Whether you are cooking alone or with your loved ones, cooking your favorite foods should be fun instead of a chore. One of the most important things to keep in mind while cooking in the kitchen is your safety.
Whether you cook as a hobby or as a profession, your safety in the kitchen is of utmost priority.
Many people believe that the cooking method, style, and ingredients define cooking, but they forget that the science of cooking also includes what materials (such as cookware and stove) they cook with.
A lot of people wonder what the safest cooking pans are? To keep you and your family safe, most people recommend non-toxic and non-stick pots and pans. It is essential to learn about the safest pans and how they might affect your health and diet.
We get it – you want something that looks good, is safe and easy to clean afterward. Read ahead to learn about the different kinds of pots and pans, why you should use safe pans and what kinds of pans you should be using!
What Pans are Safest to Cook with?
According to different research and studies, many health and environmental issues can arise from common cookware options. Always make sure to do your research before investing in pans.
A great tip would be to remember the 3 R’s. Reduce, reuse and recycle. When you are buying something for your kitchen, instead of going for something expensive or flashy, always make sure to buy something that is durable and will last you a long time. Another way to not only save money but also protect the environment and your health is to buy used cookware.
Many types of research show that certain pans items can cause health complications, so it is better to know which type of pans to buy.
Non-stick pans are not only easily available everywhere, but they are available in several sizes. These pans are great to use for food items like fried eggs because they will prevent the food from sticking to the pan.
Non-stick pans are also pretty easy to clean since the greasy food does not stick to the surface of the pan. They are pretty low maintenance – all you have to do is soak them in dish soap for a while and then wash them with water thoroughly.
Related Read: How to Check If a Pan is Non-Stick?
One thing to keep in mind about non-stick pans is how they might not be able to withstand the high oven heat, so always make sure to know your pot/pan’s limit before putting it in the oven.
Non-stick pans and pots are pretty common, but they are a huge health hazard. These pans heat up extremely quickly, thus releasing toxic gases and chemicals in the air around you. When non-stick pans get very hot, they also release carcinogens in the air, which can cause cancer.
Another common acid that is released by non-stick cookware is perfluorooctanoic acid, which is found in the blood of almost all Americans, whether they are adults or children. PFOA acid is considered a carcinogen, which is not only deadly for the environment but can also cause birth defects in humans. PFOA acid is also known to increase levels of cholesterol in the human body.
High exposure to PFOA acid can lead to high levels of carcinogens in the body, which can cause pancreatic and testicular cancer. PFOA acid can also cause polymer fume fever. The fumes released by this acid are deadly – they can kill birds, and this is why experts recommend not using non-stick pans in houses that have birds.
If you do have non-stick pots or pans in your house, always make sure to follow a few safety rules to prevent any damage to you or your family. Non-stick pans are known to overheat very quickly, so always make sure to keep the temperature below 400 to 450 degrees.
Never ever leave a non-stick pan or pot unattended around an open flame or any heat source because it can easily cause a fire. If you have birds as pets, always keep in mind to keep them out of the kitchen while you are using your non-stick pans.
Try not to use metal utensils on non-stick pots and be careful while washing non-stick pans – if the surface is damaged or looks worn out, it’s time to get a new pan.
Non-stick pans are known to heat very quickly, but Teflon pans were a hit some time ago when they were first introduced. Not only were these pans and pots easy to clean, but they also made cooking extremely easy.
When they were initially introduced, it seemed like they were completely safe because they did not emit any fumes and did not mix or react with the food. This was clearly not the case. Teflon cookware is very dangerous because it is reactive and can emit fumes when it is overheated.
Stainless Steel Pans
Stainless steel pans are quite common in many households because they are known to be durable. They last for years, and this is why most people prefer them. Stainless steel pans are mostly ovenproof pans because they can easily withstand the high oven temperature. They can be used for dishes that need to be prepared in the oven.
Stainless steel pans are dishwasher friendly, which means they won’t require too much effort to clean. Always make sure to not scrub too hard when cleaning stainless-steel pans because that can easily leave a mark. One thing to always keep in mind while using stainless-steel pans or pots is to let the pan cool off before touching it or washing it. These pans can get extremely hot, so make sure to always wear mittens when touching them. You can also let these pans soak in water and dish soap if it’s hard to clean the surface.
Stainless-steel pots and pans can include metals like chromium and nickel. These pans are durable, but try to not use them for too long because these metals can easily transfer into your foods. Before using your pan, always make sure to check if the surface of your pan is damaged or worn out. If you believe that metals have mixed into your food, throw the meal away and invest in a new pan.
