Making Pots and Pans Last Longer

creusetIf you want your pots and pans to last longer, avoid taking pots and pans that are cold (i.e., room temperature) and putting them directly over a stove that is cranked up to full heat.  It’s best to put a pan over very low heat for a while before turning up the heat to medium or high.  I usually let a pan get warm on low heat for about a minute before turning up the heat.  If possible, put water or oil in the pan before putting it on the heat.  Of course, you generally want the pan to be at cooking temperature before you put the food in, though it depends what you’re cooking.

The key is to avoid sudden and extreme temperature changes.  When a pan is heated too quickly, the part of it that is directly over the heat source will get hot and expand while the rest of the pan is still cold.  This uneven expansion causes coatings (such as enamel or non-stick surfaces) to begin to detach.  Sudden temperature changes can cause stress fractures in any metal object, including pots and pans.  Even cast iron pans can be damaged by sudden temperature changes.  Be gentle with your pots and pans.  Give them time to get warm before you turn up the heat.

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