Hard Anodized Cookware vs. Non-stick cookware
Non-stick cookware has been a mainstay in millions of home kitchens around the world, since the smooth 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. While Teflon coated cookware was an immediate hit with home cooks, professional chefs quickly found Teflon coated non-stick cookware unsuitable for the rigors and high heat of an industrial kitchen. Teflon is not recommended for heavy daily use, the coating can scratch or chip easily with metal utensils rendering it useless and even dangerous, and high stove top and oven temperatures that are often above 400 degrees in professional kitchens can damage the non-stick coating. High heat can actually cause Teflon to liquefy and give off toxic fumes when the pans are exposed to heat above 450 degrees for an extended time, and some studies show that 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. With these risks and cost of having to replace pans frequently lead professional chefs to seek an alternative to Teflon coated non stick pans.
Searching for a Alternative to Teflon coated Non-Stick Cookware
These risks of using non-stick cookware lead many home cooks who use non-stick cookware and learned of the potential health risks to their families from the potential dangers of exposure to PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) and PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) coated pans and skillets, and professional chefs who often used aluminum pans in restaurants that were replaced frequently, or stainless steel cookware that is sturdy, but can be tough to clean to find an alternative. What resulted from this dilemma was a new type of cookware called Hard Anodized Cookware, which offered the best features of each type of cookware in one:
- light weight like aluminum pans
- sturdy like stainless steel cookware that can handle high temperatures common in a professional kitchen
- has superior non-stick surface like Teflon coated pans
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 or silicone utensils, Teflon coated cookware is generally safe. As long as you use utensils that won’t scratch the non-stick coating, you 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 help you decide which is the best non stick cookware to get. If this is for your use, determine the amount of cooking you will be doing on a daily or weekly basis; will the cookware be used frequently or infrequently; and finally what is your budget? If this is wedding or house warming gift, hard anodized cookware will definitely be a step up from most non-stick cookware, and the recipient will enjoy years of use.