Reactive Pan vs. Non-Reactive Pan

Questions and Answers – Reactive Pan vs. Non-Reactive Pan




What is a non-reactive skillet? – Debbie Jordan (1/20/01)



Reactive Pan:
 It is one made from a material that reacts chemically with other foods.  Aluminum and copper, metals that conduct heat extremely well, are the two most common reactive materials used to make in cookware.  Lightweight aluminum, second only to copper in conducting heat, reacts with acidic foods,  imparting a metallic taste, and can discolor light-colored soups and sauces, especially if you stir them with a metal spoon or whisk (it is a very soft metal).

For that reason, you should neither cook nor store light-colored foods in aluminum cookware.  Anodized aluminum has a hard, corrosion-resistant surface that helps prevent discoloration.

Most copper pots and pans are lined with tin to prevent reaction.  However, tin is a very soft metal, so it scratches easily and then exposes foods to the copper underneath.

Cast-iron is considered reactive; however, we have to say that our extremely well-seasoned pans seem to do fine with tomato sauce and other acidic foods as long as they do not stay in contact with one another for extended periods.


Non-Reactive Pan:  When a recipe calls for a non-reactive cookware, use ceramics, enamel, glass, plastic, or stainless steel.  Stainless steel is the most common non-reactive cookware available.  Since it does not conduct or retain heat well, it frequently has aluminum or copper bonded to the bottom or a core of aluminum between layers of stainless steel.  Although expensive, this kind of cookware offers the benefits of a durable, non-reactive surface and rapid, uniform heat conductivity.

Glass cookware is non-reactive and although it retains heat well it conducts it poorly.

Enamelware is non-reactive as long as the enamel is not scratched or chipped.




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