Stainless Steel Cookware Is A Wonderful Investment, But You Need To Use It Correctly!
Stainless skillets can be seasoned before use to provide a better nonstick surface.
- Simply wash the pan and coat the entire cooking surface with a high smoke point cooking oil, such as peanut oil. Be sure to get the sloped edges of the pan as well.
- Heat the oiled pan on the stove top on medium heat until the oil smokes. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool completely, wipe away the excess oil with a paper towel. The cooking surface should look very shiny and reflective after this.
- After cooking, you should not need to wash the pan with soap. Simply wipe it clean with a paper towel. If food is stuck to the pan, use salt and oil to scrub it; the salt acts as an abrasive but will not hurt the surface.
- If, for some reason, you do need to wash the pan with soap, you will need to season it again.
How To Cook With Stainless Steel
Some people who buy stainless steel pans complain that the food sticks…
…They are simply skipping an important step. Stainless steel skillets, especially high quality ones with thick construction, require a lot of time on the stove to pre-heat. You may need to allow 5 to 10 minutes at medium heat for the pan to heat up.
AFTER the pan is heated, add the cooking oil. This is especially important, because if you add the oil to a cold pan, it spends more time in contact with heat. The fats in the oil can break down and burn, causing undesirable flavors. By adding oil to a hot pan, it is only heated for the necessary amount of time.
Once the oil is hot, it will appear to be shimmering. This is the time to add whatever food you are trying to cook. Food should not stick and you should notice that anything you cook gets browned or caramelized perfectly.
With meats, it is a good idea to wash and pat the meat dry, and to let it reach room temperature before cooking.
To avoid scratching your pans, you should use soft cooking utensils, such as silicone spatulas, tongs, etc.
Common Problems With Stainless Steel Cookware And How To Fix Them
- How to prevent pitting on the cooking surface: This is a common problem with pots and sauce pans where you are boiling water. If you are adding salt to the water, add it after the water is boiling. Pitting, which is a form of rust, can occur if salt is added to water before it is boiling. Pits cannot be removed, but they can be prevented.
- How to remove white spots on stainless steel: These spots are a result of calcium deposits from water and can be removed with a mild acid solution. Boil 1 part of vinegar and 3 parts of water in the pot or pan, let it cool, then wash as normal.
- How to clean burnt bits of food from the stainless steel: This issue can be prevented by taking the above measure of pre-heating your pan. However, if you still end up with burnt food stuck to your pan, you can fill it with soapy water, boil it, and scrape with a flexible spatula. Do not use anything rigid; you might scratch your finish. If you do this, you should season the pan again.
- Rainbow discolorations are common in stainless steel cookware: This happens as a result of overheating and can be fixed by cooking with acidic foods such as tomato juice or by washing with vinegar. If these do not work, you might need to use a specialty stainless steel cleaner.