Shopping for pans can be overwhelming because of all the options in terms of materials. There are all sorts of materials to buy, and they come in various shapes and sizes. From copper to stainless steel and cast iron to aluminum, we will be taking a more in-depth look at this article.
Aluminum has excellent thermal conductivity, which is a plus for cookware. It is also lightweight and is one of the most affordable pans out there. Aluminum pans heat up faster than cast iron or copper pans, requiring low to medium heat settings to heat up evenly.
It also takes little time to cool when you are done cooking, which may be a con or pro depending on how you see it. Another pro of aluminum pans is that they are lightweight. This does not mean it is cheap or low quality.
Aluminum is a durable and robust metal, and with proper maintenance, it will serve you for sure.
Disposable Aluminum Pans
Nothing keeps food warm and fresh and as tasty as an aluminum foil pan. These aluminum pans come with their lids, which you can use to bake, store, serve, or carry your foods.
They are also non-stick when you decide to use them for baking with them. This is very useful, especially for people who have restaurants and maybe offering outside catering. It makes work more comfortable since you can throw them away after use and rule out the hassle of washing cookware after.
There is no need to buy expensive food storage containers when you can get these at an affordable price. They are easy to use, ideal size, and affordable. Furthermore, there are disposable pans that you can use for grilling.
If you are new to it and want your meat to come out just right, grab yourself a disposable aluminum pa and place it on the grill grate and leave it there. Remember the thing about aluminum and absorbing heat and cooling fast.
It will help you control the amount of heat you want to use, especially in a charcoal grill.
Are Aluminum Pans Microwave And Oven Friendly?
Aluminum containers are suitable for storing and preserving your food because of their lightweight and robust features. They protect food from contaminants and humidity, too, making them favorable for low salty foods.
They can also be used in the oven since they are a good conductor of heat, distributing heat evenly through the container. Although aluminum foil inside the microwave catches fire, everyone knows that aluminum foil is dangerous.
However, aluminum cookware is safe for the microwave since it reflects the waves inside. The food inside the aluminum container will get heated on top while the sides of the pan will reflect the heat waves away, taking a lot of time to heat the food, but it’s a different case while baking in the oven, they absorb heat quickly in baking mode.
Is Aluminum Recyclable?
If environment conservation is a favorite for you, then aluminum cookware is the way to go. It is a metal that is easily recycled, making it sustainable cookware. The disposable ones can also be washed and reused for cooking multiple times or storing other stuff that is not kitchen related.
Recycling aluminum conserves 95 percent of the energy that is used when making them. How cool is that?
How To Clean Aluminum Cookware
Despite having some outstanding qualities, aluminum gets grimy and discolored from time to time and need some good cleaning. You will need:
- Dish soap
- Water of course
- Wooden spoon
- 2 tbsp cream of tartar, lemon juice
- Silver polish
- Before starting to clean, make sure it has cooled well to avoid small burns. Wash any existing grease or grime with warm water, the dish soap, and sponge using the sponge’s rough side to scrub out any burnt food. The wooden spoon will be useful here to scrap the stuck food on the pan. Please do not use a metallic spoon since it will scratch the metal off the pan, causing scratches.
- For any discoloration due to oxidation, which presents itself as chalky, white stuff on pans. Fill the cookware with water, and for each quart of water you use, add 2 tbsp of either the tartar or lemon juice. Some people also use white vinegar. Stir the mixture well and bring it to a boil in the same cookware. Turn off the heat and pour it out. It should be shiny again.
- For any stubborn discoloration that may still linger on it, scrub to remove it. Do not use steel wool or other abrasive scrubbers because they are too harsh and may weaken the cookware.
- For the exterior, you can use the silver polish to clean discoloration outside the pot and wash it with warm water, sponge, and dish soap.
- Rinse the whole pot and dry it with a dishtowel. People say you should see your reflection on your pan, and we hope you do!
How to clean baked on grease from aluminum pans
Baked on grease is a tough mess to deal with, but you are in luck. Use the following methods for the aluminum sheets.
- Aluminum steel cookie sheets – Place it on the stove with water and some drops of dish detergent inside. Boil it for about five minutes and let the mixture cool then scrub the pan with a stainless steel scrubbing pad to remove it.
- Aluminum cookie sheets – Sprinkle some cream of tartar all over the baking sheet, add water and bring it to a boil for 5 minutes. This will lift the grease off the pan the rinse away the residue, and dry it with a dishtowel.
Should you put aluminum cookware in the dishwasher?
One of the things you should never put in the dishwasher is aluminum cookware. When put, it turns dull and may darken. If your aluminum cookware has not been anodized, the harsh detergent can cause pitting or corrosion.
It may also make white spots on the surface from the detergent’s alkaline nature despite the cookware being labeled as dishwasher safe.
How To Make Your Aluminum Cookware Shine
Many retail products that claim to polish aluminum surfaces are expensive and may not do the job as you’d want them too. They may also be very harsh on the aluminum surface.
The better option is to make your homemade polish with easy-to-find materials like vinegar, cream of tartar, lemon juice, and baking soda.
Cream of tartar
Mix two tablespoons of it and stir with water to make a thick paste. Rub it directly on the surface and polish it using a fine grain buffing pad or the sponge’s rough part. After you are done, wipe with a soft cloth to remove any leftover dirt and voila!
Make a solution of baking soda and lemon juice in a dish to form a thick paste. Rub the solution directly on the surface and scrub using a fine grain buffing pad and polish it to a shine.
How To Season Aluminum Pans
Seasoning helps to protect the cookware and prolong its duration of use.
- Clean your aluminum pan with dish soap and sponge then dry it.
- Spray it with a light layer of vegetable oil
- Heat the oiled pan over medium heat for 10 minutes, then remove it as soon as smoke appears or when the oil turns brown.
- Wipe the pan with a paper towel then store it till next use.
What foods react with aluminum pans?
Aluminum cookware is highly reactive with acidic foods such as vinegar, citrus, and tomatoes. They can alter the food’s taste and even appearance leaving the pan pitted.
Aluminum leaching is minimal, though, because lab tests were done on tomato sauce cooked in an aluminum pot for 2 hours then stored overnight, and it contained only 0.0024 milligrams of aluminum per cup. That is minimal leaching but make sure to avoid cooking acidic foods on it.