Sussanna Ngodoo Jacob
Cooking is an essential part of our lives; unfortunately, most of the affordable cookware we use are made from reactive metals such as: Aluminium, Copper, Cast iron and Stainless steel. These metals would readily react to any element it comes in contact with especially when water is involved in the cooking process.
Amongst these metals some are more reactive than others, the most reactive being aluminium. Nevertheless, the bottom line is consistent they all react and leach in to foods cooked in them. Sadly, nothing can be done to eliminate this leaching factor because that is the nature of these metals. Having said, we can at least try to minimize the levels of the leaching by maintaining and using the cookware properly.
A few Tips to limit leaching of reactive metals into the foods cooked in them:
- Discard worn-out cookware: worn-out cookwares are cooking tools such as pots, pans, woks, kettles, etc. that have been used for a long period of time. Remember, the older the cookware the more the leaching takes place. This is why you have to discard old cookware and replace with new cookware, which is the only sure way to keep your cookware fairly new and free from massively leaching into the foods you cook in it, especially if it’s made from aluminium!
- Avoid scraping the inner of your pot: scraping the inner of your pot causes the metal to open up, which encourages more leaching into the food. Rather use subtle ways to get rid of burnt foods or soot. For example, you can use 2tablespoos of baking soda, water, and dishwashing liquid mixture. Pour the mixture into the pot, place pot on heat and allow to simmer for a couple of minutes (5miutes), take off boil and allow to cool off completely and then wash the pot with a normal sponge, not a metal or coarse sponge. If the soot does not come off repeat the process because it usually does work..
- Avoid using a metal spoon while frying stew: using a metal spoon generates a friction, which further opens the pot up to influence leaching in to the foods. This friction is essentially as same as scraping the inner of your pot. For better results use a wooden spoon instead. A wooden spoon is a much better option because the friction between wood and metal is less coercive than metal to metal. Invest In wooden spoons made from culinary safe wood such as acacia, bamboo among others
- Avoid leaving food in the pot for long period of time: Leaving food in the pot is also encouraging the metal to leach in to the food. Whenever you are done with cooking and serving, ensure the food cools off, and then package and keep refrigerated. If you don’t have a refrigerator, endeavour to cook only what you can consume at a go.
- Incorporate more raw foods recipes in your diet routine: The more the raw foods recipes the less the foods come in contact with these reactive metals. However, it is worthy of note that the cutlery made from these metals would leach in to our raw recipes as well. Safer knifes are knives made from titanium metals and healthy ceramics.