Crash Course: Care for Your Cookware
Your pots and pans will be good as new for a long, long time.
So you did it. You bought the cookware starter pack, and maybe you’ve even leveled up. You’ve got yourself a nice collection of totally timeless pots and pans. Believe it or not, with the right care, the cookware you currently have should last a while. In some cases, it should last forever, meaning you can build on your collection instead of replacing things you already have every so often. We talked to Ron Eisenberg, founder of Chef Central at Bed Bath & Beyond, who gave us some pointers on how to make nonstick and stainless steel cookware last. Looking for the cast iron guide? Click here.
Should Last: Up to 12 years
- Consider the smoke point of your oil: “You can cook with olive oil, but it doesn’t have a high smoke point,” says Ron. If you do use it, be sure to keep the temperature low. Otherwise, he advises, “Use an oil with a higher smoke point like grape-seed or sunflower oil. If you use oil with a low smoke point and turn the heat up too high, the oil will burn. It can burn into the nonstick coating, which is hard to wash off and causes food to stick. It also doesn’t taste good.”
- Utensils: Some of the newer pots and pans are metal-utensil safe, but when it comes to nonstick, Ron says wood or silicone utensils are best.
- Don’t be afraid to really scrub. “Your cookware will come in a certain color. Whether that’s black or gray, or something else, you want to do your best to keep it that color,” says Ron. In other words, keep on scrubbing until it looks like you just bought it. “If the pot or pan starts to change colors, it means oil is getting baked into it. Over time, it will cease to be nonstick.”
- Don’t wash it in the dishwasher.“Some newer nonstick cookware is dishwasher safe,” he notes. “But to be safe,, wash it by hand. It will last longer that way.” Use some dish soap and the scrubber side of a sponge. A Scrub Daddy® also works great here.
- “To keep cookware from scratching, try to separate pots and pans from one another. In a pinch, paper towels or felt will do, but cookware guards are great,” says Ron.
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Should Last: Forever
- Remember, stainless steel is hard to mess up. “The beauty of stainless steel is that you can cook food at any temperature and use any utensil on it,” Ron explains. “Metal might scratch the pan, but that affects only the aesthetics. If you want your pans to look great, it’s best to use wood, plastic, or silicone utensils.” Otherwise, the utensil drawer is fair game.
- You don’t have to baby it. “The same rules of cooking apply to cleaning. Scrub with whatever you have, even steel wool. The steel wool may cause surface scratches, but the damage is superficial. It won’t affect cooking.” Ron advises hand-washing over the dishwasher and recommends this method:
- Scrub with hot water and dish soap.
- Rinse and scrub any remaining residue with Bar Keepers Friend®.
- Thoroughly rinse the pan. Then, go over it one more time with hot water and dish soap to make sure any Bar Keepers Friend® residue is gone.
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- Storage tips for stainless steel are the same for nonstick: To prevent scratching, keep pans separated from one another.
Have more questions? Stop by your local Bed Bath & Beyond and chat with a store associate!