Cooking is a fun and rewarding activity. You know all your efforts will be rewarded in the end with a nice meal. It’s what happens afterwards that can be frustrating. Washing the pots and pans is a burden if food has dried up and got stuck onto their surfaces. You’ll need to scrub them all off until your arms get tired. It’s no wonder that non-stick varieties became so popular when they were introduced, especially Teflon. They comprise the vast majority of cookware sales because of they are easy to clean and more convenient to use. But are non-stick pots and pans safe to use?
These popular cookware sets suddenly became feared when the results of studies showed that they contained toxic substances that could harm the body. Granted, the amount of toxicity is low so exposure may not be that dangerous to humans. Birds, however, are smaller and more fragile. Some have had adverse reactions with just a bit of exposure to the fumes. It is feared that repeat exposure over the years will trigger a similar effect in people. There is no long-term study that could confirm or deny this theory so the jury is still out there.
According to research, toxicity only becomes an issue if the pans are heated to more than 500-degrees Fahrenheit. Beyond this point, a chemical reaction is triggered to release unwanted substances into the air. Manufacturers agree with this assessment and have made their recommendations accordingly. Yet how realistic is it to keep the temperature below this level? Lab tests show that just a few minutes of heat with the stove set on HIGH is enough for pans to exceed 500 degrees.
With regards to peeling, experts say that it should not be a concern. Swallowing chips accidentally will not cause any harmful effects inside the body. The substance will simply pass through uneventfully and will not be absorbed by the bloodstream. Those who still want to use non-stick pots should take precautions like avoiding high heat and pre-heating while empty to be on the safe side.
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Metal kitchenware always looks so shiny and inviting when you see them on the store. They are so irresistible that you buy them without a thought. After a while, though, the shine fades and you are faced with the unappealing task of cleaning them. Cleaning brass or copper kitchenware does take some effort but it really isn’t all that complicated. Here are some tips regarding the materials you need and the steps you have to follow when cleaning them:
Have the Cleaning Materials Ready
For copper, prepare a cloth-based scouring pad and copper cleanser. Go to the hardware store and ask the sales people about these. Don’t use a very rough pad as it might damage the surfaces. Cloth is the best material for polishing these things. As for brass, collect some household items like vinegar, lemon juice, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce and ketchup. Find a used toothbrush that you no longer need and mild dish soap. Have plenty of clean water on standby.
Submerge the brass items in a strong solution of either vinegar water or lemon water. Let the acid work its way to the dirt on the surfaces. Leave them in this state for up to two hours. After this long acid treatment, get the items and begin to wash using the mild liquid soap. It’s best to use soft toothbrush as it is small enough to get to hard to reach surfaces. Once you are satisfied with the dirt removal, rinse with water and dry with a clean cloth.
Soak the copper pieces in water then take them out. Get the cleaning powder and add bit of water. Mix until you create a paste. Use the cloth pad to apply this paste on the copper surfaces. Work your way carefully through each one. Give them a few minutes to allow the chemicals to lift the dirt but be careful to prevent drying. Scrub them again, rinse with water, and dry with a clean cloth. Keep your brash shiny with the help of olive oil. Rub a thin layer to prevent tarnishing.
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The strainer or sieve is definitely one of the most widely used kitchen accessories, but it is also the most commonly ignored one when it comes to cleaning and maintenance of the same. We start to notice that our strainers or sieves need to be cleaned only when we notice those ugly hard debris that get lodged near the perforations. It is recommended to clean out the strainers from time to time so that the debris would not build up. Some of the things that you’ll require for conducting such a task are: dish soap, scrub brush, sink plug or a large bowl, an old toothbrush and a kitchen towel.
The very first thing that you need to do is to plug the sink and fill it up to 60% of its capacity. Alternatively, you can use a large bucket or pot, whichever is preferable to you for cleaning strainers and sieves. Next, mix a bit of the dish soap into the water to create a frothy and soapy water. Now, put the sieve or strainer into the soapy solution and allow it to soak for fifteen minutes or so. This will loosen up the hard residue and make it easy to clean. After that, dip your brush into the soapy water and begin scrubbing the strainer. Additionally, you can also use your old toothbrush to scrub the hard to reach places. However, do make sure you sterilize the toothbrush first before using it.
Sometimes, when one has not engaged in cleaning strainers and sieves for a long time then the debris would be very stubborn. In such a scenario, one can use a kitchen towel for deep cleaning. Simply hold the towel against the outside of the area to be cleaned and scrub the inside part with the brush vigorously against the towel. Also, it is important to ensure that you rotate the sieve while cleaning it so that you can thoroughly clean the entire surface of the sieve. Once you are satisfied with the cleaning process, you can rinse the sieve or strainer under running tap water and then allow it to air dry.
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Copper pans have the most reactive cooking surface you can use. They react quickly to temperature changes and you will not find that you get hot spots with copper cookware. The copper surface conducts heat evenly; consequently, many professional cooks prefer using it over other cookware materials.
The Pros of Using Copper Pots and Pans
Copper looks opulent and impressive.
Copper is an excellent conductor of heat.
Copper reacts quickly to heat changes.
Copper is heavy, but not too heavy to handle with one hand.
The Cons of Using Copper Pots and Pans
Copper is more expensive than other types of cookware.
Copper cannot be washed in the dishwasher and must be hand washed and thoroughly dried to be free of spots.
Copper must be lined with stainless steel to have longevity. If it is lined with tin, the tin will wear away too quickly and the pan will corrode.
Copper requires a lot of effort to keep it shiny and it good condition.
Copper cookware gives you excellent control over the cooking of your food. In the same pan, you can braise a leg of lamb and then simmer a savory sauce by lowering the heat and the pan reacts quickly to the temperature changes. This feature makes cooking with copper quite pleasant. The chef is sure to get the results he or she sets out to achieve by merely adjusting the temperature of the burner; no other special attention is needed.
Copper reacts to the food cooked in the cookware, unless the pot is lined with tin or stainless steel. Tin wears out quickly and renders the pot unusable. So stainless steel, which lasts much longer, is preferable.
Despite its perfection as a cooking tool, copper cookware is still problematic to maintain, if you can afford to buy it in the first place. In order to maintain the shiny burnished look seen in images with shiny copper cookware hanging from pot hooks on TV and in print work, you must never allow the pot to sit in water. That means never place a copper pot in the dishwasher, only hand-wash and dry thoroughly. A dry pot must be polished periodically to keep the surface free of spots and shiny and buy the best quality copper cookware lined in stainless steel so you will get years of use from your cooking tools.