If you love cooking, then you will most probably agree that the right cookware is an important investment. It is the tool of the trade that any chef and wannabe-chef should have. It gives you a different kind of excitement and motivation!
When choosing cookware, one of the most important considerations would be the material used. Pick a durable, stylish, and non-stick material. Health and safety are also primary concerns. Among others, carbon steel is one of the most popular.
Is carbon steel cookware safe? Is it worth having it in the kitchen? Read on and learn from some of the insights we’ll share.
What is Carbon Steel?
Carbon steel in cookware is made of an iron-carbon alloy. It can contain up to 2.1% carbon. While carbon is the main alloy material that you will find in carbon steel, it is also often combined with other materials, such as manganese, tungsten, chromium, silicon, and copper. The content of the alloying element (carbon, in the case of carbon steel) will determine the strength of steel and other important characteristics. The higher the carbon content, the lower the melting point. This is indicative of being heat-resistant, which means that it can withstand cooking at high temperatures.
Is Carbon Steel Cookware Safe?
Now, let’s answer the most important question in this guide. YES, carbon steel cookware is safe! Over time, more and more people have been concerned about healthier cooking. With the proliferation of cheap cookware in the market, you can find a lot of materials, many of which are toxic. This isn’t the case with carbon steel. You can have peace of mind knowing that it does not bring health and safety risks.
One of the best things about carbon steel cookware is that it has a natural and safe non-stick coating. You do not have to worry that chemicals will mix with your food. This is unlike other choices for non-stick cookware with chemical coating, such as polytetrafluoroethylene and perfluorooctanoic acid. They have been linked to numerous health problems, so you should stay away from them. They can break down when subjected to extreme heat, and this is when it can pose health hazards.
More than just being safe, carbon steel cookware is also known for being good for your health. It has iron. Typically, it will include 99% iron and 1% carbon. This can fortify iron into your food as you cook. This will allow you to enjoy the benefits of iron in your food. Although, it should be pointed out that the best way to add iron to your diet is through the foods that you eat and not the cookware.
Seasoning Carbon Steel Cookware
As mentioned above, the chemicals that make cooking surfaces non-stick are associated with several health problems. Carbon steel is a great alternative, but its non-stick properties can be dismal when you do not exert effort to season it properly. With proper seasoning, you can ensure your cookware’s peak performance, as well as your health and safety. This is the secret that will unlock the full potential of carbon steel in the kitchen. Aside from preventing food from sticking on the surface of the cookware, proper seasoning also helps to prevent rust and corrosion.
Most carbon steel pots and pans will come with a wax coating right out of the box. The first thing that you need to do is to remove this by scrubbing the surface. Use water and mild soap. Let it dry. Next, you can now start the seasoning in a standard cooktop. Turn on the stove to medium heat. Dab oil in a tissue or clean cloth. Rub it all over the pan. Apply a thin layer, making sure that you cover all parts of the cookware. Heat the pan evenly up to 20 minutes.
Other Benefits of Carbon Steel Cookware
Aside from being healthy and safe, carbon steel cookware can deliver tons of other benefits, which is why it is one of the most popular choices in the market. One of the best things about carbon steel is its ability to retain heat. It also conducts heat quicker. This means that you do not have to wait a long time before it is hot. Plus, it also promotes even cooking, so there will be no burn spots.
Carbon steel is also lightweight, especially when it is compared to cast iron. This means that it will be easier to handle in the kitchen and won’t cause unnecessary strain on your wrist. Most of them have long handles, which will be effortless for you to hold.
The durability of carbon steel is also notable. You can expect it to last many years. However, make sure to pay attention to proper care and maintenance, especially when it comes to seasoning the cookware.
Is carbon steel cookware safe? As noted above, YES, carbon steel is a great choice if you want to ensure safety in the kitchen. It does not contain toxic chemicals that are often used in the non-stick coating. However, make sure to properly season carbon steel cookware. This will make the surface non-stick, while also preventing rust and corrosion. This is also a great way to impart better flavors on your food.