Some people think that the fanciest kitchen tools help us the most. These people are usually the ones who don’t cook because they do not have the ‘good’ tools. This is a very common excuse. But we know the situation is actually vice versa. The simplest kitchen tools are the heroes we need the most.
Their humble look may misguide others, but they can’t trick us, can they? The kitchen is our playground; it is an adventure, a journey we are excited about. And sometimes in this journey, our vehicle is a simple one with no fancy nonsense; like a stock pot! In this article, we will talk about stock pots.
They are the simple pots that make us delicious, hearty meals to feed our loved ones. It helps us enjoy the cooking process more and always surprises us with better results each time. Let’s answer “what is a stock pot?”, “how does it work?”, and “what are the benefits of it?”. I’ll end the article with some tips. Buckle up, folks!
What is a Stock Pot?
A stock pot is a pot that is primarily used for preparing soup stock. If you ask what stock is in the first place: Stock is a soup and/or sauce base that most often includes bone and even various vegetables. It is usually designed for long and even simmering sessions. A stock pot is most likely to be the largest pot in your kitchen.
It has tall walls and a wide, flat bottom. It is usually wide enough to cover large burners. Its capacity changes from 4 to 24 quarts. You can cook a meal of a hefty chicken with many veggies and you would still have room to use! When I use a stock pot, I feel like it is deeper and bigger on the inside. Almost like a TARDIS!
So, What is a Stock Pot Used for?
A stock pot is usually used for making a base for soup or sauce. It makes stocks or broths or stews (in a way). It can also be used for cooking corn, boiling water, cooking lobster, making pasta, etc. I use it for the canning season too. It is a great option for that. But this is not just it! People are using it to cook non-edible things too.
For example, I tried to make homemade laundry detergent once. Now, these are not the only answers to ‘What is purpose of stock pot?’ or ‘What are the uses of a stock pot?’. There are many things you can do with it, but these are the main ones. It is a very versatile kitchen tool, so use your imagination!
Only you can make the best out of your stock pot. How does a stock pot work, you may ask. Just like any other pot! The design makes it better for some reasons, though. I’ll mention that below. Other than that, you just fill it up according to your recipe and fire the burner! Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
Stock Pot vs. Soup Pot
You can use a soup pot for thicker soups since it has a heavier base and won’t let stews burn easily. But a stock pot is designed for mostly liquids. It is lighter than a soup pot and its bottom is thinner. So, it may not compromise with thicker bases like squashes or peas. I recommend you choose the heavier one since it’ll be more durable and will allow you to cook both thicker and/or finer soups.
Features of Stock Pot
Stock pots are tall tools. Tall is good. Why? Because it is good to have a narrow surface to prevent the water from dissipating. Stock pot solves this problem in a way. However, if you’re a short person, too tall stock pots may turn into a nuisance. I am a pretty short person and tall stock pots give me a hard time in the kitchen. So be wise and choose the right one for you.
I mentioned that stock pots have flat bottoms, but this is not always the case. Some companies are making eggplant shaped bottoms nowadays. This takes more space of course but if you find it helpful in any way and have lots of storage, go for it. Although if you do not have extra space and a proper stovetop to support an eggplant shaped bottom, choose the simpler flat bottoms.
Material is a very important feature to pay attention for. There are many options of course. Each of them has upsides and downsides. Let’s have a quick overview!
- Copper: Copper stock pots usually cost more than average but it heats evenly and rapidly. However, it is so expensive and needs continuous care. If you do not mind paying that much, all you need is someone who will polish this one…like every time you use it.
- Stainless Steel: Stainless steel stock pots are the most common and inexpensive stock pots at the market. They are light and thin, but still manage to heat rapidly and evenly. They are sturdy kitchen tools despite their price. I actually prefer stainless steel ones over others.
- Aluminum: Aluminum gives you a chance to heat your pot quicker than others. You can find them in many stores for quite an affordable price (without the cover).
But unfortunately, I cannot say it is healthy. Researchers show us a connection between this material and Alzheimer disease. Some say it reacts with foods and changes flavor.
- Anodized Aluminum: This material is reliable especially if it comes from some particular brands. However, it may be expensive for some of us and it is not dishwasher safe.
- Enamel: These pots have enamel exteriors while having aluminum or steel underneath. It helps with the heat distribution and cooks the food evenly. Kinda like a stainless steel one, but this one has a lower chance for food to stick or burn.
There are more materials such as coated carbon steel, aluminum copper based stainless steel, etc. But these are the most common ones, so I wanted to mention them only. I highly suggest you choose a stock pot with a nonstick coating. This is a life saver. Whatever the base material is, a nonstick coating will prevent the food from sticking.
And let me tell you something, it is not fun to clean burnt food stuck to the bottom of a pan. Yeah, I know. Cleaning is not fun already. But cleaning that is about ten times more tedious and frustrating. So, stick with a nonstick stock pot and thank me later.
Like I mentioned before, stock pot sizes tend to range from 4 to 24 quarts. If you only want to make delicious soups, you may choose a pot within the size of 4 or 6 quarts. It would be more than enough already. 8 quarts would be good for making slightly larger meals like chicken and veggies.
If you are a home cook who wants to boil that lobster and make tons of stock for future use, you may choose 12 quarts. If your needs are different from what I just said and especially if you have a big family to feed, then you can consider other sizes. You may want to use it for the canning season, or you may want to make your own detergent. Anyhow, there is a stock pot size for everything.
Stock pots usually have vented lids. These help us prevent the spitting water phase of old stock pots. If you want a well-behaved stock pot and avoid the stains on your stove top, choose one with vented lids.
The lids come with two different choices: glass or not. I prefer glass since I can see what my food is doing inside without opening the lid and ruin the heat distribution inside. But if you plan to use your glass-lid stock pot in the oven, you must check if it is oven safe or not. You would not want to end up with an accident like that. Stay safe.
Stock pots usually have two handles to carry them around. You must pay attention to their sturdiness. If they are not sturdy enough, your pot can fall when you are cooking a heavy dish and trying to transfer your pot from the stove. Your floor can end up in a hot mess, and god forbid, even you can end up being scalded.
A stock pot is a very versatile kitchen product. There are so many benefits of a stock pot that often one cannot resist to buy one right away. This’ll be the queen of your kitchen if you get the hang of its usage which is so simple!
Since you now know the answer to “what is a stock pot?” and also what it does, you may want to give it a try. Especially if you’re prone to cooking and eating hearty soups and stews, you’re going to love using a stock pot!