Any kitchen in the world has several types of cookware and utensils that are usually made from different materials, including aluminum, stainless steel, and Teflon.
With the advancement of science and technology, every year, the different brands of kitchen utensils release new products produced with the most updated versions of each material, which try to combine ease of use, durability, and safety for health.
Thus, as long as they are used without damage, according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, and are properly cared for, most pans are safe for health. Here are the main types of pots, what are their advantages, and how to properly care for them to remain safe:
Aluminum is possibly the most used material for making cookware and kitchen utensils. It is cheap, light, and an excellent heat conductor, making the food cook faster and distributes the temperature better, avoiding burnt pieces, which end up producing potentially carcinogenic substances.
However, there is a slight risk that aluminum will be released into the food. Still, studies indicate that the quantities released are very low and that, for this to happen, the food needs to be stored in an aluminum container or pan for several hours and at room temperature. So, ideally, after cooking, remove the food from the pan and store it in glass containers, if necessary.
How to care: this type of pan is easy to wash, using only warm water and a little neutral detergent, rubbing with a soft sponge.
Stainless steel pans, which can also be called stainless steel pans, are made of a mixture of chromium and nickel, represented in the pan information using an equation that is usually “18/8,” which means that the pan contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel.
This type of material is very resistant and durable and, therefore, it is also widely used in various utensils. However, it has worse heat conductivity and, thus, it is easier for food to come out with some more burnt places. Many stainless steel pans contain aluminum bottoms to counter this trend, which better distributes the heat. Stainless steel pans are more suitable for cooking food in water, as water also helps to distribute heat better.
How to care: for this type of pan to last longer, wash with the soft part of the sponge and use bombil for arising so that it does not get scratched. Also, it is not recommended to cook acidic foods in this type of pan, and you must replace the pan if it is crushed or scratched.
3. Non-stick Teflon
Non-stick Teflon is a type of material that is often used to coat aluminum pans in order to prevent food from sticking to the pan, especially when you want to grill without fat, for example.
Although these types of cookware are known to cause health problems, if they are damaged, the FDA says they do not cause any health problems, even if Teflon is accidentally ingested. This is because Teflon is chemically inert, which means that it is not transformed into the body, entering through the mouth and being eliminated in the feces.
However, what can cause health hazards are pans or non-stick utensils that, in addition to Teflon, use perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Thus, the ideal is to always read the label when buying non-stick cookware.
How to care: you must cook in this pan using only utensils that cannot scratch the non-stick coating, such as a wooden spoon or silicone utensils. Also, to wash, it is very important to use the soft part of the sponge and not pass the bombil. Finally, to ensure smooth functioning of the Teflon layer, the temperature must not exceed 260ºC.
Copper is the second-best heat-conducting metal, just behind silver. Thus, it is an excellent material for cooking, as it guarantees a more regular preparation of food, with less risk of burning. However, it is an expensive metal, in addition to being heavier, ending up being used more often in cookware and kitchen utensils.
Although it is good to ensure a more regular temperature on its entire surface, copper should not come into direct contact with food to avoid contamination. Thus, pans made from this material usually contain a thin layer of aluminum or brass.
This type of pot is easy to care for and can be washed with soap and water, just like the bombil. However, as it is a material that stains very easily, it can also be washed with lemon and a little salt to remove the stains.
5. Cast iron
A cast-iron pan is a great option because it does not pose any health risk, is very resistant, and can cook at very high temperatures, being suitable for preparing meat or fried foods. Also, when cooking, some iron particles are released into the food, serving as an excellent natural iron supplement that helps prevent iron deficiency anemia.
Although it is very good for your health, this type of pan is not very versatile since it is heavy, takes longer to reach the desired temperature, and can accumulate rust.
How to care: this type of material should be cleaned only with water and a soft cloth or sponge. Avoid putting the dishwasher in the dishwasher and always be very dry after washing to avoid the accumulation of rust.
6. Ceramics, clay, or tempered glass
Ceramic, clay, or tempered glass cookware and utensils can generally only be used in the oven to prepare roasts or soups, as they are materials that cannot properly distribute heat and can therefore break if used directly over the fire. Unlike most materials, they are harmless and do not release any chemicals when used frequently.
Thus, these utensils are less versatile than other pans and can be used only for preparations in the oven or for serving food, for example. Also, they are fragile materials, which can end up breaking very easily.
How to care: Ceramics and glass are very easy to care for, and you should wash only with water, soap, and a soft sponge.
Soapstone is a type of material that is ideal for cooking food for a long time, as it gradually builds up heat. Thus, this type of material is often used to prepare grills on barbecue grills or any type of heat source.
Although it is also a safe material for cooking, it takes a long time to heat up and, consequently, cool down, which can cause a burn when it is misused. Also, it is heavy and can be more expensive than other types of cooking utensils.
How to care: the first time, the soapstone is washed with salted water and dried very well. In the following uses, it is recommended to clean only with water and not to use soap, applying a layer of olive oil at the end before drying.
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