If you’re an avid home chef, you know the importance of having good quality pots, pans and braisers. They are key for cooking a nice meal because of conductivity of heat and keeping the food you are eating safe. While most home chefs prefer non-stick and stainless steel, there are many varieties of pots and pans such as copper, enameled cast iron and aluminum. They all have different advantages and different cleaning methods are required for each one.
High quality stainless steel conducts, distributes and maintains heat very well; hence the reason most home chefs prefer stainless steel cookware. It is also prone to stains and calcification from hard water. To reduce stains, dry immediately after washing. If there is burnt food or scorching, add a cup of vinegar and boil, then add baking soda and scrub with a non-abrasive sponge.
Most people love cooking with cast iron because of the texture and crisp it gives food. Also, it naturally adds iron to your food. Cleaning cast iron can be controversial because some believe soap will strip the cast iron of its seasoning. You can clean the cast iron with soap and water, as long you season and heat the pan afterwards. Do not leave the cast iron wet after washing, as it can cause it to rust. Another tip to get burnt food off is to add coarse salt and heat the pan. Never use abrasive materials on cast iron cookware.
Most people cook with non-stick in their homes because of the ease of use. There are some things to be careful about when cooking with non-stick. It’s not a good idea to use very high heat as it can damage the coating of non-stick, as will cooking with any metal. Non-stick should only be hand washed and cleaned with soap and water to preserve the non-stick coating.
Copper is a soft metal and conducts heat very well, especially when cooking. Depending on its care, it can be used for decades. Most copper cookware is lined with stainless steel, so the same cleaning rules apply. For tarnished copper, you can polish with a copper cleaner or use lemon juice and baking soda. Make a paste and buff the outside, then wash and dry.
With diligent care, your cookware can last many years and you can make fabulous meals. Bon Appetit!