If you have cooked anything on an old pan that makes the food stick to its surface, and you have also used a non-stick pan to do the same thing, you know the stark difference there is between the two. Non-stick cookware offers obvious advantages because they are a whole category on their own in the cookware market. Depending on what kind of non-stick surface you buy, you will experience different advantages and disadvantages.
Non-stick Cookware is a versatile category of utensils that make life very easy for you. There are many non-stick surfaces in different price ranges, but they all offer one thing in common; convenience and ease of cooking. If you are thinking about buying a new non-stick pan or pot and can't decide what kind of surface is the safest, longest-lasting, most user-friendly etc., then you have stumbled upon the right place. We will talk about various kinds of non-stick cookware today, their good points, and also their bad points, if any.
1. PTFE Coating
This is the most common and the most budget-friendly type of non-stick cookware. This form of the non-stick coating is the oldest and was discovered way back in 1938 due to an accidental experiment. The coating is slippery and heat resistant, which made it the perfect non-stick coating at the time. A component involved in the manufacturing of PTFE coating is PFOA. This chemical is released when the utensil is too hot and leaches into the food we eat. It also gets into our environment. Exposure to PFOA is known to increase the chances of developing tumours which could even turn out to be cancerous! All in all, you need to practice a lot of caution if you want to use PTFE non-stick cookware regularly.
2. Ceramic Coating (Sol-Gel)
In the 1960s, Ceramic became a popular replacement choice for PTFE non-stick cookware. It is made from silica hardened by binders, oxygen, and colour. Initially, it was made from lead and cadmium, which proved toxic and leached harmful chemicals into the food. But recent ceramic coatings are free from PTFE and PFOA, making them much safer. The organic components used to manufacture it now don't leach any harmful chemicals. The disadvantage is that ceramic coatings are not durable and can easily wear off from scrubbing, shortening their life cycle.
3. Silicon Non-stick Coating
Silicon coating is derived from silica and is a very flexible non-stick coating, usually found in bakeware. It comes from a mineral found in sand, which gives silicone when heated up to 1800 degrees Celsius. It is then mixed with water to form silicone. The silicone rubber that we see so commonly is then coated on bakeware as a non-stick coating. Pure silicone is non-toxic and non-reactive to alkaline foods, making it a safe non-stick cooking alternative according to the FDA. The key is to buy pure silicone-coated cookware and not ones with plastic fillers.
4. Enamelled Cast Iron
Cast iron is one of the most preferred forms of cookware by experienced and professional chefs across the globe. It takes a certain level of skill to make use of it in the best way. But the problem is that traditional cast iron cookware isn't naturally non-stick. You have to season it and keep seasoning it to give it the non-stick sheen. Enamelled cast iron is a method to make the cast iron surface non-stick. It is a great way to combine cast iron's excellent heat retention, uniformity abilities, and non-stick functionality. The surface is made by mixing powdered glass with the surface of the cast iron pan. There is also pre-seasoned cast iron cookware available in the market, different from enamelled cast iron.