Copper cookware is beautiful, without a doubt. But it is the unique heat conduction of copper that makes it beautiful to the chef. Many people work to save up money to buy copper cookware one piece at a time, cruising sales tables at high-end department stores and kitchen supply stores. Others make their purchase all at once, buying an entire set of cookware. Either way, you can end up spending thousands of dollars. With that kind of investment, you will want to take care of your purchase. Here, according to What My Home Wants, is how to take care of your copper cookware set.
Because copper is a relatively soft metal, it can scratch easily. If your mental image is of a rack of sparkling, flawlessly shiny copper pots and pans, maybe copper is not for you. Even sitting on the grate of a gas stove can scratch the exterior of your copper cookware sets. It is usually considered part of the beauty and patina of the cookware.
However, you can minimize abrasion by using wooden or rubber utensils with your cookware. This will spare the inside, where you stir the food.
Oxidation is the natural reaction of copper to oxygen. While a certain amount of it is expected, cleaning and polishing your copper with non-abrasive cleaners will reduce the amount of oxidation. The copper will turn pink or orange, over time.
However, the copper may also turn purple, or have dark streaks on the surface. This needs to be polished out, because the dark streaks can cause heat to build up in that area. This, of course, ruins the whole reason you like to cook with copper- the even conduction of heat. Food will begin to stick to the dark areas, and will burn, leaving you with a bigger mess.
How many times have you left a pot in the sink to soak overnight? Well, if you do that to a copper pot, you’re going to be left with a waterline around the pot. That’s because the pot will continue to oxidize above the water, while any soaps and acids (from cooked foods) continue to discolor the pot underwater. For best results, clean your copper pots immediately. Water and acids from foods will make the finish blotchy, and dark spots may begin to corrode. If you have to soak a pan to get food loose, put the lid on it to help even out the oxidation.
Hot soapy water is your copper cookware’s best friend. Use a soft cloth to wash the pan and get all of the food and cleaning debris off of the surface. Once the pan is cleaned and rinsed, dry it completely with another soft cloth. Unfortunately, you simply can’t put your copper cookware in the dishwasher. Dishwasher detergent can eat away at the copper, and it speeds up oxidation as well. Clean with non-abrasive cleanser, and use copper polish.