Monday, July 16, 2012

Stock Pot


What is a Stock Pot?

A stock pot is an essential piece of porcelain enamel cookware – every kitchen should have one.  Generally, a stock pot (or stockpot) is taller than it is wide and therefore has a low surface-to-volume ratio.  In other words, the pot is designed to hold a large volume of liquid and yet have a small surface area.  This feature minimizes evaporation.  Normally, a stock pot is not used reduction.  The goal is to simmer a liquid for several hours.  The flavor from bones, meat scraps, vegetables, and sometimes herbs and spices is gently extracted to create a base or “stock” for future use.  A tight-fitting lid is essential to reduce evaporation from the simmering liquid.  (Learn more about stock here.) 
Enamel-on-steel construction is favored because it is both light weight and sturdy – a real advantage considering the large volume of liquid contained in a stock pot.  Imagine the difficulty of moving a large pot filled with liquid if the pot was made from cast iron!  A stockpot always has two loop handles so that it easy to move.  Because of their size and lightweight construction, stock pots are also great for cooking corn-on-the-cob, pasta or large quantities of rice.  

How to Choose a Stock Pot

Le Creuset Stock Pot

The best stock pot brand depends upon the needs of the user.  Is it a long-term investment?  Will you use the stock pot frequently?  Will you use the enamel pot occasionally for rice or thick sauces that are prone to stick?  If none of these issues are of concern, a cheap stock pot is the Imusa.  It is a porcelain enamel stock pot, but the quality of construction, in our opinion, is not as good as the Le Creuset stockpot.  Made of heavy gauge carbon steel with a hard glossy finish, the Le Creuset is probably the best stockpot on the market.  It works on all cooking surfaces, including induction.  Moreover, it comes in a dazzling array of colors.  (Click here to see colors.)  Buy a Le Creuset stockpot and you will admire the workmanship and style for a long time!

Imusa Enamel Stock Pot, 7.75 Quart, Turquoise

Le Creuset Enamel-on-Steel 12-Quart Covered Stockpots

Le Creuset Enamel-on-Steel 6-Quart Covered Stockpot, Cobalt


What about an Enamel Canning Pot?

Ball Canning Pot Plus Extras

Another approach to choosing a “stock pot” is to purchase a canning pot instead.  Typically, a canning pot is made of the same enameled steel construction as a stockpot.  The primary difference is size.  A large stock pot is a 12 quart stock pot.  A large canning pot may be 50 quarts or more.  Norpro makes a highly-rated 18 quart canning pot that could be a dual service pot.  A 7-piece canning set can be purchased to go with the pot.  The Ball canning pot is an excellent value that comes with a chrome-plated rack plus canning utensils.  Columbia Home Granite Ware makes a series of enamel canning pots, mostly very large sizes.  The Granite Ware enamel pot is not recommended for glass stove tops and the overall quality of construction is probably a little inferior to other brands.  However, if one is mostly interested in canning, a Granite Ware pot is a good choice.  One can buy a canning pot with a canning rack rack at a very modest price.

Norpro 18 Quart Porcelain Enamel Canning Pot


Norpro 2478367600456 7-Piece Home Canning Set  


Ball Enamel Waterbath Canner, Including Chrome-Plated Rack and 4-Piece Utensil Set

Columbian Home 0707-1 Granite Ware 21-1/2-Quart Steel/Porcelain Water-Bath Canner with Rack

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