While copper is certainly a stylish and popular addition to any kitchen, it isn’t just aesthetics that makes it sought-after so by many cooking fanatics. Copper has many advantages that make it a great material for cookware.
The Advantages of Copper Bottoms on Saucepans
1. Good conductor of heat
Copper’s unique selling point is that it is a powerful thermal conductor of heat, meaning a copper-bottomed saucepan is a perfect choice for even-temperature cooking, as the heat is evenly distributed across the base of the pan.
2. Responsive to temperature changes
Another key feature of copper saucepans is that they are extremely reactive to temperature changes, which means braising and searing can be achieved without the risk of burning the food (or pan).
3. Resistant to corrosion
They are also extremely resistant to corrosion and wear and tear, meaning a copper bottom pan will serve you well for many years.
4. Easy to clean
Aside from being a good choice for temperature-precise cooking, copper pans are also easy to keep clean.
Another selling point is that they are fairly lightweight (particularly in comparison to cast iron cookware), meaning they can be used and filled to the brim with foods and/or liquids, and not be too heavy on the wrists.
One of the reasons why copper is popular in cooking goes back to the discovery made by our ancient Egyptian friends: its antibacterial properties. Germs and bacteria cannot survive (let alone thrive) on copper, meaning it is one of the most hygiene-friendly materials.
7. Suitable for all hob types
As we mentioned earlier, copper pans are great heat magnets – even on Induction – meaning they are suitable for all types of ovens and hobs.
The Cons of Copper
Copper is high on the list among the most expensive types of cookware, and can be similar to cast iron in terms of upkeep.
While it can be washed with soap and warm water, it isn’t usually dishwasher-friendly. It also needs to be polished on a semi-regular basis in order to prevent corrosion.
Is Copper Toxic?
Those who paid attention during school science lessons will be aware that copper is actually toxic to humans, so it is important to invest wisely in copper or copper-bottomed products.
A well-crafted and safe copper pan will have a protective lining (such as stainless steel) shielding your food from direct contact with the copper.
The History of Copper in Cooking
Copper is one of the oldest cookware components to date. It has been suggested that the Predynastic Egyptians were keen users of copper because of the antibacterial/hygiene properties associated with this type of metal.
This would suggest that copper has been used to cook with since 3000 B.C. However, other research suggests copper dates as far back as 9000 B.C, due to archaeological discoveries made in Iraq.
Copper can often be a stylish and chic addition to any kitchen, but it goes far beyond just aesthetics.
Copper is often used in cooking (particularly in the bottom part of pans) because it is one of the best conductors of heat. So much so, it is also used within electrical wiring as well!
Copper has antibacterial properties, making it one of the most hygienic ways to cook food – because it’s impossible for bacteria to thrive on it.
With that, copper can be toxic to humans, so it is important your copperware is purchased from a reputable seller, and that it is properly maintained to prevent corrosion.
It can be expensive to buy, but if you are serious about cooking and cooking well, a copper bottom pan will be a perfect addition to your kitchen.
Clara is a freelance writer and former chef. Though she may have hung up her apron, her love of food and cooking is still going strong! When she’s not whipping up a verbal storm, she’ll be in her kitchen sipping wine and whipping up a culinary storm.