Copper pots are chosen by home chefs because of the excellent heat distribution. Copper cookware has an aesthetic look many cooks enjoy. Like the memorable name brand peanut butter commercial, when it comes to cookware, choosy home chefs choose copper pots and pans. There are 2 variations of copper cookware. First it can be an inside clad layer, as shown in the All-Clad picture below. Second, it can cover the entire outside of the cookware, as shown further below.
Not all copper cookware is the same
Like with most cookware, when you purchase quality, it can last for generations. When buying lesser quality pieces, the results can be a waste of money. Copper cookware, at a minimum, needs to cover the bottom. Higher quality pieces will have the copper extended all the way up the sides. Copper cookware never has copper on the inside since it can be toxic when exposed to acidic foods. The insides are usually lined with a combination of tin, nickel, aluminum, or stainless steel. Proper care and use will help the cookware last a long time. Use the wrong cleaning methods, too high a heat, or the wrong utensils, can cause the inside surface to expose the copper, separate the bottom layers, or ruin the exposed finish.
The beauty of copper pots and pans
Copper saute pans and copper sauce pans are not only beautiful pieces of cookware, but the most precise cooking instruments. When making delicate sauces where precise temperatures are necessary, nothing beats the control of copper. When copper covers the entire outside surface of the cookware, it can turn different colors when in use. As the copper heats, it can turn pink, burnt orange, or purple. Once a home chef gets to know the cookware, they know when the copper pots are at the appropriate temperature by the color it turns.
Cleaning copper cookware
Copper pans and copper pots need to be hand washed. Let the cookware cool after use. Wash in warm sudsy water and clean with a nylon scouring pad. Be careful with the inside surface as you do not want to scratch it to expose the raw copper. If copper cookware does get scratched or after extended use where the inside surface can thin, it is recommended to have the inside surface repaired. Copper cookware is not recommended for use in dishwashers.
Are copper pots and pans healthy?
When it comes to health matters, the copper has little to do with the question. The material on the inside surface is what matters, as long as it is not scratched and copper is exposed. Stainless steel interiors are fine. Aluminum, tin, or when nickel compounds are used, are the types of interiors one may need to be cautious with. If a person is allergic to trace amounts of these metals or wish to reduce the chances of getting these metals in their foods, avoid these interiors.
Copper pots and pans are the material of choice for home chefs. Using copper pots is a joy, and aesthetically pleasing. Though expensive compared to other cookware materials, the end result can be the perfect delicate sauce or perfect dish.