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  1. #1
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    Default help using stainless steel pots/pans

    I boxed away all my nonstick pans and pots after reading about Teflon, but boy, my new stainless steel/aluminum pans are very difficult to use. (I also have an original 1950s stove-top which might be contributing to the problem.) Things burn very easily, and my pans have a black residue on them, they've turned black in spots, which won't come out. A friend of mine said she uses Pam to cook with, as opposed to olive oil--but I have a Pam-like spray and it says one of the ingredients is "propellant" which can't be good for you. The whole idea was to move away from Teflon in the interest of health! Is Pam different? Any all-natural options? Why would Pam be better to use than olive oil? Any advice on cleaning the pans? This same friend (who is away now) mentioned she cleaned them with lemon juice--any one try this? Your advice is appreciated b/c this is very frustrating! TIA!

  2. #2
    m448 Guest

    Default RE: help using stainless steel pots/pans

    I just cook with olive oil. The trick to getting a good almost non-stick surface is to heat the pan first then add the oil right before you toss in the food. Now you'll never replicate a teflon-like surface but that's a good thing - the stuff that gets stuck gets caramelized and makes for great deglazing either in your simmered foods or your sauces.

    Now for cleaning I usually pull out the food and just dump a bit of water to sit in the pan while we eat dinner. If it's somethin that got stuck and didn't soak out I use Bar Keepers Friend or Bon Ami (gentle scrubbing powders) and I don't have to scrub at all.

  3. #3
    DebbieJ is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Default RE: help using stainless steel pots/pans

    I have all SS pots and pans and use Barkeepers Friend to clean them. It is a powder that comes in a gold can with blue writing. I got it at WalMart.

    I think using oil is easier, cleaner, and healthier than using a spray. The spray stuff gets all over and makes your pans sticky. I also use the Kitchen Spritzer from The Pampered Chef. It's just air and whatever oil you put in it.

    Also, depending on the composition of your cookware, you should be using medium to low heat only. I have All Clad, which has an entire layer of alumninum between two layers of SS, so the heat conductivity is amazing. I am constantly turning the burners DOWN.

    ~ deb
    DS born at home 12/03
    2 year check up: 25 lbs with clothes on and 35 inches!
    BFARed for 20 months and 6 days
    (Breastfeeding After Reduction is possible! www.bfar.org)

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  4. #4
    cdlamis is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Default RE: help using stainless steel pots/pans

    THANK YOU for asking about this! I could have written the same post. I put away my Teflon but hate all my new SS which now have blackened, burnt bottoms. I almost wanted to bring out my Teflon again.

    I will use the great tips listed here. Thanks to all the PP's.

    Daniella
    Mom to Julia 6-13-02
    and Isabella 12-18-04

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Default RE: help using stainless steel pots/pans

    I was given a large set of Lifetime cookware as a college graduation gift. We recently ditched all our teflon pans and only use the Lifetime SS or cast iron.

    Barkeepers friend or Bon Ami with just a few drops of water to make a paste gets everything off. Once you get them clean again, they'll be easy to keep nice by using it. If something really sticks terribly I'll put some water in the bottom of the pan and heat the water a few minute and then scrap with a wooden spoon -- things come off easily that way too.

    Lastly, PPs are right on re: using low to medium heat for most everything. I never cook anything on high unless I'm just boiling a pot of water.

    Nicole's Mom 7/03
    Joshua ^|^ 5/05

  6. #6
    DebbieJ is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Default RE: help using stainless steel pots/pans

    >I just cook with olive oil. The trick to getting a good
    >almost non-stick surface is to heat the pan first then add the
    >oil right before you toss in the food.

    Great tip! I do this all the time and it never fails me. Tonight it was with onion, garlic, and green pepper. It sauteed nicely without burning or sticking (don't know how to put that little mark above the e, sorry!)

    ~ deb
    DS born at home 12/03
    2 year check up: 25 lbs with clothes on and 35 inches!
    BFARed for 20 months and 6 days
    (Breastfeeding After Reduction is possible! www.bfar.org)

    http://www.bfar.org/members/fora/sty...onths-bfar.jpg

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    California, USA.
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    Default RE: help using stainless steel pots/pans

    I try to use my all-clad SS or my calphalon commercial hard-anodized for everything. I know the Calphalon specifically says NOT to use Pam; it can leave a film on the pan and cause worse sticking.

    I've found the key is to make sure the pan is spotless after each cleaning. I started out using Barkeeper's friend, but prefer a Calphalon cleaner I picked up at BB&B. It gets out everything from both types of pans.

    As other posters have said: heat the pan, then add the oil and cook on a lower heat setting.

  8. #8
    AmyZ is offline Gold level (500+ posts)
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    Default RE: help using stainless steel pots/pans

    Barkeepers is also my favorite! I found that once I started using my All-Clad as opposed to a cheaper brand, I was a much better cook!! I burned food much less. Also, if your flame is too hot, you can buy "diffusers" at places like Williams-Sonoma - basically a heavy black disk that you put over your burner to decrease the amount of heat hitting the pot.

    Amy Z

    "Ma!" to Eliana May 2/5/04

  9. #9
    Saccade Guest

    Default RE: help using stainless steel pots/pans

    >I just cook with olive oil. The trick to getting a good
    >almost non-stick surface is to heat the pan first then add the
    >oil right before you toss in the food. Now you'll never
    >replicate a teflon-like surface but that's a good thing - the
    >stuff that gets stuck gets caramelized and makes for great
    >deglazing either in your simmered foods or your sauces.
    >
    >Now for cleaning I usually pull out the food and just dump a
    >bit of water to sit in the pan while we eat dinner.

    Well put!! I also agree with both these tips... Remember Martin Yan on his old
    PBS show: "Hot pan, cold oil, food won't stick"?. Nice thick SS (with aluminum core or not) deglazes really well. Then I also run water into it while it's still hot, and the residue cooks itself right off (also probably best to do this with thicker pans only, else you might get warping from the cold water on hot metal).

    nak -- edited for typo

    ETA: This doesn't answer your question, but for folks seeking a nearly nonstick surface without Teflon, there's always good old fashioned seasoned cast iron...

    DS #1, 7/13/05
    http://tickers.baby-gaga.com/t/eleeleabk20050713_-8_My+child+is.png[/img][/url]

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  10. #10
    kellyotn is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Default RE: help using stainless steel pots/pans

    I don't have much to add, except to agree with getting them CLEAN before using them again and try turning down the heat. I have mostly Calphalon (all aluminum, not the non-stick) pans, I use Comet to get 'em clean if they need to be scoured. Hasn't hurt the finish a bit. DON'T put them in water when they are still hot. I always did that and realized when we got a smooth surface cooktop that our skillets were warped on the bottom. These were old-style Calphalon from when they were only available at "finer" stores, not the Target ones. (Not that I have any idea if the Target ones are of lesser quality, but I'm assuming they may be a bit thinner.)

    My DH often insists on using PAM for certain things, and it definitely does leave a sticky film, often you can still see the actual spray pattern in the "stick" it leaves behind. It has to be removed with Coment and fine steel wool. It builds up quickly, so I make sure its removed each and every time he uses PAM.

    I really don't have too much trouble with the aluminum. Its really pretty easy to clean once you get the heat and oil thing dialed in.

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