How To Handle Stainless Steel Cookware

Stainless steel is really the champion when it comes to durability in high quality cookware. A good stainless steel pot can last you a lifetime.
There are still some things you want to do to maintain your stainless steel cookware perfectly spotless and shiny – because even thought it is very durable the beauty of stainless steel will need some care (specially if it’s polished stainless steel cookware). If you want your cookware to just cook great – then you don’t even have to think about these things. But if you want it to also look great then watch out for a couple of things. And since you are into high quality cookware you probably care about the looks too.

How To Handle Stainless Steel CookwareWhen you first get your high quality stainless steel cookware out of the box, wash it in hot soapy water. Just use a normal sponge or dishcloth. (Nylon scrubbing pads are ok too.) Then rinse it in hot water and dry it thoroughly. I don’t recommend using steel wool, steel scouring pads, harsh detergents, oven cleaners or cleaners with clorine bleach. This is the only thing where it’s more than just a cosmetic issue: if you use extreme cleaning methods the surface of the stainless steel cookware might get scratched and then foods will more likely stick to it because these scratches provide places where the food can stick to.
If you feel hot soapy water is not enough use a fine powder cleanser. Sometimes people ask me “Can I wash stainless steel cookware in the dishwasher?” And my answer is just: Yes!

One of the most common problems with stainless steel cookware beauty are water spots. The simplest way to not have to deal with water spotting is to just rinse your cookware thoroughly after washing and dry it right away (either with a dry towel or cloth or by heating it up on a hot stove for a couple of minutes so that the water evaporates).

Sometimes with stainless steel you might experience that food sticks to your cookware. If you find this is excessive then it might just be that you are using too high heat. Or the pot might not be really clean. Also if your stove is not level that might be another cause of sticking foods.
If you use too high heat your stainless steel cookware can get brown or blue stains. Also if there is still some food left in the pan and it’s not cleaned before the next reheating that can cause discolorations.

You should always preheat the pan before you put foods inside.

Salt can get really aggressive too. Salt can create small white spots on your stainless steel cookware. That is why you should always bring liquids to boil before you add salt – this way salt will be totally harmless to your stainless steel cookware. The point just is to not have the salt grains come in contact with your hot cookware – but if it is dissolved in boiling water or cooking food that is fine. The small white spots or pits that are created by salt damage are purely “cosmetic” problems – they don’t dimish the cooking performance of your stainless steel cookware at all. They just don’t look beautiful.

You also shouldn’t leave foods for long time in stainless steel. Some people cook and then leave the food in the pot or pan for a couple of days in the fridge. Specially if it’s acidic or salty food, I would recommend to refrain from storing foods in stainless steel.

Again – all these tips are really for the meticulous. Stainless steel cookware can be a breeze to take care of, but if you spend hundreds of dollars on a stainless steel pan or pot you might want that piece of high quality cookware to have the “look of perfection”.
If you have any questions about stainless steel cookware just write a comment on this post and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

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