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care of copper clad pots and pans
Rainbow - Chef 536866
Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:58 pmFood.com Groupie
I have a Revere copper clad 3 quart pan that I've had for a long time. No problems, and now someone else has been doing some of my cooking and cleaning and all of a sudden this pot looks terrible! the copper is a mess! It may be a combination of very high heat, and she may be scrubbing the bottom so that the copper is being scrubbed off. smh there are pits and one spot is almost the size of a quarter where the copper is off and the interior is exposed. I think I'm not goint to let her touch it again, same way she can't touch my cast iron,, and my metal flipper is also disjointed now from rough handling. I have tried to look up, google, care of copper clad pans, but found only copper core, or full copper, and not this copper clad pan that used to be so popular.
Could, would someone please post instructions , do's and don'ts in care and use of copper clad pots and pans.
Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:33 pmForum Host
How to Clean Copper Cookware
Nothing looks nicer in a kitchen than a row of shining copper pans hanging on a rack. Most cooks know that copper cookware is the best – but if your copper is blotchy and faded, it can spoil the look and the efficiency of your pans.
Why Does Copper Discolor?
Exposure to heat, air and humidity can change the appearance of copper. As kitchens are often hot and humid, this can be a problem. The process is called oxidization and happens because the copper combines with the oxygen in air and then gives up some of its’ electrons. This can cause the color of the metal to change and can give rise to areas of darkening. Copper may turn a deeper orange, a pinkish shade or can even develop purple or blue streaks. If left unchecked, the oxidization can become extensive and will eventually result in the appearance of blue-green copper salts called ‘verdigris’ – prized by those who love ‘shabby chic’ but not always desirable on cookware!
Why Can Discoloration Affect My Cooking?
Copper is a superior material for cookware because it has such wonderful powers of conduction. Evenly conducted heat ensures great results and makes cooking a breeze. However, if copper is allowed to develop dark blotches, these areas absorb more heat than the shiny areas. This will cause hot spots which can lead to food sticking, burning and cooking unevenly.
So How Should I Clean Copper?
Some people love the natural patina that can appear over time and they don’t want their cookware to be brightly colored. If this applies to you, then just wash your cookware in hot, soapy water with a soft dishcloth or sponge. For heavy marks, try spreading ketchup on the cookware. Leave it for ten minutes and then wash off thoroughly. This works because ketchup is naturally acidic.
Don’t ever use an abrasive cloth or scourer on copper as it can compromise the surface. You may like to polish your cookware occasionally with a proprietary cleaner such as Radiance, Brasso or Never Dull.
Alternatively, you can use a homemade paste as used by the boy employed by the famous Chef, Escoffier. The boy’s only job was to clean copper pans all day long! He mixed together ¼ of a cup of white vinegar and 2 tablespoons of coarse salt. The paste was then applied to the copper using a sponge or dishcloth and then rinsed in plenty of hot water. This cleans the copper thoroughly but does not strip the patina. If you want a brighter shine, you may wish to use a proprietary copper cleaner regularly.
Can I Put It Into The Dishwasher?
Yes, you can…but…it is not recommended. Please be aware that copper really wouldn’t respond well to it! Some of the ingredients in dishwasher detergents (particularly chlorine) can eventually cause the copper to pit.
Also, the copper will start to oxidize more quickly, which will mean that you would have to polish it more frequently to maintain the shine.
What If My Copper Cookware Is Lined?
Copper can be leached into acidic foods and if food cooked in this way is eaten regularly, it can lead to health problems. For that reason, Copper cookware is usually lined with stainless steel, tin, nickel or silver. If your cookware is lined, just clean the external copper in the ways described. If your lining is tin or silver, treat it gently. If the pan is placed over a high flame when it is empty, the lining could melt.
Don’t ever stir food with an abrasive utensil – stick to wood or rubber. If food has stuck to the pan, fill it with hot soapy water and leave it to soak overnight. Then rub in circular motions with a soft cloth.
My Copper Cookware Came Coated With Tarnish-Proof Lacquer…
…simply dissolve the lacquer with acetone or lacquer thinner, both of which are available at hardware stores. It is essential to remove the lacquer before heating. If this is not done, the finish will eventually be destroyed and this will lead to permanent spotting of the copper, which will affect the look and efficiency of your cookware.
