Cooking and cleaning become a lot easier when using non stick cookware, which is one of the reasons for its increase in popularity over recent years. The inner lining of the pots and pans have a coating that prevents the food from sticking to it while cooking and allows for easy clean up with minimal scrubbing. Non-stick cookware also allows you to cook with considerably less oil than when using a regular pan which can make for healthier cooking.
Shopping for Non-Stick Cookware
Non-Stick Cookware does not mean that you are stuck with only one option as far as materials used in the pots and pans. The main options available in other cookware are also available in non-stick cookware with anodized aluminum and stainless steel being the main choices. Aluminum is great because it distributes heat evenly and allows for more even cooking without hot spots. It is just as durable, if not more durable, than stainless steel pots and pans. Anodized aluminum pans may be more expensive than the stainless steel however.
Type of Non-Stick Coating
The non-stick coatings used on these types of pans can be made from silicone or polytetrafluoro ethylene(PTFE). Silicone is used more frequently in bakeware and does not usually do well with the higher heats of cooking on the stove top. Silicone is also known for not interacting very well with animal fats. Silicone coatings will be shiny so for good non-stick cookware you will want to look for pans that have a dull finish to them. Non-stick pans can have anywhere from one coating up to seven coatings.
The least expensive pans will have only one coating and will not last as long. With only one coating they can be scratched more easily and lost their non-stick coating faster. Pans with a second coating will have a layer sealing the non-stick coating and preventing it from peeling or scratching as easily. The more layers that are added the better the durability of the non-stick pan will be and also the more expensive it will be.
Try rubbing your fingers across the bottom of the pan to feel the smoothness of it. If you can feel tiny bumps or ridges, the pan has only one or two layers of coating. The pans that feel completely smooth are the higher quality pans that will last longer.
Cooking with Non-Stick Cookware
In recent years concerns have been raised about the safety of non-stick cookware which makes it very important to follow the manufacturers directions and use the cookware correctly. Always cook on lower heats, overcooking or burning foods will cause the non-stick surface to flake off into foods which can be a health concern. Never leave pans unattended on the stove top. To also prevent scratching and flaking of the non-stick coating use only plastic or wooden utensils on the pans instead of metal. Placing non-stick pans in a dishwasher is also not good for the pans and can cause the non-stick coating to remove, instead wash by hand using a non-abrasive scrubber.