Helpful hints for the care and use of your cookware. (Taken from our original website in 2001!)
Copper Cookware Many pieces of copper cookware come with a protective coating of lacquer to prevent tarnishing. This lacquer coating must be removed before using your copper item for cooking. Add one tablespoon of baking soda to two pints of water in a deep pot and bring it to a boil. While the mixture is boiling, immerse your copper item into it for approximately 15 minutes. (If the item is too large for this amount of water, add more baking soda and water.) Depending on the size of your copper cookware, it may be necessary to clean part of your item at a time. The lacquer coating should peel off. Wash thoroughly. NOTE: Do not boil wooden or bakelite handles. Acetone may be used as a last resort for removing lacquer, especially for hard to clean areas; follow the manufacturer's directions on the bottle. (If you are using your copper cookware for decorative purposes, you may leave the protective coating on.)When using an unlined copper bowl for beating egg whites, first clean the bowl by placing a small amount of salt into the bottom. Take one half of a lemon and rub it into the salt, then wipe the lemon around the entire inside of the bowl. Wash the bowl with hot water and wipe it with a clean dishcloth. Non-Stick Cookware To help prevent staining on your non-stick cookware, never overheat. Also, do not preheat non-stick cookware. To remove staining on your non-stick cookware, mix 1 cup of water with 3 tablespoons of automatic-dishwasher detergent (OR mix 1 cup of water with 3 tablespoons oxygen bleach and 1 teaspoon of liquid dish detergent), and let mixture simmer in the pan for 15 to 20 minutes. The process may need to be repeated. Wash and reseason the pan. When cleaning, never use anything abrasive. A plastic mesh scrub is best. Cast Iron If cast iron cookware is not seasoned before use, the cookware may rust and food can stick to the surface. To season cast iron cookware, coat the inner surface with a vegetable oil and place the pan in a moderately heated oven (300ºF) for approximately 20 minutes. After the pan has been removed from the oven, wipe it clean with a piece of paper towel. Repeat. When cleaning seasoned cast iron cookware, use a mild soap if necessary; never use a detergent, steel wool, or other harsh abrasives. For stubborn build-ups of food, place approximately 1/2" of water into the pan and leave the pan on a warm burner until the food loosens. Pour out the water and gently wipe the pan clean with paper toweling. Enamel on Cast Iron Cast iron pans with an enamel coating (such as LeCreuset cookware) do not need to be pre-seasoned. Do not preheat or overheat enameled cast iron. The excessive heat can cause crazing and eventually chipping of the enamel surface. Do not use anything abrasive to clean enameled cast iron; if food is stuck inside the pan, soak the pan until the food is more easily removed. Some darkening of the interior enamel surface over time is normal. Enamel on Steel Enamel on steel cookware (such as Chantal) is able to transfer heat immediately, therefor this cookware should not be preheated when empty. (For this same reason, never let liquids boil dry in the pan.) Enamel on steel cookware also should not be exposed to extreme temperature changes. To take care of most hard to remove foods, soak the pan in hot soapy water then wipe it clean.
Stainless Steel Stainless steel is not a very good conductor of heat, therefor stainless steel pans often have a bottom base (or core) of aluminum or copper. Stainless steel does not react to alkaline or acidic foods, unlike some other metals. When cleaning your stainless cookware, do not use any abrasive cleansers, steel wool or metal based scrubbing pads. (Nylon mesh scrub pads work best.) Salt, or liquids containing salt, when left in the pan can cause pitting. Should you get a build-up of food in the pan, soak the pan overnight then boil it before cleaning. Aluminum Aluminum is the second best heat conductor for cooking, following copper. Never store foods in aluminum pans, as the food acids can corrode the aluminum. If a pan does become oxidised, the metal will eventually pit; oxidised pans are rendered unsafe to cook with. As with most other metal cookware, soaking an aluminum pan will help to remove stuck on foods. Do not put aluminum pans in the dishwasher, as this can cause oxidation.