Many culinary enthusiasts would love to know the secrets of famous chefs. But sometimes an unusual taste of a dish depends not so much on properly selected ingredients and spices, but on the useful properties of the cookware that was used during cooking. Whether it is a kitchen of an expensive restaurant where professionals create their work of art or a kitchen of an experienced housewife – you can always find a copper cookware there.
Before purchasing this type of cookware, you must think of the benefits and potential harm it can cause to health. And this is exactly what we'll be talking about in this article. Hopefully, it will help you to choose the best copper cookware.
The Advantages of Copper Cookware
The most important characteristic of copper cookware is its high thermal conductivity, which is 10 times higher than that of steel or aluminum pots; it contributes to even distribution of the heat throughout a cooking surface, which, in its turn, speeds up the process of cooking without affecting taste. They believe that jam or a spicy sauce come out the most delicious, if they were prepared in the copper cookware.
By reducing the time of thermal processing of food, this cookware preserves the beneficial qualities of the products.
Lightness and durability are also indisputable advantages of the copper cookware. But information on the benefits and potential harm that copper can cause to human health deserves our special attention.
Beneficial Properties of Copper Cookware
For many centuries people have been using copper cookware. The properties, disadvantages, and practical tips to care for pots and pans made of copper have been known to us for a long time.
One of the most important properties of copper cookware is its antibacterial effect. Copper can fight a variety of fungi and bacteria preventing them from getting into food. In the old days, water used to be stored in copper pots in order to decontaminate it. With the help of experiments, the American scientists have proved that copper successfully eliminates strains of Salmonella and E.coli. The food prepared in copper cookware gets disinfected preventing occurrence of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. It explains why for a very long time copper has been used in folk medicine for treatment of many diseases: intoxication, convulsions, ulcers, hemorrhoids, etc.
Potential Harmful Qualities of Copper Cookware
In addition to the great properties of copper, scientists have discovered a number of negative factors that can cause harm to health or adversely affect the quality of products prepared in such cookware:
- 1Ascorbic acid, found in fruits and berries, gets easily destroyed during a reaction with copper.
- 2When storing products in copper pots, loss of vitamins and oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids occurs, and it may contribute to development of cancers.
- 3Harm of this cookware is particularly serious if it is stored in a humid environment. Increased moisture causes oxidation of copper, which manifests itself in a form of green tarnish. When interacting with food acids during heating, copper produces substances that are harmful to human body. Therefore, when such tarnish appears on the cookware, you must carefully remove it by wiping its surface with salt previously soaked in vinegar.
Coating of Copper Cookware
Copper cookware reacts negatively with products that have high acidity. In order to prevent oxidation and make the cooking process safe, they usually coat the interior surface of the copper pot with special alloys of tin, iron or nickel. When this coating gets frayed - the cookware should be changed for a new set. In order to avoid scratching of the interior surface of a copper pot during cooking, we recommend using a wooden spatula.
A guide to Caring for Copper Cookware
Copper cookware requires more care than any other type of cookware. It must be regularly polished to avoid tarnish; you must follow guidelines on proper storage conditions - such cookware does not tolerate high humidity – it is copper’s enemy number one. It is not recommended that you wash copper items in the dishwasher: use of strong detergents can damage them significantly shortening their service life. The same applies to detergents containing bleach. For washing, use a soft cloth or sponge without an abrasive layer to avoid damaging a protective layer inside.
They sell various gels and powders for cleaning copper cookware. The benefits and harms of such products must be taken into account when applied to the pots with or without a protective layer. For cleaning coated items, special compounds are used which are not capable of damaging the surfaces. Such resources can be used for washing and for polishing of the pots that have already been washed – to provide shine.
To clean and polish the copper products, some home solutions can also be used: kerosene, ammonia, vinegar, chalk, etc. It is important to wipe the entire surface thoroughly after cleaning.
Copper cookware can become a real decoration of the kitchen for many years. The benefits and harm of copper, of course, must be kept in mind. But nevertheless, this metal is not only beautiful, but durable as well, which allows you to pass it from generation to generation as a family relic. Whether you copper cookware is going to be harmful or not depends on how you are going to care for it.