Sometimes, a recipe can have specific instructions, such as using a non-reactive pan for cooking the food.
So, what is a non-reactive pan? A non-reactive pan does not react with the cooking foods.
However, you can have problematic acid food that corrodes the non-reactive pan.
Stainless steel, cast iron pots with an enamel finish are some of the non-reactive pans in the market. Read on to learn about the non-reactive pans and their perks.
What Are Best Non Reactive Pans?
#. Stainless steel
Stainless steel is one of the favorite non-reactive pans as it is robust, durable, and built to last. The pan can be used for many cooking purposes, as it does not react with food.
The pan works well with different ingredients, and you might not worry as it does not release harmful chemicals.
You can cook food that has lemons, tomatoes, vinegar, and cream tartar on a stainless steel pan.
Proper way to Cook in a stainless steel pan?
Stainless steel is sturdy, and the multi-ply construction means that the heat will be distributed equally on the sides and the bottom; thus, it would be better to use a lower temperature.
Your food will be cooked in more than one direction leading to an even cooking outcome.
Always pre-heat your stainless steel pan as the pot can become porous when cooking food directly on a cold pan.
Porosity makes the food stick to the stainless steel pan, and pre-heating the pan, makes the steel expand, thus sealing off the pores, which creates a smooth surface.
Moreover, you can add oil once the surface has adequately warmed; adding too much oil can still sink into the pores, which grip some food particles.
You should pre-heat the stainless steel pan the right way, and you will probably know the pan is pre-heated by testing with the water drop.
To use the water drop test, you should heat the pan until the rim is almost too hot to touch and splash a few water drops into the pan.
If the water drop does not spread and behaves like a ball rolling all over, the pan is approximately pre-heated. Therefore, you will start cooking the food on the stainless pan.
Finally, warping your cooking pot is not wise; let it cool down by itself and use non-metal scrubbers. The stainless steel pans are dishwasher safe but may spot; thus, it would be better to hand wash the pan.
It is wise to pre-heat the pan and oil before adding food to prevent it from sticking to the bottom.
Your food will not stick to the bottom if you follow the pre-heat and oiling procedure well.
Your meat will turn brown and ready to flip when you cook on the stainless steel pan and will not stick to the bottom.
The pan will release the meat, and it will be easy to flip. When cooking the food, you might notice the brown bits as you should not discard these brownies as they can be a source of fantastic flavor.
You can deglaze, and remove the food from the pan and drain excess fat into the pan.
You can scrape down the brownies, add liquids like stock, wine, or water, and continue stirring and scraping the brown bits until the liquid reduces to half. You can add seasonings to and spoon the sauce over the food, and sit down and enjoy your meal.
How to clean discolored stainless steel pans?
How do you remove burnt stains From stainless steel cookware?
#. Non-stick cookware
The non-stick cookware is coated with Teflon, making it non-toxic, as the coating prevents the reaction between the food and the underlying metal. The pan is mainly used for sticky glazes and delicate food.
You may fry eggs, cook pancakes, and simmer custards on a non-stick pan. The non-stick pan is easy to clean, is versatile, and non-reactive.
Cooking tips and how to use non-stick pans
You can use a soft dishrag or a non-abrasive sponge to clean the cookware and warm soapy water to remove the food particles and oil residues. You can scrub off the persistent stuck-on food with baking soda, non-abrasive cleaners, and water.
Some manufacturers claim their non-stick pans are dish-safe, but it is safe to wash them by hand. The hot water and harsh detergents might corrode the non-stick surface.
Moreover, you should not stack the non-stick cookware as it might chip the cooking surface, but you can separate it with a paper towel to prevent friction.
When using a non-stick pan, you should not pre-heat it and start rubbing oil coating before using the pan to protect the cooking surface.
The aluminum metal will pre-heat faster than the thick stainless steel; thus, oiling could protect the pan.
You can use the non-stick pan on low and medium heat and avoid using metal utensils on the non-stick cookware.
Moreover, you can check with the manufacturer before using the non-stick cookware in the oven.
#. Enameled cast iron
Enameled cast iron is made of an iron metal base with an enamel coating. Iron is a reactive metal, but the enamel prevents the metal from reacting with the food.
Thus the enameled cast iron is one of the best non-reactive cookware. Moreover, if you cannot afford a stainless steel pan, you can go for one with a protective layer that prevents the food from reacting with the pan.
Cooking tips and how to use an iron cast iron pan
You should not pre-heat the enameled cast iron as the base iron metal expands more than the enamel. Moreover, you should oil the pan before cooking your food on the enameled iron.
#. Glass cookware
Pyrex glass or glass cookware is non-reactive and is typically used for baking purposes. You can use the glassware for baking casseroles and lasagna dishes as they withstand high temperatures without reacting.
However, you should not use your glassware on the stove, as the direct stove fire can be dangerous to the glassware; the Pyrex glass can easily crack with direct heat.
Cooking tips and how to use glass pans
It is advisable not to use the glassware on direct stoves as it will break when exposed to direct heat; moreover, the temperature should not be over 350 F when using it in an oven.
Furthermore, you should avoid changing temperatures when using the glassware; for instance, not going from the oven to the freezer or sink.