While cleaning stainless-steel cookware, try not to scrub too hard or it might damage the surface. Always wash with a wet cloth and rub softly so that you don’t damage the surface of the pot.
Related read: Copper Pans vs. Stainless Steel Pans
Aluminum pots or pans are one of the most commonly used cookware in most households. Most people prefer aluminum pans as they are not only affordable but also easily available everywhere. Aluminum pans are also quite durable and dishwasher friendly. It is quite easy to wash them after using them, but you have to wash them frequently as they stain very easily.
Even though aluminum pans is one of the most widely used cookware, a lot of people are not aware of the health hazards surrounding aluminum and how it might affect you and your family.
Aluminum is highly reactive, which means it can easily mix with your food – especially if your food is acidic. Aluminum is found almost everywhere – in soil, water and air— so technically, aluminum intake is kind of impossible to avoid. Aluminum is highly reactive, so make sure to not cook acidic foods in aluminum pots and pans.
If you store acidic foods in aluminum containers for a long time, there is a high chance it might mix with your food, which can cause abnormal reactions in your body. Always keep in mind to not cook reactive foods in aluminum pots.
Anodized Aluminum Pans
This is a great alternative to simple plain aluminum pots. When aluminum is placed in a chemical solution, it becomes non-reactive, and that is exactly what you want your pan to be.
It’s ideal if your surface is non-reactive, so you can easily cook whatever you want. This process is called anodization. Through this process, aluminum cookware becomes unreactive and can be easily used to cook or fry food items.
Cast iron pans are known to evenly divide the heat across the whole pot. They are great to heat conductors and can stay heated for a long while. This is why they are perfect for baking and even slow cooking.
Cast iron pans are tricky to clean but the process is pretty simple. Do not soak them in water for too long because they might get rusty.
Here are a few things you can do instead of soaking them in water – rub them with a paper towel to clean them or wash them with dish soap, but dry them immediately.
Bare cast iron pans are easier to clean with a wet cloth, but enamel cast iron pans do not need that kind of maintenance. Always make sure to season your food before putting them in cast iron pans and avoid putting acidic foods in cast iron pots, or the surface of your pan will be damaged.
Cast iron pots are great because they are long-lasting and evenly distribute heat in the pot. The iron from cast iron pots and pans can easily migrate to the food, but unlike aluminum and other metals, iron is good for your body.
If you want your cast iron cookware to be non-stick, make sure to season it before frying food items on it. You can easily season it by applying oil on the surface and baking it. This prevents the iron from transferring to your food and makes it easier to wash your pan after you’re done with it.
Related read: Best Cast Iron Pans for Your Kitchen
Even though copper pans and pots are widely used, copper can easily migrate to your food.
Most people prefer metals like tin and nickel and even stainless-steel cookware because they are much harder to mix with the food.
Copper cookware, which is coated, can very easily lose its protective layer if the surface is damaged or if the pot is scrubbed too hard while washing. Always be careful of cooking in copper pans and pots because this metal can easily transfer to your food.
Related read: Are Copper Pans Better for Cooking?
Ceramic, Enameled and Glass Pans
Ceramic and glass pans are generally safe and healthy options for your kitchen. If you are looking for alternatives to metal cookware like copper and even stainless-steel, then switch to glass and ceramic cookware for a healthier lifestyle for you and your family.
Not only is glass cookware affordable, but it is also a safe and a much healthier option. It’s true that glass cookware breaks if it is exposed to extremely high temperatures, but it is not reactive like other pans and pots.
Glass cookware is also very easily available almost everywhere. Always make sure your cookware doesn’t get too hot after putting it in the oven. Glass cookware cannot be used on stovetops, but you can use it for other various things.
You can use it to freeze items. Some glass cookware is also made to be kept on the stovetops easily. Always make sure to read the instructions before this step.
The best part about glass cookware is that it is unreactive. Even if you want to cook acidic foods, you’ll never be scared that the material of your pan might mix with your food. Glass cookware is widely known and accepted as a much healthier choice compared to non-stick and steel pans.
Now that you know which pans are the safest to use, what are you waiting for? Try these pans today.
You may also like the following articles:
- Do Non-Stick Pans Need Oil?
- Can You Season a Cast-Iron Pan with Olive Oil?
- Skillet vs Frying Pan
- Shallow Baking Pan Vs Deep Baking Pan
- Are aluminum pans bad for you?
- Are Teflon Pans (Non-stick Pans) Bad For You?
- Why Are Copper Pans Lined With Tin?
- Are Cast Iron Pans Better than Non-Stick Pans?
- Why Do Cooking Pans Catch Fire and how to prevent it?