If you follow these general rules, your cookware will stay beautiful and reward you with a lifetime of great cooking and enjoyment.
For Revere ware:
Wash the cookware with soap and water and an acrylic scrubbing sponge. If the inside needs more scrubbing power, use a Scotch-Brite pad (the green one). This will dull the inside of your cookware, but the inside will probably end up dull anyways from using metal utensils.
Occasionally, you’ll want to polish the copper, to get it looking shiny again, and to keep anything burnt on from building up. To polish the copper, use a copper polish such as Revere copper cleaner (or equivalent) or Kleen King.
If the stainless steel needs a little more polishing than the copper products offer, use Bar Keepers Friend, which is also very good at removing copper tarnish.
What to Avoid
Never apply cold water to a hot pan. This will likely cause the pan to warp. The only exception is a pressure cooker, which is designed to handle a quick temperature change.
Never use steel wool, SOS, or Brillo pads to clean your cookware. They will leave pieces of themselves behind and cause corrosion.
Don’t put your Revere Ware in the dishwasher.
While the metal will hold up fine, the dishwasher can easily ruin the Bakelite parts. See our dishwasher test to understand why this is a bad idea. The heat cycle in particular can be very hard on Bakelite. Note that some Revere Ware care & use guides claims that Revere Ware is dishwasher safe but that handles and other parts may lose their gloss. It is for this reason we do not recommend dishwasher washing. Rubber parts (like gaskets) should never be put in the dishwasher as it will shorten their lives drastically.
Don't put your Revere Ware in the oven.
While in many cases oven baking may be fine, there is a temperature above which the Bakelite handles will start to melt and emit a strong chemical odor. Various Revere Ware guides claims this temperature is 425 degrees F but people have reported this at lower temperatures and if the Bakelite is too close to the broiler, it will be at a much higher temperature than the rest of the oven.
Don't use your Revere Ware in the microwave unless it is specifically make for it (like the micro-fryer). While some metal cookware (like the micro-fryer) is made to be used in a microwave oven, most Revere Ware cookware has protruding metal handles that will act as a focus for arcing between the insides of the microwave and the pot or pan.
Start with medium heat (instead of high) and reduce to low when things start cooking.
Always select an electric plate that is the same size or smaller than the bottom of the pan you are using. When using a gas stove, never have the gas up high enough so that the flames lick out from under the bottom of the pot or pan. This will keep your Bakelite parts from getting burned. If your Bakelite handles are getting hot, your flame is up too high or you are on too large of an electric burner.
Cleaning Abused Cookware
If you've burned something on the inside of the pan, here is what to do: Fill the pot or pan with some water and then add a generous amount of automatic dishwasher detergent, and some vinegar. Bring it to a boil, and let it boil for a while, perhaps 15 minutes to a half of an hour. Poke at the burned on crud to see if it has become loose to know when you are done. When it is done, it will quite literally simply slide right off of the pan.
Unfortunately, cleaning the outside of a long-abused pan is much more difficult than the inside because the crud builds up over time, is exposed to direct flame or an extremely hot stove top, and is burned on over and over again. But you can get a significant amount of any burned on crud off the outside of your pot or pan, if not all of it.
Slowly add a large amount of baking soda to boiling water in a large pot. If you are using an 8-quart or larger pot, you could easily use several cups or more of baking soda. Put the pot or pan to be cleaned into the larger pot and let it soak in the boiling water for a while. Take the item being cleaned out of the water every 15 minutes or so and work the crud with an old toothbrush or an acrylic scrubbing sponge. A flat metal spatula can also be good for scraping the flat parts. For more scrubbing power, make a paste out of baking soda and water and use this to scrub. It may take several hours of this to get the pot clean.
Rainbow - Chef 536866
Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:58 pmFood.com Groupie
Thanks Molly. I'll print this out and show it to her. I did some searching, so you must have done more searching and reading through them to get this best one.
I'm afraid this pot is pitted now, so is too late to prevent the damage or to fix it, but she will know for the next time.
The new pot I got doesn't have the copper coat but has about a 3/4" thickness of steel on the bottom.
Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:05 amNewbie "Fry Cook" Poster
I have a new set of copper pots and the first time I used my sauce pan, it oxidized. I tried the ketchup trick your site mentioned and my sauce pan came out beautifully. Thank you.
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