POTS. . . COOKWARE NEEDS PROPER CARE.

nina | July 23rd, 2013 - 9:00 am

Why does your bacon burn? Cookware needS proper care to give you the best results.
The most important advice offered was to pay close attention to the nuances of different cooking materials, whether it’s stainless steel, nonstick, cast iron or something less conventional.

For some, a pan is a pan. It gets hot, it burns things, it occasionally cooks food correctly.

Quenching a hot pan, can cause a pan to warp, which can lead to hot spots. An abrasive sponge, meanwhile, can quickly strip the nonstick coating.

Avoid metal utensils or anything else that might scrape the surface and cook with only medium or low heat.

You want to avoid using it for pan roasting or high heat sautéing or deep frying. Excessive heat will cause it to wear and discolour.

Propellants used in aerosol cooking sprays can leave a residue on nonstick pans in particular. If that is a concern, an oil mister is a good alternative.

When it comes to cleaning these pans, certain lines of nonstick cookware are dishwasher safe, but most nonstick coatings are not. It’s suggested you handwashing nonstick pans with a nonabrasive cleaner and a sponge, to preserve the nonstick coating.

Many people stack their pans after cleaning them, without accounting for the scrapes that can result from the metal-on-metal contact. It’s best if you don’t stack them, but if you do, just put a cloth between them.

Stainless steel pans are much more forgiving because they withstand high heat, resist scratching and can be tossed into the dishwasher and then stacked for storage. But with a pure stainless steel pot, you want to avoid stacking, because the more the handles slam around, the more they can loosen, so you could have leakage.

Meanwhile, given the strength and durability of cast iron, it does require more finesse than stainless steel.  It would be unwise to use such cookware for dishes like steamed vegetables, though, since water can lead to rust.

How, then, does one avoid water when washing a cast-iron pan?

By cleaning the surface like you would a grill.  Many people who cook with cast iron forgo traditional soap and water cleaning, and instead wipe the surface with oil and then heat the pan in the oven to dry and sanitize it.  The assumption is, just like with a grill, you’re building up flavour and seasoning in the pan.

Should your cast-iron pan require scrubbing, use salt instead of something with harsh chemicals, because cast iron is on the porous side.

Cast-iron pots coated with enamel are another matter.  These are best cleaned the conventional way, with soap and water. But watch for cracks or chips in the enamel. Water that makes it through those cracks could cause rusting.

Some say the biggest secret to a good pot is to use it over and over again. Various types of pans will react to the elements if they are left unused for too long. Aluminum and copper are two good examples.

One way to increase the likelihood of using them is to store them in the open. Some favour pot racks hung from the ceiling. 

Source:  thespec.com, 5.30.13

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