Healthy eating is a matter of food, but also of how it is cooked. Many pots and pans commonly used to cook food can release harmful substances. Let’s see which pots and pans are non-toxic. Hiking pots and pans are also required for travelling.
Cooking food means cooking materials at high temperatures, and these materials are not always safe for health, and often in aggressive environments, such as those produced by food or acidic condiments. Some pots and pans can release harmful substances in contact with food and heat. Let’s see how to choose healthy pots and pans for healthy cooking. The list of materials used to make and coat pots and pans are many, and each one has its advantages and disadvantages.
Stainless steel pots and pans
Stainless steel pots and pans: Stainless steel is an alloy of different metals, including iron, chrome and nickel. The latter two, in particular, are very toxic metals, even in small quantities, and it is possible that the pot releases them, especially if handled with abrasive utensils, knives or spoons, or if washed with abrasive metal flakes.
Aluminum pots and pans
Aluminum pots and pans: Aluminium is a toxic metal that deforms when it comes into contact with high temperatures, and can therefore pass from the pot to food, and the body cannot dispose of it. The safest are pots and pans made of anodized aluminum, i.e. treated on the surface with silver ions that prevent the passage of aluminum to food.
Copper pots and pans: copper pots and pans are the best for cooking but, like those listed above, they have very precise maintenance requirements. Copper pots subjected to high temperatures can be damaged by common cooking utensils, and therefore release molecules into the food. In addition, copper pots should be periodically tinned, to prevent them from oxidizing and forming the verdigris, which is toxic to health.
Non-stick cookware: Non-stick cookware is pots made of various metals, but coated on the surface with a layer of PTFE (Teflon) that makes them non-stick. They are easy to handle, widespread and economical, but PTFE can be released into food when scratched or after prolonged use.
Titanium cookware: this latest generation cookware are very expensive and combine the cooking qualities of copper with good durability. Titanium, however, like all metals is toxic, although to a lesser extent than chrome, nickel, steel and aluminium. So far, therefore, they are the best for healthy cooking.
Ceramic pots and pans: these pots and pans are among the most common in traditional cooking, especially for cooking legumes and foods that required long cooking times. It has a very slow heat conduction, so it is useful for prolonged cooking, and also keeps the heat for a very long time. It is also able to maintain the aromas of the food even after washing, and precisely for this reason it was used for soups. The surface of terracotta frying pans is glassy, therefore it is necessary to pay attention to maintenance: use wooden ladles and wash it with water and non-abrasive sponges. Finally, it should be avoided when cooking acidic food: the coating gives off lead residues. So-called “organic” terracotta frying pans are free of lead, free of metals such as cadmium, lead or uranium.
Cast iron pans
Cast iron frying pans: cast iron is an excellent conductor, but extremely heavy. It maintains the temperature for a long time. It is very resistant. In the case of enamelled cookware, however, care must be taken that the coating is not damaged. In any case, the risk of cast iron pans oxidising is that they will oxidise, so it is necessary to wash them without using water, but only with a cloth and natural oil.
Stone pans: the most famous is soapstone, used for barbecue plates. Resistant and easy to maintain, it is much more resistant to wear than metals. The only thing is that it is EU-produced and certified asbestos-free.