If you own that coveted set of gleaming, super smooth set of non stick cookware that you’d been lusting since last fall and are a little bit confused about all that you’ve been hearing about it not being specifically durable, among other criticism that is coming hard and fast from the ‘purists’ that will have cookware in no other doneness except cast iron or copper.
Whereas it is true that the non stick cookware does need a little bit of extra care, like all things that have been created to perfect balance. Over the last few years, non stick cookware has really come of age and compares in longevity, versatility and performance to any other cooking surface, it is true that some points should be tried to be observed in order to get the maximum performance out of your non stick cookware and for a long time.
Let us discuss a few pointers that can help you in getting an idea about things to do or not do while taking care of your non stick range of utensils, and get years of uninterrupted , high quality cooking experience out of them. Whereas many of these pointers will obviously depend on the quality of the cookware itself and the quality of non stick coating used as well, still these points will help you create an awareness within yourself and others that use your cookware about potential situations that can harm the performance of the cookware, especially if you have not spent too much money on those.
- Store the Pans Correctly: Remember all those movies and adverts where a series of gleaming, buffed pans are hanging upside down right over the kitchen chimney? Ever wondered why it's done that way? Well because that is the best way to store pans. If at all you must stack them on one on top of the other, ensure that they stay away from sharp objects as well as corners or use storage mats. Avoid scrapping the top of the pan which can sometimes cause harm to the non stick coating of the cookware.
- Use correct Cleaning Agents: Many people believe that it is detrimental to the performance of non stick cookware if it is washed in a dishwasher. Whereas many good quality non stick cookware of today is dish washer safe and can easily and safely be washed over and over again in dishwashers, the fact still remains that dishwasher agents generally such as bleach etc. are hard and can harm the coating of some non stick surfaces. Softer and milder detergents are therefore preferred for cleaning the non stick cookware and hand-washing is the ultimate solution for years of protection and enjoyment.
- Don’t Store Food in your pans: Depending on what you store in a non stick pan, it can promote degradation and sometimes, in cheaper non stick cookware, can also have the food take a metallic taste. Although rare and certainly not applicable to the good quality branded non stick cookware out there, generally, it is better to avoid storing food in non stick cookware. The acidic content in some foods can also harm the non stick coating, although that is fairly uncommon.
- Know your cooking Temperatures: Although most good quality non stick cookware can generally withstand much higher levels of temperatures, It is true none the less that many non stick cookware will come with temperature warning levels. Many non stick pans and pots can take temperatures of up to 350F and higher, but that is not quite common. Most cookware is good only within temperature of 300F, unless mentioned on the packaging. Too much heat on some non stick cookware can cause the coating to bubble and lose its non stick properties, especially in the cheaper versions of the cookware. It is better not to expose the non stick cookware to direct broiler heat, especially for a longer duration.
- Avoid foods that are too acidic. Again, not generally applicable to the modern, branded cookware, but on the cheaper cookware this has been reported to be a problem. Foods that have a high acidic content tend to bond and loosen shallow non stick coatings, such as lemons and tomatoes. It is therefore a good idea to avoid cooking food that has a high acidic content in non stick cookware that you are not perfectly sure about the quality of, such as a gift or an online purchase from a not so well known brand.
- Do not use Aerosol Sprays: Cooking Sprays of most kinds are known to be detrimental to the surface of non stick cookware. Most store bought cooking sprays contain products like lecithin, and propelling agents such as silicon and alcohol. Although most cooking sprays are certified to be FDA approved, it is true that these cooking sprays do tend to build up a coating on the non stick pan’s surface when heated up to high temperatures. Even if not immediately, but most average quality non stick cookware will be affected by continuous use of aerosol based cooking sprays.
- Avoid using Abrasive cleaning materials: Although the coatings of most non stick cookware of good quality can handle minor abrasions, for many it is quite detrimental to the coating of the cookware. Using products such as steel wool, harsh cleaning agents or metallic scouring pads or other abrasive agents can affect the non stick coating. Even if the food is stuck to the surface of a non stick pan, which ideally it shouldn’t since it is ‘non stick’, but in some cheaper ones it will, and the best way to remove it is to soak the utensils and try and deglaze them off, rather than using scouring pads that will scratch the coating and make them more prone to sticking.
- Avoid extreme water temperature changes: Temperature shocks can really be detrimental to coatings of non stick pans. Taking a hot pan and suddenly submerging it in tap cold water can sometimes cause the coating to shrink and warp. Although obviously this doesn’t happen in the non stick cookware that comes from good, reputable brands, still it is a possibility in the cheaper versions. Ideally all non stick pans should be allowed to cool down a little bit before submerging those in water for cleaning.
Although the above pointers should be kept in mind towards taking good care of your non stick cookware, it must be understood that most good quality, branded cookware these days will not have these problems. Even so, considering the growing popularity and sales of the low end non stick cookware segment, it is a good idea to be aware of the methods that can increase the longevity of your non stick cookware. So go ahead and take a look at the SHOP section where we have created cookware that solves and avoids all of these problems and therefore are much better to own than most nonsticks out there.