How to Care for Slow-Heating Cookware

How to care for slow-heating cookware

The right cookware can make or break your perfect dish, so caring for them properly is key.  Follow these simple steps on caring for slow-heating cookware.

How to Care for Slow-Heating Cookware

1. Earthenware, stoneware and clay

Used principally for baking dishes, these materials are poor conductors of heat, but they retain it well. All can crack if subjected to any rapid changes in temperature, so they are not recommended for stovetop cooking.

  • Clay bakers should be soaked in water for about 30 minutes before use.
  • Glazed cookware can be cleaned with a dish detergent.
  • Avoid abrasive cleaners.
  • For unglazed baking dishes, do not use soap — it can soak in and permanently flavour the cookware.

2. Glass, ceramic and porcelain

Oven-proof versions of these materials are traditionally used for baking dishes from pie pans to casseroles, soufflé dishes to gratin pans. Most are also microwave safe (check the label). The newest ceramics, now used for a variety of baking dishes, can go straight from the freezer to the oven without damage. All of these materials are easy to clean with dish detergent, or they can be put in the dishwasher.

3. Enamelled metal

Available in an array of bright colours, enamelled cast iron and steel pots can do double duty as cookware and serving pieces. The enamel also makes the cookware nonreactive and nonabsorptive, so you can cook any kind of food in enamelled cookware. Enamelled cast iron cookware has the advantages of cast iron without the drawbacks. It is, however, very heavy and slow to heat.

Enamelled steel cookware is lightweight and less expensive, but conducts heat less evenly. Good-quality enamelled steel has thick steel, at least three coats of enamel and a stainless steel rim to resist chipping.All enamelled cookware chips fairly easily, so it should be handled with reasonable care. Therefore, it is a good idea to check the manufacturer's recommendations before washing it in the dishwasher. In general, use non-abrasive cleaners that will not scratch the pan's surface. If light-coloured enamel has become stained, you can soak the pot in warm water with a small amount of liquid chlorine bleach added.

4. Special cleaning problems

Be sure that any cookware you put in the dishwasher is rated dishwasher safe. Pans with wooden handles, for example, are not. Also, let cookware cool before you wash it to prevent warping. Then, in most cases, a scrubbing with dish detergent and a plastic scrubber will clean the cookware. Even the best cooks burn their cookware occasionally.

Here's how to attack the problem:

  1. Use a nylon scraper or a plastic spatula to scrape away any residue. Wet the burned area with water, then sprinkle it with salt and let it stand for ten minutes. Scrub the pan vigorously.
  2. Sprinkle the burned area liberally with baking soda, and add just enough water to moisten it. Scrub gently, then let it stand for several hours. If the burn still doesn't simply lift out, scrub the area vigorously.
  3. Soak a non-aluminum pan for 24 hours with 30 millilitres (two tablespoons) of dishwasher detergent sudsed up in 500 to 750 millilitres (two or three cups) of water.
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