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Caring for Premium Stainless Steel Cookware
You can glean much about the quality of a cook by the state of their tools. That’s why when you use high quality stainless steel cookware, it’s important to keep them in pristine condition not just to make sure they last for a long time, but to show people that you are a methodical and conscientious cook. Here are some tips on using and caring for premium stainless steel cookware so they’re always at their best.
Tips on Caring for Premium Stainless Steel Cookware
Pre-Heat Cookware Slowly - When you place your cookware on a burner/element in preparation for cooking, don’t immediately turn the heat to its highest setting. High-grade stainless steel is an excellent conductor but it also holds heat very well. If you’re cooking at an overly hot temperature, you may not be able to lower it in time which will result in burned food.
Let Refrigerated/Frozen Foods Sit Before Cooking - Though stainless steel seems to be unmalleable, rapid temperature changes can cause it to expand and contract fairly dramatically. Don’t place cold foods directly onto hot stainless steel cookware. The steel will contract and ostensibly grab the food, causing it to stick.
Add Salt to Water Only When It’s Boiling - When making pasta, it’s best to cook with salt water as this doesn’t merely flavor the final product, but causes the water to boil at a higher temperature, speeding cooking. However, always wait until water is at a boil before adding salt. Salt in still water will corrode pockmarks into stainless steel, ruining your cookware.
Wait to Clean After Cooking - Don’t place stainless steel cookware that’s just off the cooktop/oven and scalding hot directly in water. This may cause even the best quality steel to warp.
But Not Too Long - Try not to let dirty stainless steel cookware to sit too long before washing. Certain highly acidic or basic foods can corrode the metal.
General Cleaning - For routine cleaning of your stainless steel cookware, fill the vessel with hot soapy water. Let it sit for a few hours. Scrub the entire pot or pan with a non-abrasive sponge. Note: When cleaning stainless steel, never use harsh chemicals or coarse scouring pads as these will irreparably damage your cookware.
Cleaning Cooked-In Food - Some foods such as tomato-based pasta sauces or melted chocolate will stick to cookware no matter how vigilant you are during the cooking process. No amount of elbow grease along will get it out. Fill the vessel with soapy water and bring it to a boil. Use a wooden spoon (not metal) to scrape food off.
Cleaning Burned-In Food- Everyone has an occasional bad day in the kitchen and even after using the “Cleaning Cooked-In Food” method above, there will be seemingly burned stains in your stainless steel cookware. Worry not. Make a paste of 1.5 part baking soda and 1 part water. Apply the paste to the “burned” spots and let sit for a few minutes. Clean the cookware as usual and the stain should come right off.
Cleaning Calcium Buildup - Sometimes a chalky white buildup will appear on your stainless steel cookware. This is caused by a buildup of calcium and other sediments that naturally occur in water. You can prevent this from happening in the first place by drying your stainless steel cookware as soon as you wash it. While the build-up poses no health risks, it’s quite unsightly. To get rid of excess buildup, bring a solution of 1 part vinegar and 3 parts water to a boil, then wash and dry the cookware as normal.