What Kind Of Utensils To Use With Nonstick Cookware: Look For The Right One
Nonstick cookware has been around for quite some time, but because it’s not normally used on a daily basis in many households, some people do not know the proper utensils to use with nonstick pans, woks, pots and casseroles. One can only imagine the cringe that YouTube’s iconic “Uncle Roger” would have whenever someone uses a stainless-steel spatula on an immaculate, brand new Teflon saucepan. But what is the deal with this cookware in the first place and what kind of utensils to use with nonstick cookware? Let’s take a closer look.
The Origin and Properties of Nonstick Cookware
We often associate nonstick cookware with the name Teflon, which is a brand created by Chemours, a spin-off from DuPont. The substance we’re talking about is a compound called polytetrafluoroethylene, which is usually shortened to PTFE to prevent tongues from sticking. PTFE was discovered by accident by Roy J. Plunkett in 1937. He was originally trying to make a new chlorofluorocarbon refrigerant. But seeing the product’s potential for numerous applications, the company registered the Teflon trademark in 1945.
PTFE is both a hydrophobic and nonreactive chemical, which means that it can’t get wet and it will not interact with other substances. These properties make it very useful for applications in electronics, machinery, medicine and many more. But what makes the substance very iconic is its use in nonstick cookware.
The first nonstick pans were produced in 1954 and have since become a common household item in developed countries and but are now rapidly being adopted in developing countries around the world.
So, What Kind of Utensils Can We Safely Use with Nonstick Cookware?
Nonstick cookware is composed of two parts – a metal base for conduction and a PTFE coating on the inside that makes it nonstick. For this reason, taking care of these pans mainly involves preventing the PTFE coating from being scratched or damaged.
But there is more to nonstick technology than just PTFE. Because of PTFE’s sensitivity to heat and metal utensils, as well as some claims of health-related issues, some companies have explored alternative nonstick coatings that are safer and more durable and lasting. One example is the ceramic based Thermolon nonstick technology used by GreenPan. Similar ceramic-coated cookware is produced by such brands as Caraway and Xtrema.
Here are some things that you need to remember when using the different types of nonstick cookware:
- For PTFE-coated cookware, like Calphalon, only use plastic, coated, nylon, or wooden utensils to avoid scratching the nonstick surface. Metal utensils are especially discouraged as their sharp, crystalline edges can irreparably damage the PTFE layer.
- Do not use metal cleaning tools, such as steel wool.
- With ceramic-coated cookware, metal utensils can be used, only if they are not sharp or pointed. However, the GreenPan user’s manual still recommends the use of plastic or wooden utensils to prolong the life of their pans.
The use of nonstick cookware has changed the way of cooking in many ways (think about how hard it is to cook eggs in iron pans). While there may be some health issues with traditional nonstick coatings, like PTFE, cookware companies around the world are trying their best to come up with better, healthier options that make sure we won’t have to scrape stuck food residue.
Therefore, it seems like nonstick cookware is going to stay for good and we might as well learn what kind of utensils to use with nonstick cookware as well as how to use them properly.