How to Take Good Care of Your Best Cookware

Correctly treating your cookware can make cooking and cleaning easier while extending the life of your pots and pans set. Some types of cookware have specific cleaning instructions, while others require prep before cooking any food inside. With proper care, your cookware will last for years, and in some cases, generations.

Copper Cookware

Scouring your copper cookware can damage the lining on your cookware set, especially if it’s a tin lining. Instead, wash copper pots and pans with warm water and dishwashing liquid. Cold water in a hot copper pan can warp the metal. If baked-on food is still a problem, soak the cookware in a solution of warm water and dishwashing liquid. Afterward, clean the exterior by polishing with a solution of white vinegar and salt or commercial copper cleaner.

Cast Iron Pans

For many years, the rule of thumb was cleaning cast iron with salt and hot water. Soap was never to touch the seasoning of cast iron, lest the taste of soap soaks into the porous surface. However, the has tide turned, and soap is now acceptable. It turns out that as long as a cast iron pan is well seasoned, the soap does not soak in.

You should season a cast iron pan before first use, and every once in a while. Brush all of the surfaces of the cast iron with a thin layer of oil, such as unflavored vegetable oil, and bake the skillet at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour. This creates a layer of polymerized oil, essentially making the cast iron nonstick.

Never put cast iron in the dishwasher, and do not use any scouring pads to clean the cast iron. Dry the cookware immediately, or it could rust after cleaning. After drying, rub with a thin layer of cooking oil and store the cookware in a dry place.

Aluminum Cookware

Aluminum cookware should not be cleaned in the dishwasher. Untreated or uncoated aluminum run through the dishwasher will speed up the oxidation process, leaving unsightly visible traces. Instead, wash the cookware as soon as possible after use (once it has cooled), and hand-dry it to avoid pitting. Use a soapy non-scratch scouring pad to shine the surface of the aluminum.

Stainless Steel Cookware

Let stainless steel cool down before trying to clean it. To avoid stains, wash stainless steel cookware with water and detergent as soon as possible. Scouring pads can scratch surfaces, making them more prone to staining. Soaking stainless steel cookware for long periods can cause mineral salts in the water to pit the cookware. Acidic food can damage the surface of stainless-steel cookware.

Nonstick Pans

While nonstick pans are among the few types of cookware sets that are dishwasher safe, you should instead hand-wash after it cools down. Use a soft sponge, such as plastic or nylon, with liquid detergent, or a paste of equal parts water and baking soda. To repair the surface, rub it down with a thin layer of vegetable oil and wipe away the excess, then leave it to dry—much like seasoning a cast-iron pan.

When cooking, use a small amount of fat, like butter or oil, before turning on the heat, and distribute the layer of fat evenly. Be sure to use only wooden or plastic utensils, as metal utensils can scratch the surface of cookware.

About CHEFS Catalog

Since 1979, CHEFS Catalog has offered the highest quality equipment to the culinary world, from professional chefs to home cooks. CHEFS Catalog’s collections provide practical kitchen solutions with bakeware sets, appliances, cutlery, recipes, advice, and more. With a passion for all things culinary, they understand the need for durable, reliable kitchenware. They started out as a premier commercial catalog, featuring Julia Child on an early cover. In 2017, CHEFS Catalog transformed into the go-to online source for quality cookware, bakeware, and accessories.

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