How to help your cookware last forever

It's nice to have pots and pans last, rather than having to replace those that haven't held up. Here are a few simple methods of making sure your cookware has a good run.

How to help your cookware last forever

Keep cast iron seasoned

  • Clean and reseason any pans showing rust or that make food stick.
  • First heat the pan to a touchable temperature; then clean it thoroughly in hot water to remove food residue. Dry completely. Next coat the pan with grease or vegetable oil.
  • Place the pan in a preheated 135° C (275° F) oven for 15 minutes. Pour out excess grease and return to the oven for two hours.

Don't scour cast iron

  • Never use scouring pads or detergent on your cast-iron cookware. Instead, clean it with hot water and gentle scraping.
  • Dry the cookware thoroughly and store it with lids off to prevent moisture from accumulating and causing rust.

Copper care is simple

Keep your copper pots or copper-bottom pans in mint condition by following these simple guidelines:

• Don't use abrasives such as steel wool that will scratch the finish. Instead, soak immediately after cooking, and wash with a sponge or cloth. For tough jobs, leave the cookware to soak overnight.

• Avoid scratching your cookware by using only wooden, plastic, or nylon utensils when you are cooking.

• To avoid scorching, don't cook at the highest temperatures.

Brighten copper

  • Freshen up the copper with a paste made from cream of tartar and enough lemon juice to moisten.
  • Rub the mixture on the copper and let stand for five minutes. Wash in warm water and dry.

Camp cookware is easy to care for

Your tin pots and utensils are an important camping companion. Here are some simple ways to make sure that they'll be around for a full lifetime of outdoor adventures:

• To prevent scratching your cookware, stir with a wooden spoon or a whittled stick.

• Be careful never to boil out liquid in your tinware pots. Overheating weakens the pot's integrity.

• Clean your tinware immediately after you finish cooking with it and wipe it dry with a soft cloth.

• If you don't plan to use your tinware vessel again soon, protect it with a light coat of mineral oil.

Renew the gasket on your pressure cooker

  • Long before microwave ovens came on the scene, pressure cookers provided a way to reduce cooking times.
  • Plus a pressure cooker will tenderize tough cuts of meats — something you can't do in a microwave.
  • Not to mention that your mom's pressure cooker will still be steaming away after you've junked your next three or four microwave ovens.
  • The only part of a pressure cooker that usually wears out is the gasket. If the gasket on yours is dried out or won't seal, try soaking it for 20 minutes in hot water, then rub it with vegetable oil.
  • If it doesn't soften up, get a new gasket from the manufacturer or a cookware store.
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