Pans coated with a nonstick coating allow you to fry up a batch of eggs without fear that most of the eggs will stick to the pan. The smooth, slippery surface ensures your meal will make it from the pan to your plate intact. Furthermore, this is possible without the copious amounts of butter that may be required on regular pans. Unfortunately, this coating is not flawless. With careless treatment, you may discover that your pans are scratched, your food is sticking to their surfaces, and cleanup is no longer a breeze. The following are 10 tips to help you maintain the slick and polished surfaces on your nonstick pans.
10. Refrain from Preheating
If you have been taught to preheat your pans on the stove before adding food, you will want to retrain yourself to avoid this practice. Never preheat an empty nonstick pan on your stovetop. Most nonstick pans will heat quickly. Leaving an empty pan on the stove may destroy the coating or release noxious chemicals into the air. Instead, add a splash of cooking oil to the pan to lightly coat the surface and warm the pan on the stovetop for a few seconds. Then you can begin adding your meat, eggs, or vegetables.
9. Keep the Heat at Low to Medium
Avoid high temperatures when using nonstick cookware, as high temperatures can break down the nonstick coating and release chemicals into the air or your food. Instead, use low to medium temperatures when using this cookware. The Calphalon company recommends searing, sautéing, frying and making stir-fries at a medium-high temperature. Medium heat is suitable for pancakes, grilled cheese sandwiches, and egg dishes. Low is appropriate for simmering soups, keeping food warm, and making sauces.
8. Avoid Using Aerosolized Cooking Sprays
As tempting as it is to give your nonstick pan a quick spritz with a can of aerosolized cooking spray, keep these sprays far away from your nonstick cookware. In addition to oil, these sprays contain added chemicals that can be destructive to your pans. According to Bob Vila, cooking spray can react with nonstick surfaces to create a gummy, sticky buildup that destroys the surface and ruins the nonstick effect. Instead, use a dab of olive oil to lubricate your pan before cooking. This will add to the nonstick effect of your cookware and protect the finish.
7. Watch Out for Acidic Foods
Acidic foods like tomato, wine, or lemon juice can erode the surface of your nonstick cookware. This also destroys the finish and can cause chemicals to leach into your food. When cooking heavily acidic dishes, stick to enamel, ceramic, or nonreactive stainless steel pots and pans. Save your nonstick cookware for boiling water, making vegetable stir-fries, toasting bread, or frying up an omelet.
6. Stick to Wooden or Silicon Utensils
To protect the smooth surface of your nonstick cookware, avoid using metal utensils that can scrape or scratch the finish. Use wooden or silicon spoons to stir your soups or stews. Purchase a silicon whisk to prevent destroying the finish of your nonstick pots while whipping up gravies or sauces. Use a nylon or silicone spatula to flip pancakes or omelets while cooking. Even tongs can be found with a silicon coating that will keep your nonstick surfaces smooth and pristine. Never use a knife to cut food while it is still in the pan.
5. Transfer Food to Storage Containers
It may be tempting to take your cookware straight from the stovetop to the table then to the fridge. However, exposing your nonstick pots and pans to extreme temperatures, such as those of the refrigerator, can damage their smooth finish. Instead, transfer leftovers to tightly lidded storage containers before placing them in the fridge. This will keep your chow fresher, hold bacteria at bay, and provide a barrier against odors from other foods. Additionally, this will help keep the linings of your pots and pans smooth and free from damage.
4. Avoid Soaking Your Pans Overnight
After slaving over a stove making dinner, it can be tempting to toss your pans into a sink of soapy water. You may long to let them soak overnight while you relax and unwind from a busy day. However, this practice does you no favors, as exposing your cookware to water for long periods of time can degrade the finish. Instead, take a few minutes to give your pots and pans a good cleaning after using them. Then you can relax and enjoy a sparkling clean kitchen as well as beautiful, functional, nonstick pots and pans ready for the next meal.
3. Properly Clean Your Pots and Pans
Keep your nonstick cookware sparkling clean, super-smooth, and ready for your next use by cleaning it properly. Avoid placing nonstick pots and pans in the dishwasher, as the high temperatures and abrasive detergents can destroy the nonstick finish. Instead, fill up your sink with hot, soapy water while you are cooking. Then, wash your cooking utensils as you go. Once your pot or pan has cooled to room temperature, wash it by hand in the sudsy water with a soft dishcloth. Be sure to dry your cookware with a soft dish towel to prevent any damage from excess moisture.Related: 10 Foods That Are Linked to Cancer
2. Store Nonstick Cookware Properly
Prevent causing damage to your cookware by properly storing it. If you have the space, keep your pots and pans from banging against each other by hanging them from hooks overhead. If this is not an option, pots and pans can be safely stacked in kitchen cabinets with cloth or felt dividers between them to prevent scratching. You don’t need to run out and buy special pads in order to keep your cookware safe from scrapes and scratches. A soft cloth or layers of paper towels can also be used to prevent damage to stacked pots and pans.
1. Replace Scratched or Peeling Pans
If you haven’t treated your nonstick pots and pans with tender loving care, you may notice the surfaces have become scratched or eroded. If this occurs, you will want to discard your cookware and replace it with new, intact items. As the nonstick surfaces become degraded, they can release chemicals or flakes of the lining into your food. Not only will this destroy the flavor of your food, but it can also have negative effects on your health. Treat your pots and pans right, and they can provide lasting value for many years.Related: Teflon and Cancer