Natural care solutions for pots and pans

June 25, 2015

Some traditional care methods will go a long way to protect any set of pots and pans. Here's how to keep them looking their best.

Natural care solutions for pots and pans

Stores today are filled with a huge selection of pots and pans manufactured from a variety of materials. When deciding what to buy, take into account the advantages and disadvantages of each; a good set of pots and pans can last a lifetime.

With such a varied choice of pots and pans, you should remember to take special care to clean and maintain different types of cookware. Some are more popular than others. Aluminum is lightweight, conducts heat well, and is fairly inexpensive. It's also long-lasting, and resists wear and tear. Some traditional care methods will go a long way to protect any set of pots and pans.

General care

  • Don't use metal implements while cooking since they can cause surface damage, particularly to nonstick pans.
  • Wash dirty cookware with dish soap and water, using a dishwashing sponge or brush. For enamel and stainless steel, use steel wool for heavy-duty cleaning.
  • Soften dried-on and especially burned-on food remnants overnight with water and a little salt. Boil the mixture in the pan, let it cool, wipe it out and rinse.
  • Take special care when cleaning cookware with wooden handles that may swell and split when soaked.

Aluminum pots

  • Never wash aluminum pots in the dishwasher or with abrasive cleaners; you risk discolouring or scratching the finish. Instead, scrub very lightly with a little soapy water and steel wool.
  • Bring back the shine by boiling spinach in an aluminum pan for a few minutes. Don't eat the vegetables though — aluminum forms toxic compounds with fruit acids, so avoid using aluminum pots for cooking fruits or vegetables.
  • Don't soak your aluminum pots too long and avoid storing food in them, as they can be prone to discolouration.

Enamel pots

  • Before the first use, enamel pots should be boiled for an hour with a vinegar-salt solution (50 grams or 1 1/2 ounces of salt; 30 millilitres or two tablespoons of vinegar; one litre or a quart of water) to increase their durability. Faulty enamel coatings allow harmful heavy metals to leach into your food.
  • Pouring cold water into hot enamel cookware will cause the enamel to crack.
  • Coat any stains on enamel pots with a paste of baking soda and water and let sit for an hour, then boil for 20 minutes (leaving the paste in the pot) and wash with hot, soapy water. Boiling orange and/or lemon peels for 20 minutes in a pot three-quarters-full of water also removes stains (but don't eat them). Finish by rinsing thoroughly.
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