Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Guide to toxic-free cooking

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Pots, pans and utensils that we should retire can be hidden in our kitchen furniture. Making a balanced purchase and filling our pantry with quality vegetables, grains and proteins is very good, but it is of little use if we then cook or heat it in plastic containers or in an old aluminum pot.

Choosing well what we cook with is just as important as filling the little monkey thoroughly.

To prepare this guide with the most suitable materials for cooking safely and without harmful substances, we relied on the advice of Prabhu Sukh, one of the most active and interesting chefs in today’s vegan cuisine. “The kitchen utensil is the intermediary between fire and heat, and the conductor of heat if it is not of quality when heated can release substances that are toxic to our body ,” says this cook and gastronomic adviser.

I am a big fan of cast iron , of one-piece utensils. Clay pots are a ten because they allow slow and progressive cooking, on the other hand, I don’t like ceramic pieces at all because they make the product release a lot of water and do not allow the Maillard reaction, which makes things crunchy” , says Prabhu Sukh, who will soon see his first book Vegan Gourmet published. The kitchen aware of the five elements (Cooked by Urano).

The materials, to examination

Cast, cast or mineral iron

Traditional and innocuous option for our body. The cast iron pieces are made with sand molds, the pieces are robust, durable and some are enameled which prevents oxidation. They are pieces that spread heat well, withstand high temperatures and save energy , because cooking can be finished taking advantage of the heat they retain. In the first uses they must be oiled to prevent the most delicate foods from sticking, and after washing them they must be dried well to prevent them from rusting.

Iron and ceramic enamels

They are great for cooking and baking as well as being decorative and come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. They are also the easiest option to clean. They have a non-stick cooking surface, heat evenly and lock in flavors . They can be placed in the dishwasher, in the oven, in the microwave (although I don’t use a microwave) and on the stove itself.Glass is used for storing food and baking.Glass is used for storing food and baking.

Glass

They are very cheap options and there are all sizes for all uses. Mainly for storage or meals for the oven. So it is a good alternative to replace plastic containers and even for cooking and freezing. One of its greatest advantages is its double use: storing food and baking , which saves us space in the cabinets. In addition, the glass does not alter the flavor of the food, it helps in the conservation of some dishes and they are suitable for the dishwasher.

Stainless steel

It is an iron alloy with a minimum amount of carbon and small proportions of other metals (chromium, nickel…). Metal residue migration can occur in small quantities, and it is more easily released into food if the steel is of poor quality. The most used is 18/10 steel (18 parts of nickel and 10 parts of chrome). Japanese steel, widely used in knives, is a quality light alloy, free of chrome and nickel. 

Silicone

It is a fairly stable synthetic polymer. Withstands temperatures of up to -60ºC, so it allows the food to be frozen in the same container. It also supports the high temperatures of the oven. It is resistant, non-stick and cleans easily . There are a wide variety of formats for baking, but it should not be used at temperatures above 260 °C.Ideally: find out before buying.Ideally: find out before buying.

Ceramic coatings

Aluminum pots and pans are covered with ceramic materials, which are healthier as long as they are of quality and certified brands that do not contain heavy metals (PTFE, PFOA). The problem is that in the market we find ceramic coverings of very poor quality.

Titanium

It does not release toxic substances to food and spreads heat very well. “Titanium is used in the manufacture of prostheses, dental implants and parts for aeronautics due to its resistance to extreme situations. It is applied at a temperature of 20,000 degrees, thus making the nonstick durable and very difficult for it to come off”. The price of these pieces is somewhat higher, although it is amortized later due to its longer duration.

Materials to avoid

The aluminum

In many countries the use of this metal has been prohibited because it is a health hazard, since it is a metal that accumulates in the body and it has no way of eliminating it, causing disorders. 

Beware of teflon

This material is often used to coat pans and pots due to its non-stick properties, but it contains perfluorooctane acid , a component that is toxic to the body, and which is released as a gas at high temperatures. Get rid of any old Teflon utensils or those whose label does not clearly specify “free of PFOA and PFOS”. 

Beware of copper

If you want to buy a utensil with this metal, it would be important that you look for one that comes with a stainless steel enamel and never cook anything acidic in copper. Before it was widely used because it is a good conductor of heat, but it usually contains tin or nickel and the pieces can release metallic residues that cause acute poisoning.Plastic must be BPA free.Plastic must be BPA free.

Beware of plastic

There is more and more information on the subject, and plastic utensils usually carry a label indicating whether they are free of BPA (petroleum derivatives). It is advisable to avoid plastic utensils that contain BPA because if we heat them, the petroleum derivatives pass into the food. Glass containers are a good alternative.

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