By Natalia Moore
What you need to know about non-stick pans
No matter how fond one is of scrambled eggs or similar dishes, the business of scraping the frying pan afterwards is a disagreeable chore. To a large extent this problem has been overcome by the introduction of non-stick plastic coated fry pans which eliminate the need to soak foods in fat to prevent them sticking to the surface.
A leaflet is usually supplied with non-stick cookware; read this carefully before using the equipment.
So what do you need to know about non-stick pans?
Does the new pan need treatment before use?
Yes. Before using the pan for the first time, wash it in hot, soapy water. (Detergents are quite safe to use for washing.) Rinse and dry. Then condition pan by wiping some vegetable oil over entire inside surface with soft cloth or paper towel.
Do I need to grease the pan?
Well, yes and no. For health or diet reasons, foods can be cooked without adding oil, fat, or butter, but colour and flavour of most foods is enhanced if some shortening is used; this particularly applies to foods with a crumb-coating.
Coated cake tins should be greased lightly before putting in cake mixture, particularly if cake contains a lot of sugar; greasing will ensure complete release of cake from tin.
What is the correct way to use the pan for cooking?
Put pan on to moderate heat for 1 to 1½ minutes. Then add butter, if used, and let it melt. Add the food; continue cooking at medium to low temperatures.
Do not leave pan on hot burner after food has been cooked.
Will food burn in a non-stick pan?
Yes. If too much heat is used, foods will burn in a non-stick pan, just as they do in an ordinary pan. However, they will not stick to the pan.
Are non-stick pans good for omelettes?
If you are a purist about omelets, only wiping the pan, and never washing it, then the non-stick pan is not for you, because it must be washed after use.
But if you have trouble in turning out a perfect omelet every time, the non-stick pan will solve all your difficulties. Because foods do not stick to the pan, you’ll be able to cook the omelet, fold it, and turn it out easily.
What can affect or damage the non-stick coating?
Cooking foods at too-high temperatures; rubbing with steel wool or abrasive; Cutting foods in frypan (this cuts through coating); using sharp kitchen utensil for lifting or turning foods.
Do not stack saucepans away in cupboard one on top of another; this will also damage cooking surface.
Non-stick coatings are available in several colours – grey, brown, etc. Is there any difference?
No. The original substance with non-stick properties is transparent; any colour can be added.
Should I wash non-stick ware or merely wipe it over?
Non-stick cookware must be washed after use. This is important! This removes food or fat particles on inside surface of pan. They might be invisible to the eye, but if left on pan, they will carbonise and, apart from health considerations, will eventually affect appearance and performance of pan.
How to wash pan correctly?
Allow utensil to cool completely before washing. Then simply wash it in hot, soapy water with cloth or soft sponge. Do not use steel wool or any abrasive. Then thoroughly rinse inside and outside with hot water. Dry well.
Will scratches on the surface affect the non-stick property?
Small scratches affect appearance of pan, but make little difference to performance. Where, with improper use, larger areas of coating have been removed, foods will tend to stick to pan.
Once marked, can the non-stick coating be restored?
A spray-on silicone is available which can affect temporary repair; it is effective up to 60 days; as this silicone is transparent, it will not restore an unmarked appearance.
What do I use to turn food?
Nylon spatulas are provided as part of the equipment with many non-stick pans. These are ideal because they will not scratch the non-stick surface. However, wooden spoons or tongs can be used; make sure they do not scratch surface of pan.
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