On the lookout for the safest cookware? Keep these 4 tips on your checklist.
1. What is your cookware composed of? The most common cookware is composed of metals, or ceramic a great amount with nonstick coatings or chemical glazes and enamels. These materials have the potential of leaching into your food. If you're not sure about possible chemicals leaching from your cookware into your food try the simple baking soda test found at the bottom of this page. All metals are reactive and leach into food, here is a small list of these reactions:
ALUMINUM (In Stainless Steel & Aluminum Cookware):
With steam = aluminum oxide + hydrogen 2Al (s) + 3H2O (g) = Al2O3 (s) + 3H2 (g)
With oxygen = aluminum oxide 4Al (s) + 3O2 (g) = 2Al2O3 (s),
With halogens = 2Al (s) + 3Cl2 (l) → 2AlCl3 (s) 2Al (s) + 3Br2 (l) → Al2 (s) 2Al (s) + 3I2 (l) → Al2I6 (s)
With acids: 2Al (s) + 3H2SO4 (aq) → 2Al3 + (aq) + 2SO42- (aq) + 3H2 (g) 2Al (s) + 6HCl (aq) → 2Al3 + (aq) + 6Cl- (aq) + 3H2 (g).
With bases: 2Al (s) + 2NaOH (aq) + 6H2O → 2Na + (aq) + 2 [Al (OH) 4] – + 3H2 (g)
With steam: Ti (s) + 2H2O (g) → TiO2 (s) + 2H2 (g)
With nitrogen: Nitrogen 2Ti (s) + N2 (g) = TiN (s)), I
With water (Ti (s) + 2H2O (g) = TiO2 (s) + 2H2 (g))
With halogens: Ti (s) + 2F2 (g) → TiF4 (s) [white] Ti (s) + 2Cl2 (g) → TiCl4 (l) [colorless]
With acids & bases: 2Ti (s) + 12HF (aq) → 2 [TiF6] 3- (aq) + 3H2 (g) + 6H + (aq) Ti (s) + 2Br2 (g) → TiBr4 (s) [orange ] Ti (s) + 2I2 (g) → TiI4 (s) [dark brown
COPPER (STAINLESS STEEL):
With oxygen: 2Cu (s) + O2 (g) = 2CuO (s), 2Cu (s) + O2 (g) = 2CuO (s),
With halogens: Cu (s) + F2 (g) → CuF2 (s) [white], Cu (s) + Cl2 (g) → CuCl2 (s) [yellow-brown], Cu (s) + Br2 (g) → CuBr2 (s) [black], Cu (s) + H2SO4 (aq) → Cu2 + (aq) + SO42- (aq) + H2 (g)
With acids & bases: Cu (s) + H2SO4 (aq) → Cu2 + (aq) + SO42- (aq) + H2 (g)
NICKEL (STAINLESS STEEL):
With oxygen: 2Ni (s) + O2 (g) → 2NiO (s), Ni (s) + Cl2 (g) → NiCl2 (s) [yellow] Ni (s) + Br2 (g) → NiBr2 (s) [ yellow] Ni (s) + I2 (g) → NiI2 (s) [black] Ni (s) + H2SO4 (aq) → Ni2 + (aq) + SO42- (aq) + H2 (g),
With halogens: Ni (s) + Cl2 (g) → NiCl2 (s) [yellow], Ni (s) + Br2 (g) → NiBr2 (s) [yellow], Ni (s) + I2 (g) → NiI2 (s) [black],
With acids and bases: Ni (s) + H2SO4 (aq) → Ni2 + (aq) + SO42- (aq) + H2 (g)
So when making your choice for the healthiest make sure it's made from an inert or non-reactive material like 100% pure-clay.
2. How safely does it cook your food? As mentioned above when cooking with metal or nonstick pans you run the risk of the chemicals used to manufacture them seeping into your food. So what about the nutritional value of the food? Are you cooking away all of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients your food has to offer? When you touch a metal pan you burn your fingers right? Well the same thing happens to the foods you cook in these pots, food (meat, plants, legumes) are all made up of tissue just as we are made of living tissue. That being said if the pot is harsh enough to burn you it is harming the food in the same manner. This very same heat damages the nutritional cells within the food you cook diminishing the nutritional value.
Another factor that affects the loss of nutrition is steam, most conventional cookware do not lock in steam, some even provide a vent to let it escape. This is detrimental to your consumption of fully wholesome meals due to the fact that much of the nutrients in food evaporate in steam. Which brings us to our next question …
3. Does it lock steam naturally? As stated above most traditional pots and pans do not seal in steam but instead let it escape. Steam in essence is the juice or lifeblood of the food you are cooking that evaporates due to being exposed to high temperatures. Trapping this vapor will keep the nutrients in the food instead of letting it dissipate into the air. Keeping the juices in the food also keeps it moist and flavorful plus one more added bonus it makes the pot even easier to clean.
4. How was your pot made? How your cookware is manufactured is of great importance to you and the environment. Cookware made from metals such as steel, iron and aluminum are processed with chemicals such as that can leach out into your food. Companies often mine these materials and this causes great damage to the planet through deforestation, water pollution.
So the safest cookware should be able to cook without leaching any chemicals or toxins, and without damaging foods its nutritional cells. Lock steam inside and also be made without harming the environment.