Hard Anodized Aluminum Cookware is a popular material due to it’s light weight, durability, resistance to corrosion, and even heating characteristics. Twice as hard as stainless steel, often found with a nonstick surface, and more reasonably priced than some other materials, it is a natural choice in many kitchens.
What Exactly is Hard Anodized Aluminum?
Hard Anodized aluminum is aluminum that has been specially treated in an electro-chemical bath. Aluminum by itself is soft and reactive with many foods. It is an ideal material for cookware because it is an abundant material, therefore inexpensive, and possesses great heating properties. For those reasons, manufacturers sought ways to treat natural aluminum in ways to make it more suitable for cookware. The anodizing process is an electro-chemical treatment that toughens the outside protective oxide layer.
The anodizing process is not just found with cookware. Since the anodizing process makes aluminum extremely hard, and able to bond dyes to it for coloring, anodized aluminum is found in many consumer electronic products like mp3 players, flashlights, and sporting goods.
Aluminum cookware that has been anodized comes in two flavors:
- Anodized – the electrochemical bath that makes the surface very hard
- Hard Anodized – an extra application of the anodizing process to make the surface even tougher
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Is Hard Anodized Aluminum Cookware safe?
According to the Aluminum Anodizers Council, “since the anodizing process is a reinforcement of a naturally occurring oxide process, it is non-hazardous and produces no harmful or dangerous by-products.” The Cookware Manufacturers Association points out that aluminum is found naturally in some foods, and already included in many foods and products we already use, like alum baking powder, alum for pickling, antacids, and anti-perspirants. Your Cookware Helper finds it hard to disagree. The recommendation I have is this: Anodized aluminum cookware is fine unless you are already avoiding aluminum as part of your normal health routine. In that regard, I would recommend finding a different material. For more detailed information, please see the article Is Anodized Aluminum Cookware Considered Safe Cookware.
Cleaning Hard Anodized Aluminum Cookware
Most manufacturers recommend hand washing in warm sudsy water with a nylon pad. Today, there are some lines advertised as dishwasher safe. Your Cookware Helper recommends reading the use and care labels even on those lines advertised as dishwasher safe.
It is not hard to understand why anodized cookware is found in many kitchens. It can be less expensive than other materials. It is durable. And the darker color fits the decor of many kitchens. If this material is of interest, I recommend the article on the Advantages of the Anodized Cookware Set.