sear meat in a stockpot before adding sauce and other ingredients to help cook everything more slowly.
Best Materials for a Stockpot
As with any piece of cookware, you can get stockpots made with a variety of different metallic materials.
Each metal has its own unique benefits and there’s really no way of telling which one is the best overall. You’ll just have to check out our breakdown to work out which one suits you best.
This is one of the most expensive metals to use for a stockpot. It’s difficult to source and manufacture copper cookware so that price is passed on to the consumer.
However, copper pots are brilliant conductors of heat, getting hot and cooling down very quickly as well as dispersing the heat evenly across the pot.
Copper stockpots also require some careful and thorough cleaning and are pretty difficult to maintain, so probably best to avoid for a standard home kitchen setup.
This is another metal that conducts heat very quickly but will not disperse it as well as copper.
It’s certainly a lot cheaper to produce and purchase than copper so has a more budget-friendly benefit.
The main issue with aluminum cookware is that it reacts poorly with certain acidic foods which can cause corrosion on the pot’s surface, ultimately damaging your cookware and allowing the metal to seep into your food.
Hard-anodizing aluminum is a scientific process that effectively creates a protective layer on the surface of the metal.
That means it avoids the problem of acidic foods reacting poorly with it and even provides a natural non-stick element to the pot.
This material is easily the best way of combining all the best elements of each metal into one!
A sturdy but lightweight option, stainless steel is pretty commonly found in professional kitchens.
It’s a fairly durable material and effective for cooking but is slightly more difficult than most cookware materials to clean and maintain.
There you have it, everything you need to know about the mighty stockpot!
It’s a very common piece of cookware that you might have had in your kitchen without even realizing it.
With such a multitude of different things you can cook with a stockpot, it should be an essential item in your home.
That means you need to clean it thoroughly after every use and take good care of it, so it can take good care of you!
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