Non-stick pans #101 – how to properly take care of them

I’ve always been a fan of cooking.

Ever since I was a kid, I remember staying up until midnight with my mom and my grandma cooking non-stop. We would bake pastries, cook several main and side dishes, wash and chop veggies, marinate several types of meat. My mind gets easily clouded with memories as I write this, and I can clearly picture us three ladies (who represent the three generations together: the past, the present and the future), all crowded in a small (and not at all elegant) kitchen. We would caramelize apples but also onions, boil dumplings, play with Curcuma, ginger, and garlic. Sometimes, when we were feeling a little more adventurous, we would even dare to add honey, soja or vinegar to certain traditional dishes and check out how the mix reacted. Herbs, almonds, cinnamon were all little details that would make a dish a different experience every time. Caprese salad with pesto, focaccia bread, mushroom risotto, tiramisu, pannacotta were all dishes we would typically make every single week. My grandma would always say:

‘’Pay special attention to two things:

 

  • The cooking utensils you’re gonna use.
  • The kitchen’s cleanness.

 

So, of course, these two lessons have accompanied me throughout my cooking days and not a day goes by in which I don’t think about these important reminders.

When it comes to utensils, there’s always been a lifesaver lying around my kitchen: nonstick pans.

Non-stick cookware is extremely useful for cooking. This type of cookware and bakeware is affordable (although it may be a little pricey when it comes to specific instruments), easy to wash, lightweight to handle and helps food release their juices and flavors to their maximum.
Thanks to its non-stick properties and coating, less oil is required during cooking so it’s even handy when it comes to health. Nonstick helps you save a lot of time and also aids your cooking a lot!

As useful and easy to handle as they may be, there is a detail you should always pay attention to: Teflon, the property that allows these pan to have non-stick properties can get damaged easily. Because of this, these non-stick and life-saving properties may goy to waste easily. Should your nonstick pan coating become damaged and start to peel, discontinue use of the pan to avoid pieces of the coating from being transferred to foods. Once a coating has a small scratch or nick, foods will stick and eventually the coating will start to peel.

Thankfully, you can extend these pans lifetime just by paying attention to simple safety guidelines and tricks to ensure their correct functioning.

Mind you: over time, even the best of pans lose their nonstick property because small food residue has marred the coating.You can expect for it to last for 3 to 5 years maximum by taking special care of it.

Mistakes and how to avoid them:

  1. Cooking over high heat
    Cooking over high heat should be avoided for a few reasons.The higher temperatures are bad for the nonstick coating on the cookware because they end up deteriorating the surface. Besides, it’s important not to forget that, depending on the type of nonstick coating your pan has, high heat can lead to the release unhealthy, potentially toxic vapors.
    The tip → Use them only on lower heat settings.  Most coatings cannot take high heat, not even at the start of cooking.
    NOTE: Do not preheat an empty pan. Nonstick cookware is usually made of aluminum, which heats faster than heavier, denser stainless steel. Add a little bit of oil to the pan first (enough to lightly coat the surface), and preheat it for a few seconds before adding the food.

  2. Using sharp or abrasive objects anywhere near your nonstick pan
    When cooking or cleaning, using sharp objects (knives or metal spatulas, along with things like steel wool) can scratch and damage the coating on the pan.
    The tip → for cooking, use wooden spoons or silicone spatulas for stirring food. For cleaning, use a soft dishrag or non-metallic sponge or brush.
    Always use plastic (with no rough edges), wooden spoons or heat-resistant silicone utensils, spoons and spatulas in nonstick pans. These will save the coating and extend the life of your pan tremendously.

  3. Using nonstick cooking spray
    Avoid using nonstick cooking spray on nonstick cookware as much as possible. You should always oil a little before using, to help the coating last longer but non-stick cooking sprays tend to have additives that can be too damaging for nonstick coatings.
    The tip → Use whole fats, like oil or butter, instead of cooking spray. My personal recommendation? Use coconut oil. It gives flavor, it’s really healthy and does not damage your pan at all.

  4. Using nonstick pans as food storage vessels.
    Take your food from your pan to storage containers after cooking. Acidic foods can damage the coating when left in the pan for a long time and also the metallic taste and properties may extend and contaminate your food, affecting the flavor and its health properties.

  5. Drastic changes in temperature
    They can cause the pan to warp and damage the nonstick coating.The pans should cool completely before immersing in water. Use a plastic scrub, sponge or dishcloth to wash the pans. Never use scrubbers that have built-in harsh cleansers or detergents. Nonstick pans tend to wash quickly and easily, requiring little scrubbing.

    And always remember: if scratches or chips appear on the nonstick surface, it’s time to replace the cookware.

 

I hope you enjoy this post and find these tips helpful! If you know of any others, please do not hesitate to leave them down in the comments section below! These pans are super necessary and helpful when it comes to cooking, but should always be handled with extreme care and responsibility 🙂

Thank you once again for taking the time to read this post and for showering me with lots of love after every post! I will see you very very soon.

Lots of love,

Gusshi 🙂

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