cookware for tomato sauce and other acidic foods?
To start, I try to conserve money and cabinet space by choosing multifunctional cookware...
But, I love tomato sauce. It may not be super fancy, but I love making tomato sauce, it has so much freedom to try this and that, its a bit of a religion for me.
oddly enough, I prepare my sauce in an OLD warped sauce pot, I want to say its steel, but Im not even certain of that. it heats very unevenly and its time to replace.
I realize this is a bit excessive, but work with me...
thought of a cast iron dutch oven, but Im told it can diminish the seasoning and give it a metallic flavor. I read this of any metal, aluminum, steel, stainless, copper... iron supplement to my diet aside, I'll take my sauce metal free and keep with my flinstone chewables.
perhaps an enamel cast iron, or enamel ceramic?
I saw a glass/ceramic pyrex dutch oven labeled as good for acidic sauces.
penny for your thoughts? thank you in advance.
I wouldn't use glass or pyrex because they shouldn't be used on a stovetop.
I make my tomato sauce in an aluminum stockpot. It doesn't taste metallic.
Copper cookware is lined, so you won't have to worry there. Copper cookware is also supremely expensive. Stainless steel is non-reactive, so that is a good choice, as is enameled cast iron.
I agree with E_M. A glass pryrex dutch oven is not suitable for high heat cooking and you mentioned you want a multifunctional cookware. Cast iron cookware (bare or enamel) has slow heat response, so they are not suitable for making delicate sauce. I think clad stainless steel cookware (e.g. stainless steel-aluminum-stainless steel) are safe bet. They are very nonreactive, so you should not able to taste any metallic taste. They are cheaper than tinned copper cookware and are more versatile.
For making smaller batches (5-7 quarts) of tomato sauce, I'd recommend a Le Creuset enameled cast iron French oven. The nice thing about LC is that you can brown the various ingredients right in the pot and then toss in the tomato.
For really big batches (10+ quarts), I'd recommend a big stainless steel stockpot with a nice thick disk base for even heating. (An enameled cast iron pot of that size would weigh a ton and cost $$$$.)
I find my Lodge and Le Cruset cast iron to be very versatile multi-use cookware. As noted, cast iron can take a long time to heat up and cool down. I discovered the joys of cast iron cooking while living in an apartment that had a bad kitchen range/stove. The uneven heating and relatively low output "coils" would not brown meat and would heat things unevenly. The cast iron Dutch Oven, skillets, and pans I bought really improved the quality of my cooking. I could put cast iron in the oven or on the burner and leave them for a long time to heat up an then throw a chicken, roast, ham, etc. in to brown before the the cookware cooled. The thermal mass dealt effectively with hot and cold spots so cooking was a lot more even too.
For acidic cooking I kept a good stainless "multi-layer sandwich" pot for boiling pasta and cooking acidic sauces. Be sure to get a stainless pan that is really thick on the bottom with an aluminum disc or sandwich. Avoid the cheaper thin pans and pots because they will scorch very easily with a lot of sauces. Be sure to check out the discount surplus stores and look for closeouts to stretch your dollars.
Enameled cast iron will work very well for what you want if you can live with NOT using steel tools in it and will let it cool before washing to preserve the enamel. Be aware though that the thermal mass will require a change in cooking techique until you learn to not over heat the pan (it takes so long to cool you can scorch stuff if you over shoot the heat level).