Aluminum cooking equipment has been swarming the market as it is also a very good material for cooking. Like any other cooking equipment available, cooking tools made of aluminum material should also be taken care of. In taking good care of pans, knowing how to season an aluminum pan is important.
Cooking With Aluminum Equipment
Aluminum has been a very consistent material used in making cooking utensils. It is, overall, a kitchen’s best friend as over half of the cookware available on the market today contains aluminum. Aluminum is a good material for cookware because of its ability to heat up quickly and evenly.
Aluminum is also light in weight, so it’s not so hard to use and carry around in the kitchen. It’s lightweight also allows for easier cleaning as it can be easily held and manipulated on the sink for washing. Cookware made of aluminum is also relatively cheaper than other materials on the market.
However, every material has its pros and cons. For aluminum cookware, it is easier to get your tool scratched. Aluminum is a soft metal, so it’s not very good at withstanding scratches from other sharp and pointy objects found in the kitchen, like knives, forks, scrubbing metal wool, and etc.
Like how aluminum can be easily scratched, it is also vulnerable to dents. Perhaps there are times when you may have accidentally dropped an aluminum cookware item and you can see a visible dent on it. Denting can also happen because of the high heat. Using your aluminum cookware frequently under high heat can make it more vulnerable to denting at the bottom.
There is also aluminum cookware that does not react well with acidic ingredients or foods with high acidity. The chemical reaction can cause a taste change in the dish you may be cooking. Dishes that contain egg yolks, apples, asparagus, or artichokes can cause a reaction called oxidation. This is a process of color darkening.
There’s no reason to lose hope in aluminum-based materials, though. There is a solution to this. You might want to look for cookware that has an aluminum inner core with a metal outer coating. There is also anodized aluminum, which may be more expensive than the former.
Aluminum and its Safety
Aluminum is easily found and is one of the most common elements on Earth, along with oxygen and silicon. Aluminum is basically everywhere as it can be found in the air, water, soil, and, as a consequence of its presence, in the plants and animal meat we eat.
There may be an ongoing debate about how safe aluminum is as a material for cookware. Many are afraid that it could cause Alzheimer’s disease. This all started when researchers in Canada found out that people who died with Alzheimer’s disease usually had high levels of aluminum in their brains.
These findings sparked controversy and might have caused a bit of panic in some people. After the controversy, people were alarmed by the aluminum cookware and, quite frankly, worried that using it may have caused something negative in their bodies. Many people decide to throw away their aluminum cookware during these times.
Refuting the former findings, recent research proves that the increased level of aluminum was actually due to Alzheimer’s disease itself. The research found out that the brains of people who suffered from Alzheimer’s allowed unusually high levels of aluminum to enter. Researchers today confirmed that aluminum is safe to use.
4 Steps to Seasoning an Aluminum Pan
When seasoning your aluminum pan, you also need to know the process you will be going through. Every good thing in the world requires a process. To be able to season your pan effectively, you need to follow simple steps that will eventually result in a nicely seasoned aluminum pan.
To your advantage, the materials you will need to season your aluminum pan will not be expensive or hard to find. All the things required are easily found in stores and are inexpensive, so you won’t have a hard time finding them. Here’s how you season your aluminum pan.
1. Wash your pan
It’s important to start the work on a clean and washed pan. Why? It’s essential that all residue or dirt particles are removed to decrease its vulnerability to scratches and discoloration. All you need to do is wash, preferably with warm water and soapy detergent, rinse, and wipe with a clean, soft, and dry cloth.
2. Prepare oil and coat your pan with oil
Yes, you would need to cover your pan with oil. It could be easier to get paper towels and help wipe the pan clean with oil. The most common and recommended oils to use are vegetable oil and flaxseed oil. Flaxseed oil is the most recommended because of its high smoking point.
3. Heat your pan up
The next step would be to place your pan over an ample amount of heat. You can use an oven or a stove. When opting to use the oven, you can set the temperature to 450 degrees and leave it for 2 hours.
On the other hand, when you decide to use the stove, you just need to put your pan onto the stove to let it heat up. In this case, be sure to never leave your pan unattended. The process is not too long, so it pays to be patient and check every now and then whether all the oil has been burnt off.
4. The second wash
Wait for your pan to cool, and the next thing to do is wash it. Make sure not to wash with scouring pads, rough washing tools, or in the dishwasher. Prepare warm water and rinse it carefully. Use a soft, non-abrasive cloth when drying your pan.
Why Do You Need To Season Your Aluminum Pan?
Like any other kitchen equipment, there are ways to help your equipment perform better to prolong its life and thus prolong its service time in the kitchen.
The process of seasoning your aluminum pan is for protection and to give it a longer life. Without seasoning your pan, it could be more vulnerable to deterioration, which might lead to having to purchase and switch pans quicker than expected.
By seasoning your aluminum pan, you also allow for easier cleaning. A seasoned pan also helps maintain a non-toxic cooking surface, which is beneficial for the health of your family.
When to Season Your Aluminum Pan
It is advisable to season your aluminum pan before its initial use, and thereafter whenever the surface starts to dull or food begins to stick. It can sound like a hassle at first, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Acidic or alkaline ingredients can harm your pans. This damage, in the long run, can lead to corrosion, rust, and oxidation. Seasoning helps to protect your pan from these damages. In a nutshell, seasoning your pans will save you money as well as prolong the life of your pans.
Maintenance Tips For Your Aluminum Pans
After seasoning your pan, there is also routine maintenance that you should perform to keep your aluminum pan in optimal condition and retain the good changes the seasoning has made.
- It’s good to always preheat the seasoned pan with oil or butter.
- Do not burn the inside of your pan. This can frequently happen when you leave the pan on the stove for longer than usual.
- Avoid burning food because this may lead to the need to use a scraper for the debris.
- So, don’t let your oil get so hot that it starts smoking. When you see signs of oil and pan smoking, it’s your cue to turn the temperature down.
- Time is essential, and be sure to clean your pan as soon as possible after using it. Leaving the used pan for too long prolongs the food’s time to react with the seasoning.
- When cooking, make sure to continue stirring food and ingredients that easily burn to prevent them from burning and probably sticking to the pan.
- Aluminum heats very effectively and quickly, so the risk of burning your food is always there. Make sure to monitor your food so it does not burn and stick to the pan.
These processes may seem like a hassle, but they will be worth it in the long run. These simple steps are just reminders and are relatively easy to follow; they would usually not take too much of your time as some of them are done during cooking, which is equally important even without the pan’s seasoning.
Following these simple steps will help retain the seasoning’s effect and protect your aluminum pan for longer.
Cooking is one of the things that count as a blessing on this earth. Thus, cookware is one of the follow-ups to this blessing! Knowing how to take care of aluminum pans is useful in today’s cooking, and knowing how to season an aluminum pan is one way of taking care of your cookware.
Michael Johnson is the founder of The Pan Handler, Inspired by his blacksmith grandfather’s legacy has a deep appreciation for hand-crafted pots and pans, he provides invaluable guides, reviews, and recipes to enhance your culinary journey.