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Sunday
, March 3, 2002

Sunday Activity

Making non-stick pans stick around

A new set of non-stick cookware is a boon for any housewife as it means a goodbye to all those grease-stained kadais and pans stuck with food deposits. Moreover, it is best suited for low-fat cooking as dishes cooked in non-stick pans require less oil. But this boon can turn into a bane if its non-stick surface begins to wear off or stubborn stains form on it. To ensure that your non-stick pans retain their pride of place on your kitchen shelves, it is best to devote a weekend to rid them of any stains or grime that has got deposited on them.

To put them to optimum use, it is important to understand the basic characteristic of the non-stick coating, known as teflon.Teflon is a plastic fluorocarbon in resin applied to surfaces (usually metal) under very high heat to form a non-stick coating. It is marketed under several brand names. It is harder and more durable as a coating on utensils and other surfaces.

Condition new pans

Condition new pans by wiping with shortening before the first use. Do not use metal/steel stirring spoons or forks. Do not cut with knives, etc, in pans. Do not use any abrasives, scouring powders, metal pads, etc. Donít overheat.

Wash promptly after use with hot, sudsy water, to avoid staining. Avoid soaking overnight. The teflon finish is not harmed by dishwasher washing, but outside surfaces of some utensils may be damaged, so follow label instructions for each utensil. Remove stubborn spots with a plastic mesh pad.

Staining occurs from charring of food grease residues in the pan. Dark, widespread staining, the result of overheating and incomplete cleaning, may lessen the effectiveness of the non-stick property.

 


Reduce stains

The non-stick surface can be "renewed" and stains reduced or removed with the following home remedy: Mix two tablespoons of baking soda and a half cup of liquid household bleach with one to two cups of water, or enough solution in these proportions to about half fill the pan. Simmer this solution for five minutes in the stained pan. Remove from heat and check the pan surface. If the stain still remains, repeat the treatment.

The solution will foam and if it boils over, it may stain the outside of the pan. This solution is a strong oxidising agent and will cause some change in the colour of teflon, with dark colors becoming lighter. This bleaching effect does not reduce the non-stick performance of the pan. Do not substitute ingredients for the baking soda, household bleach, or water. After the cleaning/stain removing treatment, thoroughly wash, rinse, and dry the pan; then wipe it with cooking oil to "condition" before using it again.

Should a white-spotted film appear it probably results from minerals in the water and can be removed by saturating a soft cloth with lemon juice or vinegar and rubbing over the finish. After wiping, wash the pan, dry, and "condition" as you did when new.

Teflon coatings that wear off cannot be repaired at home. They would have to be re-coated at very high temperatures in factory processes, which is not economical to do on a single pan.

ó Compiled by Chetna Banerjee

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