How To Properly Care For Your Cookware
The pots and pans in your kitchen need some love and attention, too.
A set of pots and pans is essential in every kitchen. But whether the set you have is made of stainless steel, coated with a nonstick surface, or an heirloom wok handed down to you from your grandmother, learning to preserve your cookware–during and after cooking–will ensure efficient meal preparation as well as cookware that will last. Take note of these tips:
For nonstick surfaces
- Use the right materials.
Silicone, wood, and heat-resistant rubber and plastic should be used when cooking on pots and pans with a coating that is nonstick. The heat-resistant yet soft materials will preserve the special coating during use, avoiding nicks and scratches that make cooking on the slippery surface a joy to use, especially when dealing with food that sticks. It's time to replace it with a new one when your nonstick pans become pockmarked with too many nicks, exposing the metal underneath.
- Let it cool.
After cooking, allow the pan to cool completely before washing. Shocking the pan under cold water may result in the pan warping, thus, separating the coating from the metal pan. Once cool, you’ll want to use a sponge to wipe off any residue that remains. Wipe dry to prevent water stains, and use a paper towel in between pans to further preserve the coating while in storage.
For cast iron
- Season, season, season.
Most cast iron pans bought today come pre-seasoned, but whether or not it does, create an extra layer of protection by seasoning it again. Do this by lightly coating the entire pan with oil and heating the oiled pan past its smoke point in an oven for a few hours on high heat. The oil binds with the material and creates a natural nonstick surface. Flaxseed oil is best to use for this process, but olive, canola, or any edible oil will work just as well.
Healthy Options Flaxseed oil, 16 ounces, P1,225, and Solgar Flaxseed Oil, 16 ounces, P895, Healthy Options Shangri-La Plaza Mall; Apollo Mineral Oil, 60 ml., P49, Mercury Drug
- Use salt, and minimize the use of soap.
Whenever possible, use a sponge or brush to remove any food particles stuck on its surface. Sprinkle salt over particularly stubborn spots and scrub it off with a sponge. Using anything abrasive will scrape the coating off. Use the smallest amount of dishwashing soap to prevent washing off the protective film oil on its surface.
- Dry by heat.
On a stovetop, make sure all moisture has evaporated from your cast iron pans to prevent water droplets from rusting the iron. Lightly coat with oil, and allow to cool completely before storing.
For stainless steel
- So tough, be abrasive.
Probably the easiest cookware to use and care for, stainless steel pots and pans are made to last. The toughest problem you’ll encounter is cleaning it, and using something abrasive, such as the rough side of your kitchen sponge or a scouring pad.
- Use sandpaper.
For particularly tough, cooked-on stains, and sticky grease, use sandpaper with 800-1000 grit or rating. Stainless steel is the only cookware material tough enough to withstand a sanding and emerge almost like new.
- Use soft materials.
While copper is a fantastic conductor of heat, it’s a soft metal and can wear away, especially when something abrasive is used on its surface. Use silicon, wood, plastic and rubber cooking utensils when using, just like you would when using a nonstick pan.
- Sponge it.
Be gentle with pots and pans coated in copper. Use a sponge when cleaning and, when necessary, soak in hot water to gently remove food particles from its surface. Dry completely, and store between paper towels to prevent scratches.
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