What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you see the words “non-stick cookware”?
Teflon? Toxic? No oil needed? Easy to clean?
Believe it or not, majority of the households in Singapore own at least one non-stick cookware. The biggest reason why they are so popular is because they make cleaning up a breeze!
Yet, there is still a small proportion of Singaporeans who have doubts on such a wonderful and convenient cookware. Why is this so?
What is a non-stick cookware?
A non-stick cookware is a metal cookware that has been coated with a non-stick coating. In the past, people often associate non-stick cookware with Teflon.
Teflon, also known as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), is a coating that gives the cookware its the non-stick properties, giving rise to the term – Teflon cookware. This coating allows you to cook with less oil or even no oil, and clean-up is much easier since food slides off the surface easily.
What is the deal about Teflon?
Over the last decade, there were concerns regarding the safety of Teflon non-stick cookware. These concerns centered around a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) which was previously used in the production of Teflon non-stick cookware. It has been linked to health conditions such as kidney and liver diseases.
PFOA was used in production of Teflon cookware until 2013. Today, all Teflon cookware are PFOA-free therefore you no longer have to be worried about the health effects of PFOA exposure!
Nonetheless, Teflon cookware is just one of the non-stick cookware in the market. In recent years, there have been a rise in other coatings that also provide this non-stick property.
What are some other non-stick cookware in the market?
Some of the new non-stick cookware introduced to the market are ceramic, silicone and enameled cast iron cookware.
Ceramic cookware comes in two forms namely – Pure ceramic and ceramic-coated cookware.
Also known as pure ceramic cookware, it is made from a mix of clay and earth minerals that is glazed and baked at high temperatures in a kiln. In the past, manufacturers used lead-containing glazes to give it colour and a smooth, shiny finish for a more attractive look. However, high levels of lead can be a danger to humans. To be safe, always buy from well-known companies that follow FDA restrictions when it comes to manufacturing of ceramic cookware.
Ceramic-coated cookware is made with a metal base such as aluminium and coated with a ceramic finish. The non-stick ceramic coating is made from a sand derivative that is free of PFOA and PTFE. With the increasing number of environmentally conscious users, ceramic-coated cookware is gaining notable attention in recent years as a safe and environmentally-friendly choice in most households. If you are interested to find out more about ceramic-coated cookware, we previously shared 3 reasons why ceramic-coated cookware is the best.
Zenez is a Korean-made ceramic-coated cookware that is the new game changer for all ceramic-coated cookware. On top of it being non-stick, it offers additional benefits you will not be able to enjoy with your regular ceramic-coated cookware. Some of which include the use of steel utensils and being able to wash it immediately after cooking.
Silicone non-stick coating which displays elasticity like a rubber, is typically used in producing your bakeware and kitchen utensils. It is a synthetic rubber that contains silicon, hydrogen, carbon and oxygen. Silicon is a natural element coming from silica, which is derived from sand. Silicone rubber does not react with food or beverages, or produce any hazardous fumes therefore you do not have to worry about any change in flavours or food quality.
However, be careful of low-quality silicone bakeware and kitchen utensils that contain plastic fillers as they may leach toxic chemicals into your food. Pure silicone is non-toxic and do not react with acidic food.
#Tip: To check if your bakeware or kitchen utensils are made from pure silicone, do the twist test! Stretch it with your fingers. If it changes colour, then it contains plastic fillers.
Enameled Cast Iron Cookware
A enameled cast iron cookware is just your traditional cast iron coated with a vitreous enamel (made by fusing glass particles under intense heat), giving it a a non-porous and non-stick finish. There is no exposed cast iron, making the cookware resistant to acidic and alkaline foods since the non-porous vitreous enamel prevents the food from reacting with it. Be careful when handling enameled cast iron cookware as it can chip if banged or dropped since the the finish is made of glass.
Other than that, it is a really great conductor of heat, washes easily and does not rust! An added bonus to enameled cast iron cookware is that it can come in a variety of colours.
What are some recipes that go well with non-stick cookware?
The best foods to cook with a non-stick pan are definitely eggs, pancakes, delicate fish and chicken, and cheesy dishes since they require a quick release from the pan. You must be thinking, “Is that really all a non-stick pan can be used for?” Of course, with its versatility, non-stick cookware can also be used to stir-fry or pan-fry vegetables and other meat.
How to care and clean my non-stick cookware?
We all love non-stick cookware for their ease of use and clean up. However, as time goes, our non-stick pans start to deteriorate if we do not take good care of them. Do you know if you are taking care of them properly? Check out our guidelines below!
#1: Hand wash your non-stick cookware
Many non-stick cookware are now dishwasher safe. However, we feel its still best to hand-wash them with a soft sponge or microfibre cloth as the hot water and harsh detergent might corrode its surface.
#2: Avoid using abrasives
Do not use scouring pads or steel wool as they may damage the surface of your non-stick cookware.
#3: Allow your non-stick cookware to cool down first
Wait for your pan to cool down before washing it. This is because a quick change in temperature can cause your pan to warp and damage the non-stick coating.
#4: Store your non-stick pans with paper towels in between
To protect the interior, slide in a piece of paper towel or cloth before stacking them up in your cabinets. Alternatively, use a storage rack to separate your pans and give each of them ample space in the cupboard.
How to cook with my non-stick pan?
Nobody wants to change their non-stick cookware every few months. To keep your non-stick pans in good shape, make sure you the few golden rules below!
#1: Avoid using metal utensils when cooking with a non-stick pan
Instead, invest in some wooden or heatproof silicone spatulas as they will not scratch the surface of the non-stick cookware.
#2: Never pre-heat an empty non-stick pan
Add a little bit of oil to the pan and let it heat up for a while before adding food in.
#3: Avoid cooking at high temperatures
When cooking with a non-stick pan, make sure you are cooking at a low to medium temperature. High temperatures can permanently damage your pan by causing it to warp.
#4: Do not use non-stick sprays on your non-stick pans
Did you know that cooking sprays are one of the easiest ways to permanently damage your non-stick pans? It coats the surface of your pans and build up a layer of fat that is almost impossible to remove.
When should I get a new pan?
Its time to change out for a new pan when the interior surface of your current one starts to peel or flake, or when food starts to stick stubbornly. To be safe, we recommend switching out for a new one every couple of years before issues like these even arise.
The Bottom Line
Non-stick cookware has become a must-have in every kitchen for it makes cooking and washing up quick and easy. As of 2013, Teflon cookware are all PFOA-free so you do not have to worry about consuming any toxins when using it to cook. So long as you give proper care and maintenance to your non-stick cookware, you will definitely be able to keep it in shape for a couple of years before switching out for a new one.
Other than Teflon cookware, there are many other alternatives such as ceramic, silicone and enameled cast iron cookware that you can consider purchasing as well! At the end of the day, non-stick cookware is a safe and convenient way for you to cook everyday!
What are your thoughts on non-stick cookware now? Share with us in the comments section below!