Nonstick cookware is a staple in kitchens, thanks to its ability to effortlessly cook any foods be it delicate foods like eggs, fish, and pancakes or shallow frying eggplants or even stakes. However, over time, the nonstick surface may wear down and unavoidable scratches or peeling. To extend the lifespan of your nonstick pan and keep it at optimal performance, the seasoning of its non-stick surface is key. In this blog post, we will explore what seasoning is, how to properly season nonstick cookware, how often to do it, and other essential tips for maintaining nonstick pans.
What is Seasoning and Why is it Important?
Seasoning in the context of a non-stick pan is a process that involves applying a layer of oil to the surface of the cookware to create a protective barrier. This helps the cookware remain effective and reduces the amount of oil needed for cooking. While seasoning is often associated with cast iron skillet, it is equally important for nonstick cookware. Seasoning nonstick pans helps maintain their smooth and slippery surface, fills in any small pores or uneven patches, and enhances their nonstick properties.
How to Season Nonstick Pan
Seasoning a nonstick pan is a simple and quick process that can be done in a few easy steps in a heartbeat.
Step 1: Clean the Nonstick Cookware:
If your cookware is brand new, wash it first to remove any leftover factory residue on the non-stick coating. Be sure to make sure that it is completely dry before proceeding to the next step.
Step 2: Apply a Thin Layer of Oil:
Add neutral oil such as vegetable or canola oil into the pan. Coat the nonstick surface of the cookware with a thin layer of oil. Use a towel to evenly distribute the oil, ensuring that it covers the entire nonstick surface, including the rim of the non-stick pan.
Step 3: Heat the Cookware:
Place the cookware over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Alternatively, if the cookware is oven-safe, you can preheat it in the oven at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) and place the pan in the oven for 20 minutes. Heating the nonstick pan helps the oil penetrate the surface and form a protective layer.
Step 4: Cool and Wipe:
After heating the pan, remove the pan from the heat source and allow it to cool completely. Once cooled, wipe away any excess oil with a paper towel, and your nonstick pan is ready to use.
How Often Should You Season a Nonstick pan?
The frequency of seasoning nonstick cookware really depends on various factors, including the level of usage and your nonstick brand’s recommendations. Some brands suggest seasoning monthly, while others recommend doing it every six months. However, a general rule of thumb is to re-season your nonstick cookware when you notice a decrease in its nonstick properties or when food starts to stick to the surface. Note that if you see the nonstick coating start to peel off then it’s time to move on. I don’t mean a small scratch but if the surface of your pan which is coated with a non-stick material is starting to peel off then it’s not safe for cooking in my opinion. If you have never seasoned your nonstick pans before, it is never too late to start. Even after multiple uses, seasoning can still improve their performance.
Tips for Maintaining Non-stick Cookware
In addition to seasoning, there are several other practices you can adopt to ensure the longevity of your nonstick cookware:
1. Use the Right Cooking Oils
Choosing the right oils or fats for cooking is crucial in preserving the nonstick surface. Opt for oils with higher smoke points, such as avocado oil or coconut oil, to prevent burnt-on residue. Avoid using nonstick cooking sprays, as they can damage the nonstick coating over time. Stick to using a small amount of oil or butter to help with browning and to avoid potentially damaging your pans.
2. Avoid Overheating
Excessive heat can cause the nonstick coating to deteriorate over time. To prolong the lifespan of your nonstick pan, cook on low to medium heat instead of high heat. Additionally, avoid heating empty nonstick pans as this can lead to warping and damage the coating. Always ensure there is oil, water, or food in the pan before turning on the heat source.
3. Use the Right Utensils
Using the appropriate utensils is crucial to prevent scratching or damaging the nonstick surface. Opt for wooden spoons or silicone utensils, as they are gentle and non-abrasive. Avoid using metal utensils or anything with sharp edges that can potentially scratch the nonstick coating.
4. Wash with Care
Properly washing your nonstick pan is essential for its maintenance. After each use, allow the pan to cool completely before washing it. Hand wash the cookware in warm soapy water using a soft sponge or washcloth. Avoid using abrasive tools, such as steel wool or scouring pads, as they can scratch the nonstick surface. Once washed, dry the cookware with a towel and store it carefully, avoiding stacking multiple pans without any protective layer in between. It is also important to note that most nonstick cookware is not dishwasher-safe, as the hot temperatures and detergents used in the dishwasher can break down the nonstick surface.
5. Cooking Meat with Bones
In my personal experience, I have noticed that cooking meat with bones may lead to scratches on the non-stick surface over time. This is often due to sharp bone edges sticking out and excessive stirring may scratch the surface. However, this does not mean meat with bones should not be cooked at all. Just be mindful of this possibility.
Seasoning and proper care are essential for maintaining the performance and longevity of nonstick cookware. By following the steps outlined in this blog, I hope you can ensure that your nonstick pans remain smooth, slippery, and nonstick for years to come. Remember to season your cookware regularly, use the right cooking oils and utensils, avoid overheating, and wash with care. With these tips in mind, you can enjoy the benefits of nonstick cookware while creating delicious meals with ease.