We LOVE our pots and pans. When we cook regularly, there are just a few go-to cookware with which we have a different level of comfort. I have a lot of alternatives for making the same recipe in different pans, yet I choose the same pan repeatedly. This love for our cooking instruments makes us blind to the fact that they age and become unusable. Scratched or warped cookware gets the job done, but it gets it done poorly. So you must replace your cookware at the right time.
Your pots and pans lasting for as long as they can highly depend on how you maintain them. Using the right spatula, cleaning with the right soap, soaking it before use, making the right cuisine in a certain pot, using the right and safe ingredients; are all parts of maintaining your cookware for longevity. So let's take a look at indicators of when you should be replacing your cookware, based on the type of cookware you use.
Your Cookware is Misshaped
This reason is kind of an obvious one. If you can clearly look at a vessel and say that it doesn't look like it used to, you can clearly tell it might be time to let go of that pot. This doesn't pose a health risk but does compromise the quality of your food. The shape of a particular pot or pan determines the distribution of heat. If it is misshaped or warped, there will be spots that don't get enough heat and result in inconsistent food. If you are one of those people who don't really care about the perfection of cooking, this point might not be for you, but replacing a bad looking pot isn't in your worst interest either.
Scratched Non-Stick Cookware
Non-stick cookware is the most important and most used vessel in any kitchen's armoury. If you like to use your frying pan a lot, chances are, it is a non-stick one. Non-stick coatings come in many variations, but they are all prone to losing their non-stick surface. Non-stick surfaces function as long as they are smooth and glass-like. As soon as you find a few scratches on the pan's surface, you will start to see that your food is sticking to the surface. In the case of PTFE or Teflon coated non-stick cookware, it is even poisonous to continue cooking on a scratched surface.
You can see the Core of your Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is another one of those materials which are heavily used in manufacturing quality cookware. Stainless steel cookware is usually coated by a thicker base so that there is even cooking and heat distribution. Stainless steel cookware also lasts for a long time. So if you have a pot or pan that has been so worn out that you can see the base layer at the bottom, it is probably time to replace it.
Vessels with Loose or Melted handles need to go!
If your saucepan or frying pan has melted handles, it is probably because it has taken enough abuse. Oven friendly pots sometimes have handles that melt after a while. You could even have mistakenly burnt the handle. These vessels need to go away since a melted handle is just a happenstance away from a tragedy. Speaking of, if your pan has loose handles that can't be fixed with a screwdriver, you need to put that pan away. A loose handle can be a broken handle on any given day.
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