Cookware is as varied as the foods cooks can prepare. Running the gamut from ceramic to cast iron to stainless steel, cookware is available in various styles that fit cooks’ lifestyles and budgets.
Home cooks have more options than ever before when outfitting their kitchen equipment, and different cooking materials may raise questions about how to clean and maintain new items. Here’s a look at some popular cookware materials and how to care for those pots and pans.
Ceramic coatings are made from inorganic, nonmetallic film layers on hard materials to create nonstick surfaces that are generally resistant to scratching. Because they can be safer than some other nonstick alternatives, some consumers may prefer ceramic to other materials.
Even though ceramic is durable, it is not impervious to damage. Use wooden, silicone, plastic, or nylon utensils when cooking with ceramic. Metal utensils may mar the surface. Even though the cookware is nonstick, using a small bit of oil or butter can help prolong this feature. Cooking sprays are not recommended.
Ceramic should be hand-washed with soap and water to keep it pristine.
Some people recommended periodic deep cleanings with baking soda and water to remove any residue.
Cast iron cookware has been around for generations. One of the key things to remember about cast iron is that a proper seasoning of the material will help cooking and cleanup.
General instructions for seasoning a cast-iron skillet involves heating it up on the stovetop until it’s smoking hot, then rubbing a little oil into it and allowing it to cool.
According to cast iron cookware manufacturer Lodge, each time you cook, you will help maintain this seasoning.
Cast iron can rust, so it should be handwashed with a stiff scrubber (no soap) and dried immediately. Rub a thin coating of vegetable oil to protect it from moisture.
Stainless steel materials are versatile in the kitchen because they do not rust. Plus, pots and pans can move easily between the stovetop and oven. Because stainless steel is not nonstick, heating up the cookware first before adding oil and food can prevent items from sticking to the surface.
Cleaning may require soaking in warm, soapy water and then scrubbing with nonabrasive sponges. Specialty nonabrasive cleaners designed to restore stainless steel from discoloration also can be used periodically.
Copper cookware is quick to warm and distributes heat very evenly. They are often a tool of the trade when heat-sensitive recipes call for careful temperature control.
Copper is highly reactive and isn’t food-safe on its own. Copper usually features a protective layer of nickel or stainless steel to make it food-safe. That means avoiding abrasive cleansers or sponges.
Another rule of thumb is to reduce the heat under copper pans and pots because they are such good conductors of heat. This will prevent stuckon foods, making for easier cleanup.