Hard Anodized Cookware vs. Non-stick cookware
Non-stick cookware has been a mainstay in millions of home kitchens around the world, since the slippery non-coating for pans, pots and skillets that prevents food from sticking, was discovered in the 1940′s and marketed to the public in the 1950′s by DuPont as Teflon coated non-stick cookware. Professional chefs quickly found Teflon coated non-stick cookware unsuitable for the riggers of an industrial kitchen, and began searching for PFOA free non-stick cookware. This is due to Teflon is not recommended for heavy daily use and high stove top and oven temperatures that are customary in professional kitchens. Teflon coated cookware is not recommended for use above 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and once Teflon coated pans are scratched or chipped, they must be thrown out. This is due to once Teflon is scratched, toxic PTFE or PFOA particles can be transferred to the food, where these odorless particulates can contaminate food and lead to potentially dangerous health risks. Also, Teflon coated pans are not useful for baking and broiling, since baked foods are frequently cooked at temperatures above 400° Fahrenheit, and high temperatures above 350 ° F have been shown to cause the Teflon coating to begin to liquefy and leach into the food.
Searching for a Alternative to Teflon coated Non-Stick Cookware
These risks of using non-stick cookware lead professional chefs and home cooks who use their non-stick cookware on a daily basis to search for alternatives to the aluminum pans in restaurants that must be replaced frequently, or stainless steel cookware that is sturdy, but can be tough to clean. Many home as well, who cooks who use Teflon coated pans on a daily basis, sought alternatives to Teflon after learning of the potential health risks to their families from the dangers of PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) and PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) coated pans and skillets. What resulted from this dilemma was a cross between the best of these types of tough cookware: light weight aluminum cookware that can take a beating in the kitchen and come back for more, has superior non-stick properties like Teflon coated pans, and can handle high temperatures common in a professional kitchen. A new class of cookware was born, called Hard Anodized Cookware.
What is Hard Anodized Cookware?
Hard Anodized Cookware is aluminum cookware that has been put through an electrochemical bath that hardens the aluminum to the strength of stainless steel cookware, and has a layer of oxidization that gives the cookware the non-stick consistency of Teflon-coated pans. I am sure you are wondering about the benefits of hard anodized cookware? This light weight professional quality cookware has been shown to be extremely durable, resists scratches and is nonporous, meaning it won’t absorb smells from the food that has been cooked in it. This is important for high volume professional kitchens, where the pan may be used to cook fish in one dish, cleaned and then used to cook a pasta dish without transferring smells or flavors from between dishes.
Benefits of Hard Anodized Cookware
- Made from light or medium weight aluminum
- Pans are as hard as stainless steel cookware
- PFOA Free non-stick cookware
- Oxidization process creates a non-stick surface
- Cookware can withstand high oven temps up to 400° Fahrenheit
- Doesn’t scratch or chip
- Nonporous to resist absorbing food smells
Is Teflon Coated Cookware Safe?
For the average home cook, who uses their non-stick cookware regularly at medium temperature or lower, does not abuse or scratch it and uses wooden utensils, Teflon coated cookware is generally safe. As long as you use wooden utensils that prevent scratching the non-stick coating, do not put it in the oven above 350 ° Fahrenheit and hand wash as directed, you should get several years of risk free use.
The dangers of using PFOA or PTFE coated cookware are only a concern for people who:
- use their cookware heavily and the Teflon coating can be chipped or scratched by using metal utensils
- if you often cook food at high stove top or oven temperatures
- if you are prone to burning food
- if you wash your cookware in the dishwasher and not by hand
If you are in the market for new home cookware for yourself, as a house warming gift or as a wedding gift and you are trying to decide on hard anodized cookware vs. non-stick cookware, follow the tips in this article to determine the amount of cooking you or your gift recipient will be doing on a daily or weekly basis, will the cookware be used frequently or infrequently and how hard will the user be on the cookware, and finally what is your budget? By following these simple tips, this will help you decide which is the best type of non-stick cookware to use.