Monday, April 18, 2016

Ceramic Cookware 101

Last Christmas, my husband gave me a beautiful set of ceramic-coated cookware. Unlike Teflon or other types of traditional non-stick cookware, ceramic coating is much safer and healthier, not to mention heat- and scratch-resistant. After trying out my new pots and pans I was thrilled to see that they were every bit as nonstick as my old cookware set, with none of the unpleasant side-effects (Teflon-sprinkled eggs, anyone?) Here’s a helpful guide to get you the most use and highest performance out of your ceramic pots and pans:

Before the First Use:
Unlike traditional skillets and frying pans, it is not necessary to “season” your ceramic cookware with oil. It is, however, good practice to wash your new pots and pans in warm, soapy water and wipe dry with a paper towel. This will remove any leftover ceramic dust particles from manufacturing. Once it’s washed, it’s ready to go!
Use Proper Utensils:
Make sure to always use only wooden, silicone or plastic utensils when stirring or serving the contents of your cookware. Metal whisks, spatulas or spoons can leave scratch marks on the surface of the cookware. Though ceramic coating is more scratch-resistant than other nonstick surfaces, it is not entirely immune to scratches or gouges, so it’s best to stick with the safer utensils.
Skip the Cooking Spray:
Here’s one I didn’t know at first. Cooking sprays can cause a buildup of residue on your ceramic cookware, so use a tiny bit of oil or butter to coat the inside of the pan when you cook instead. The amount of oil or butter you have to use is so insignificant it will hardly add any calories to what you are cooking, and it will help the coating last longer.
Avoid High Heat:
Though ceramic cookware is heat-resistant, it performs best on low or medium heat settings. Because ceramics distribute heat effectively, foods will be cooked more evenly and quickly on low to medium heat. On the other hand, high heat can cause the food to stick, which can damage or discolor the surfaces of the pots and pans.
How to Clean Ceramic Cookware:
A year has come and gone and those pots and pans get put to use in the kitchen almost every day. Needless to say, they’re no longer as sparkly and white as they were out of the box. Luckily, washing ceramic cookware is easier than washing other types of nonstick pots and pans. Ceramic cookware should always be hand-washed in warm soapy water and a soft, non-abrasive sponge or scrubber. Soak pots and pans in hot water for 30 minutes prior to washing to make cleaning burnt food from pans easier. If you want to get your ceramic-coated cookware back to its original gleaming state, periodically give them a good deep cleaning to remove stains, buildup and discoloration. To do this, soak the pot or pan in hot, soapy water and wash with a non-abrasive sponge as usual. Then sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda to the affected areas and let stand for 20 minutes. Using a plastic dish brush, scrub the pot or pan in circular motions until stains have lifted, then rinse with warm water and dry with a clean towel.

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