Using the right cookware
Indeed, cooking at home is safe. Maybe you are buying the right ingredients from the right source, but what if the cooking ware that you are using is wrong? What if the chemicals from your cooking ware are getting leached into your food? Like endocrine disrupting chemicals which over time can cause hormonal imbalance and therefore other diseases. Here, as you can see, you are likely doing more damage to your health than protecting it, creating havoc in the body.
Let’s look at the cookware that we usually use in our daily life and its positive or negative effects.
1. Stainless steel- Is the most commonly used cookware you can see in any household. Stainless steel is actually an alloy of metals including steel, carbon and chromium. The reason stainless steel is called ‘stainless’ is because of its ability to resist corrosion.
The issues concerning stainless steel as cookware are chromium and nickel leaching, which can migrate into food if your pan is damaged or worn but the amount is negligible and probably harmless unless you have certain allergies. Therefore, if you are suffering from a known nickel allergy or skin rashes due to allergic contact dermatitis, you should not use stainless steel cookware. One must ensure that they buy 100% food-grade stainless steel cookware. It’s also noticed that the aluminium coating in few cases to improve the heat conducting property of the stainless steel can leach out into the food as a result of corrosion. Therefore be careful, replace the same and do not use the damaged cookware.
1) Relatively inexpensive
2) Durable, resistant to scratching, corrosion, denting
3) Easy access
4) Relatively non-reactive with proper use
1) Low-quality stainless steel pans might cause leaching of nickel, chromium, aluminum. Therefore, as mentioned above make sure to buy a high quality stainless steel cookware.
2) Poor heat conductor, requires an aluminum or copper core to boost conductivity.
● Do not use abrasive detergents, scouring pads and steel wool to clean it. If there is some food stuck to the pan, soak it in some water for an hour to soften it. You can also gently scrub it with a soft sponge and some baking soda.
● If you’re looking for stainless steel cookware that has less nickel in it, you can do the magnet test. Check if a magnet will stick to the sides, bottom and inside of the stainless steel pot. If the pot is magnetic, it is nickel free.
Conclusion- suitable for cooking!
2. Aluminum- Aluminum pots are made from cast aluminum. They’re inexpensive and resist rust and corrosion. Aluminum however easily scratches and dents, and reacts with acidic food, so it isn’t highly recommended.
Anodized aluminum hardens the surface of the cookware making it nonstick, resistant to scratches and easy to clean. It also seals the aluminum, so it doesn’t leach into food or react with acidic food. There’s some concern, however, that once the surface has been worn down, aluminum may then leach into food.
2) Anodized aluminum resists rust and corrosion
1) Gets scratched easily
2) Reacts with acidic food
Conclusion- We would not really recommend this to be used for cooking.
3. Copper- is a very good conductor of heat and therefore makes an equally good cookware, however there is an easy chance that the copper can leach into the food and cause toxicity. Hence, whenever you buy copper vessels you need to make sure that copper pans should have a liner of stainless steel to prevent the metal from leaching into foods. Foods with high acid content like tomato, lemon, tamarind all of which are the staple in Indian diet, will release copper ions from the surface. Therefore copper is not really the safest cookware.
1) Good heat retention and even cooking
1) Expensive and requires regular polishing.
2) It’s also reactive, which like cast iron, means that you can’t cook everything in it. Acidic foods may have a metallic taste and the compounds in the copper may even discolor some foods.
Conclusion- Cannot be used for regular cooking purposes and the copper vessel used has to have a good lining with stainless steel.
4. Non-stick- Who hasn’t heard about non-stick cookware? Maybe it’s the favorite cookware of a few people out there as it does not let the food stick to the vessel. But there’s more to it, than meets the eye.
We agree that it’s easy to use and clean and popular as well. It also doesn’t require much oil or butter, helping to decrease calories and fat in the dish being cooked. Some studies however have found a link between nonstick cookware and an increased risk of certain types of cancers. Nonstick cookware is coated with Teflon which contains the chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which can be released if temperatures are too high (500° F or above). PFOA also has been associated with an increased risk of high cholesterol levels and infertility. Although it’s believed that PFOA is present in Teflon products in such small amounts that it poses no risk to humans, it’s worth noting that it’s also found in many other everyday things. Therefore, it’s best to limit your exposure to it wherever possible.
1) User friendly, easy to handle, inexpensive
1) The Teflon coating that is used to keep foods from sticking to these pans has been shown to be toxic.
2) Non-stick pans don’t last long if used regularly; no matter how careful you are when using them, which means you’re looking to replace them fairly often.
conclusion- Avoid regular use of nonstick cookware that has PFOA in it and limit the same wherever possible.
5. Cast iron- Is one of the cookware that has been used for more than 100 years. It has got exceptional cooking ability as it conducts heat fairly well. Not only is it super durable, but it’s also one of the safest options out there because it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals that could leach into food. In fact, cooking in this particular cookware helps in improving your iron levels in the body.
1) Extremely durable
2) Distributes the heat evenly
3) Can help in improving your iron levels In the body if you are suffering from a similar condition.
1) Heavy to hold
2) It does require maintenance to keep it working properly. Cast iron must be “seasoned” on a regular basis, or coated with a thin layer of oil and heated for an hour or so. This is what makes it such a slick non-stick surface.
3) You can’t put cast iron in the dishwasher and you should avoid using soap or abrasive cleaners on it. Properly taken care of, cast iron will rarely need anything more than to be wiped down with a paper towel.
conclusion- You can definitely use this cookware for cooking.
06. Glass cookware- Makes the most attractive cookware in our kitchen. Glass cookware items are non-reactive, non-porous and can offer superior baking results, however, this kind of cookware can be used only for baking purposes. Just be sure not to heat food in glass on the stovetop as it could crack and even shatter. Remember to buy glassware of pure and high quality and you are good to go.
1) You can see through the pot and monitor your cooking.
2) This kind of cookware doesn’t react with acidic foods and most importantly it’s healthy as there are no adverse side effects from cooking in it.
3) Does not absorb food flavors or odours.
1) Breaks easily and sudden temperature changes can cause them to crack.
2) Cannot be used on stovetops.
Conclusion- You can use this cookware to bake!
Tags: cookware, right cookware, steel cookware, aluminum cookware , copper cookware, glass cookware , cast iron cookware, best cookware, non-stick cookware, pros and cons of different cookware, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), leaching, cooking, chemicals, temperature, heat resistance, durable