What Cooking Pans Are Best?
Buying Pots and Pans
Second-Hand Secret: Cast Iron Pans
I have a set of Teflon pots and pans and the Teflon is coming off. Is there anyway to recoat the Teflon surface? If these pots and pans are a lost cause does anyone have any suggestions for a type of longer-lasting non-stick cookware? I've tried looking at yard sales for pots and pans but have found them in no better condition than my current set. I must have a non stick surface because I don't have the strength in my hands for a lot of scrubbing. Thanks in advance.
With nonstick pans, it is best to buy a high-quality brand, such as T-Fal. While you do pay more money, the nonstick coating (which I believe is Silverstone Supra) lasts much longer- I believe it has a lifetime guarantee. (plus, it isn't advisable to ingest the flaking coating from your old pans) If you look around, you can find T-Fal on sale- while it is sold by upscale department stores, it is also sold at discount chains. Check the clearance rack for discontinued colors/styles.
Invest in professional-grade cookware -- more up-front expense but will last the rest of your life. Stay with these naturally non-stick surfaces instead of the painted-on stuff that's eventually going to peel off.
This may surprise most people, but the best non-stick cookware is...CAST IRON. If you season it properly and care for it, cast iron is almost as non-stick as Teflon. I have cast iron that is almost 100 years old and still cooks just as well as it did when new (better actually- use makes cast iron improve in non-stickability). To care for it properly: First you must season it; scrub well and get all rust off, you can use brillo pads, sandpaper etc this time if you are scavenging old rusted pans. After every speck of rust is off, put the dried pan on the eye of your stove top on low heat. Get the ENTIRE PAN very warm to slightly hot. Turn off heat and allow to sit until cool enough to handle. Coat very throughly with non salted oil I use Wesson or Crisco etc) and place in a 300 degree oven for 2 hours, then turn off oven and allow to sit overnight. The pan is now ready to use. You will not need to do all this again unless someone screws up your cookware. The second step is to NEVER let water sit in the cast iron for more than a few minutes before washing it out and drying throughly. If you use it every day just dry with dishtowel, if you seldom use it, dry it on the stove as in step one. The third step is to reseason when you notice the pan having anything sticking to it. If you have no rust, you can warm dry on stove eye, and rub with a bit of oil and buff to a sheen. A nice bonus of using cast iron is that things taste better and the cookware adds iron to your food without you needing to buy iron pills. And don't buy cast iron with wood or other material used as built in handles, because the cast iron part lasts forever, but not the wood, ceramic etc added to it.
Debbie Z. in Knoxville TN
A woman who worked in a kitchen store explained how to make the high-quality non-stick cookware last longer. This suggestion may lengthen the life of all non-stick cookware. She said to GRADUALLY heat up the pan everytime it is used. Never heat the pan up quickly.
I know of no way to repair teflon pans but I use the Farberware Millennium series of pots and pans. They are guaranteed for life. They also claim you can use metal utensils and put them in the dishwasher with no problems. I have not done this but I have used the pans for over 4 years now and none of them even have a scratch. As far as cleanup, I can usually (99 % of the time) just spray the pan with the sprayer on the sink and everything comes out. They are somewhat expensive but I believe it is well worth it.
Peeling Teflon is messy, i don't know how good it is for you and it is a great harbor for food particles that grow germs. Old non stick pans are great for pet dishes, watering cans, planters, etc. The best quality non stick pans I have found are "Hard Anodized" the best brand is Calphalon, but it is expensive (though will last almost forever). I just picked up some 6 qt pots with sturdy riveted handles and tempered glass lids for $20.00 and a 20 year warranty at a local department store. They are made of a solid piece of non stick material inside and out so they clean up easily. The only draw back is that they must be hand washed.
Stop using metal in the pots and pans, even a scrubbing pad will take teflon off. Buy plastic kitchen utensils. You can also store the pans with a paper towel between each one if you stack pots and pans. Our pots and pans have lasted 5 years now I believe. Got them at Kmart!
I work in a kitchen-type-merchandise store and know something about this subject. Unfortunately, as long as you continue to use the Teflon-coated cookware, or any truly nonstick cookware, you will continue to have a problem with peeling, cracking and chipping. The reason is that the coating is sprayed on and is, in fact, a type of paint. The best way to avoid this is to buy good quality cookware that is stick resistant, and cook on low to medium heat (recommended on all fine cookware anyway). A couple of recommendations would be Calphalon Hard Anodized cookware or All Clad Stainless Steel (used by 80% of the finest restaurants in the world). Calphalon does make a nonstick version of their cookware (called Commercial Nonstick), however, you encounter the same problem as the Teflon because the interior surface is sprayed on in the same way. You may also wish to look at ScanPan cookware. But these recommended brands do not come cheap, so you may want to check estate sales and the like to get better pricing or buy on sale. Better pricing comes when you buy sets as opposed to buying piecemeal.
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