Waterless Cookware Instructions
Waterless cookware has been around for many years. This technique, which utilizes pots and pans that do not let steam or moisture escape, cooks foods in their own juices. Because of this, you do not have to add much (if any) water to most of the foods you cook, hence the term "waterless." Other names for waterless cooking include vapor cooking and minimum moisture cooking. The techniques for using waterless cookware are very simple.
Because the laminated layers of most waterless cookware systems distribute heat evenly throughout the cookware, the food cooks more uniformly and quickly. For this reason, the heat settings for which you set your stove are generally lower than with nonwaterless cookware. Most stoves should be set to medium-low when using waterless cookware. On a stove where the heat settings are numbered, you will set the dial three-quarters of the way between the number 3 and the number 4. Some manufacturers of waterless cookware make handles resistant to high temperatures. Check with the manufacturer of your specific cookware for the temperature-resistance of the handles for your specific cookware. For cookware such as this, it is possible to use the cookware's even heat-distribution properties to bake cornbread or cakes in the oven with your cookware.
Most waterless systems make it possible to cook vegetables and even boiled eggs without boiling them (You will still need to boil pasta). For eggs, lay a paper towel at the bottom of your cookware, and add 2 tbsp. of water per egg that you are cooking. For vegetables, wash your vegetables thoroughly, and place the raw vegetables in the cookware still wet. While some waterless cookware comes with a steam vent that can be opened or closed, others do not. Cookware that comes with a steam vent will signal with a whistle when the internal temperature of the cookware has reached the ideal temperature for cooking. Cookware that does not have a vent will rattle from the internal pressure. When cooking eggs or vegetables, you can pull the cookware off of the heat at this point and let it naturally cool and cook for soft-boiled eggs and tender, crisp vegetables. For hard-boiled eggs and softer vegetables, leave the cookware on the heat for a longer period of time.
Although it is not required that you use oils or nonstick sprays for cooking meat, you can nevertheless apply a small layer of nonstick cooking spray to the surface of your cookware before cooking steak, hamburger, chicken or fish. Before doing so, you must heat your pan to the correct temperature. You will know that your pan is hot enough for cooking when drops of moisture dance across the surface after being dropped onto the pan. Your meat will stick to the surface when you place it on the pan, but after it has reached the desired doneness, it will release from the surface. You can then flip it over and cover with the lid. The vent of vented cookware will whistle or the lid will rattle when the interior of the pan has reached the desired temperature to finish cooking the meat. Take the pan off the heat at this point, and allow the pan to cool.
Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.