Safe Cookware and Storage
Safe Cookware and Storage
Stainless Steel cookware is one of the more recent historical, safe cookwares to use today as what we cook in has evolved over the years. Prior to stainless steel’s popularity, aluminum cookware had been most popular since the 1920’s but concern over aluminum leaching into our food in the 1980’s (fear that aluminum caused Alzheimers diseases) curtailed aluminum cookware’s widespread use.
At that point, consumers turned to what previously had been more costly stainless steel pots and pans. This shift in consumer purchasing (l980’s) along with increased manufacturing of stainless steel cookware in the Far East, brought the cost of stainless down to a more reasonable price for consumers.
Today, stainless steel remains one of the safest cookwares and comes in three categories: 18/10, 18/8 and 18/0 which refers to the amount of nickel in the pot. With that, 18/0 has the least amount of nickel and the Faberware Millennium brand is highly recommended for safe cooking. This line of cookware uses aluminum at its’ core (for heat conduction) with stainless steel containing the aluminum to prevent the aluminum from leaching into foods that are cooked in it. Additional benefits of using stainless steel for cooking include the fact that it contains no PFO’s or PTFE’s.
Pyrex Glass and Corningware are both top picks for food storage although plastic can be used for storing food in the refridgerator or freezer as long as the food placed in them prior to storage is cool. If the food is not cooled first and put into the plastic storage when hot, phthalates can be negatively introduced in the food stored. Finally, if plastic storage containers are stained, it’s time to throw that container out as it indicates that the plastic has cracked and those cracks can be harboring potentially dangerous bacteria.
I have no doubt that using the safest types of cookware and food storage containers contribute to our overall health. It’s just a common sense fact that eliminating heavy metals and bacteria from getting into our systems is good, practical preventive health.
Cast Iron cookware has been used for more than 2,000 years. Historically, a number of advantages were noted with cast iron cookware including the ability to retain heat. When you are cooking on a fire or in a hearth, you could use cast iron since it won’t burn and retains heat for a long time. There were also cast iron pots that were made with 3 legs to stand over a fire for easier cooking.
In the first half of the 20th century, cast iron pans were very popular in American kitchens. They simply never wear out.
Cast iron fell out of favor however when Teflon coated pans were introduced although due to the tendency of Teflon to degrade, cast iron is significantly preferable.
It’s important that cast iron skillets be seasoned prior to usage. Treating the pan with oil over time creates a mostly non-stick surface making it almost as easy to work with and clean as other non-stick surface pans. Seasoning also prevents the pan from rusting. It’s important to be sure to clean them well so that the oil doesn’t become rancid, but with time and use, they do get better at being non-stick. Another interesting thing about cast iron skillets/cookware is that they can be used in the oven as well as on the stovetop.
Some other advantages and disadvantages of cast iron are as follows:
Cast iron cookware is heavy and hard for a small cook to work with.
Since they retain heat, you can serve a dish in the pan and it will stay warm for a long time.
They are not good for stir frying since they are hard to move and have hot handles.
They do require more maintenance than modern non-stick cookware.
It’s easy to burn yourself since the handle gets as hot as the pot.
They are versatile. You can deep fry, sauté or pop them in the oven.
They tend to be less expensive than other cookware and they do last forever.