Once you cook with copper cookware for the first time, you’re unlikely to go back to anything else. It’s no wonder why all great chefs have a few pieces of copper cookware in their collection.
There are many benefits to cooking with copper. The first being that copper is an amazing conductor of heat. For anyone who has ever cooked with copper, they know that you rarely turn the stove higher then a medium low to get very high heat. Which makes copper great for all your sauteing needs.
I always laugh when I see “green” cookware or cookware made with all “natural” ingredients. Copper is and will remain the most environmentally friendly cookware for more reasons then one. First, copper is a natural product already. It takes just a little heat to turn a copper in its original state into a pan.
Second, you will use a lot less energy cooking with copper cookware. For recipes that used to require your stove to be on a medium high, now will require your stove to be on medium low or low. For anyone who cooks a lot, that can be a large reduction in your electricity bills.
The only type of cookware that is close to having equivalent heat conduction of copper is cast iron cookware. The one problem I have always had with cast iron is the maintenance. Doing dishes is already a lot of work, the last thing I want to add is routine maintenance to my pots and pans.
Which brings us to the argument of tin vs. stainless steel. Most copper pans come with a lining. The two options you’re likely to run into are tin and stainless steel.
I will be the first to admit, that tin is a better conductor of heat than stainless steal. However, tin does require a lot more maintenance than stainless steel. Therefore, I enjoy copper cookware lined with stainless steel.
For anyone who has ever owned a stainless steel cookware set, they know how little maintenance is actually requires. Therefore, if you buy copper cookware with a stainless steal lining, you maintain those pans as if they were stainless steel. Which means very little maintenance is actually required to own some of the best quality pans.
Before buying a copper cookware set, here’s what I would think about. If you’re reading this article you’re likely new to cooking with copper. Go ahead and buy one or two pieces of copper to start out with. A medium sized sauce pan and a skillet is a good way to start a collection. Once you get used to cooking with copper, you can than move onto a set if you desire.
As a bonus, here is a few of my best tips for cooking, cleaning, and caring for copper cookware:
* Practice simple recipes at first to get used to the difference in heat
* Always start your copper pans on low heat
* Never add salt to an empty pan or non-boiling water
* Wash in hot soapy water and immediately