You should not add liquid to the hot glass as it can lead to breakage. You can allow the glassware to cool down entirely before immersing it in water and let the oven pre-heat before adding the bakeware.
Moreover, you can always grease the pan before the beginning to bake. The glass will retain the heat, making it great for baking, and will keep your casserole warm at the table.
Why you should Go for a non-reactive cookware?
Non-reactive pans will not react with acidic food such as tomatoes, wine, and citrus, and the pans will not react with these food groups. Moreover, the pans will not change the food taste and color.
The non-reactive pans are made of stable metals which do not react quickly, and some might be reactive metals with stainless steel or enamel coating.
However, you should ensure the coating does not have cracks, making the underlying metal react with the food.
What Are Reactive Pans?
Reactive pans are made of unstable metals, which can potentially mix with the food you are cooking. As the food temperatures rise, the food heats up, and the metal’s chemistry can change.
Thus, the metal will react with strong acidic food like tomatoes, citrus vegetables, and fruits.
Moreover, some metals can oxidize at high temperatures; for instance, copper can oxidize at 392 degrees Fahrenheit. Oxidation can break down the metal, and it will be released to the food, which can poison the food.
Moreover, the reactive pans can change food color, and taste and experts advise against using reactive cookware.
#. Aluminum pans
Although aluminum pans are considered safer in the reactive category, you cannot use untreated aluminum for cooking your food as it reacts with acidic food.
Reaction with the food and the metal will impact your cookware and change the food’s taste and color. Moreover, aluminum does not heat well.
Cooking tips For using the Aluminum pans
You should avoid fruit juices, citrus ingredients, and vinegar when cooking with aluminum cookware, as the pans can be highly reactive.
Cooking with these food groups on an Aluminum pan will leave your pan pitted and alter food taste and color.
Moreover, it would be better to avoid highly salty food when cooking with aluminum pans.
#. Unlined or raw copper pans
Unlined copper is not suitable for cooking as it reacts with oxygen and acids under high temperatures. Moreover, it is better to avoid cooking acid food with unlined copper pans as it will get an awful taste.
However, you can make copper cookware safe for cooking by lining it with other metals like stainless steel.
Cooking tips and how to use the copper pans
You should always avoid cooking with unlined copper as it reacts with oxygen at high temperatures and will react with acidic food. However, it can make the cookware safe by lining it with enamel or stainless steel.
#. Cast iron skillets
Some people can use cast iron-cookware for baking, sautéing, frying, and cooking food as they are least reactive when seasoned with cooking oil.
However, the pan will react when cooking vinegar-based sauces and other acidic foods.
Why you should not go for reactive cookware
The reactive metals might oxidize at high temperatures and impact the food taste and color; oxidation makes the pans unsafe for cooking.
You cannot cook acidic food with reactive food; thus, it would limit your dietary needs. They are not suitable for highly salty and pickled foods as they cause pitting on the cookware.
How Do I Know If A Pan/ Pot Is Non-Reactive?
A non-reactive pan will not change the color and food taste; thus, you will easily distinguish the non-reactive pans from the reactive ones.
Moreover, the pans will not oxidize at higher temperatures, unlike the reactive pans.
They will stay intact, and you will not notice any pitting occurring on the reactive pans due to the reaction with acids.
You can cook different food categories with this pan, unlike the reactive pans.
Moreover, if you cannot distinguish between these pans by yourself, you can ask the shop attendant when buying them from the store.
Although they might be a bit more expensive than the regular reactive pans, the non-reactive pans are worth the investment.
What Types Of Food You Can Cook In the Reactive Pans
The reactive cookware is not well suited for acidic, salty, and citrus ingredients, but you can still cook other food categories.
For instance, it is suitable for boiling rice, rice is a staple food in most homes, and you can boil it safely in reactive metals.
If your fruits and vegetables are non-acid, you can cook them over the reactive cookware.
You can use the reactive cookware for pan-browning meat as it takes a few minutes before the meat sizzles. However, it would help if you season the pan with oil before browning the meat.
Finally, you can cook sugar syrups. But you should maintain low heat to prevent the metal from reacting with the sugar.
What Types Of Food Can’t You Cook In The Non-Reactive Pans?
You can cook almost all food categories on the non-reactive pan, and they are suitable for all kitchen needs. The pans are the ultimate choice when choosing cookware, and they cook acidic, salty, and citrus food as they do not react with the food.
The non-reactive cookware is made of stable metals that will not oxidize at high temperatures, making them ideal for food that needs high temperatures.
The non-reactive pans do not react with acids and do not change food color or taste; thus, you should use them to maintain the food color.
Finally, if the non-reactive pan is made by sealing a reactive metal with stainless steel or enamel, you should avoid scratching the surface, exposing the base reactive metal.
Although cooking is a skillful art, you should find the right cookware to make the process seamless. For instance, you should opt for the non-reactive pans, which do not oxidize at high temperatures or react with the food.
Non-reactive cookware maintains the food color and taste, unlike the reactive pans, which react with certain food groups such as acidic or salty food.
If you don’t know how to distinguish the non-reactive pans, you can ask for recommendations from the stores or online shops and read online reviews on specific non-reactive pans.