This past April I did some spring cleaning and my mom, who was visiting, was shocked when she saw me throwing out a very expensive set of non-sticks. They were practically brand new but had been accumulating dust for a long time. It wasn't easy to convince my mom that I would really not miss the non-sticks, but we both waived bye bye to them. Good riddance!
I confess that I did keep a non-stick frying pan, for eggs, but have been looking for healthier alternatives. I think I'm finally ready to make the final step in eliminating teflon from my kitchen entirely...FOREVER!
Got some very good tips from an article posted by By Melissa Breyer, Producer, of Care2 Green Living
Melissa actually writes that fumes from overheated non-stick cookware can kill birds (as in pet birds you keep in your home). Just image how potent those fumes are!! She also writes about the health risks present in non-stick pots and pans and my favorite part is that she gives healthier cookware alternatives and easy tips on how to use them, like proper searing methods to prevent food from sticking.
image from care2.com
ALTERNATIVES TO NON-STICK COOKWARE AND HOW TO USE THEM:
Cast Iron Pans
This may seem counter-intuitive, but those charming heavy cast iron pans are beautifully non-stick when properly seasoned (cookware-speak for lightly oiled and baked). They hold heat wonderfully and are a joy to cook with. They require some extra maintenance but they are inexpensive and add a little iron to your diet as well.
Enameled Cast Iron
Think of those dreamy many-hued sets of Le Crueset—more expensive than cast iron, but also more non-stick than plain cast iron and don’t require seasoning. If you need an excuse to splurge, I’d say you have it. Iron Chef superstar Mario Batali has also come out with a line of enamel cast iron cookware that is lovely on the eye, and about half the cost of the classic Le Crueset.
Professional style, shiny stainless steel pots and pans entered the domestic kitchen lexicon, and that’s a fine thing. A decent quality stainless pan usually has an aluminum or copper core to help in heat distribution, a step up from a pure stainless pan that doesn’t heat up evenly. These can be pretty pricey, but require very little maintenance and have one of the slickest surfaces in the non-Teflon category.
Bring out the old wok—or get a new one if yours ended up at your last garage sale. Cheap and easy, a cooking tradition as old as stir-frying in a wok is worth its weight in gold. Make sure it is a carbon steel or cast iron version—some western woks are coated with Teflon.
Stick-Free Cooking Tips
1. Non-Teflon pans require a small bit of oil—but the few extra calories are better than, say, hormone disruption or hyperthyroidism.
2. The stick-free trick for non-Teflon pans is temperature. The pan needs to be hot! If food is added to a too-cool pan it doesn’t instantly sear—searing results in the release of water, which prevents sticking.
3. Use common sense when considering searing: don’t crowd the pan, heat the pan in proportion to how much food you are cooking, and remove the food from the fridge for a bit before cooking to take the chill off.
4. Also remember this tip from many a chef: when searing food, don’t flip it too soon. The food needs to attain a brown and slightly crisp surface before flipping or it will, yes, stick.
You can read Melissa's entire article here
She also talks about GreenPans, which are promoted as PFOA-free, PTFE-free, and environmentally friendly for having a new non-stick material called Thermolon, ceramic-based nano non-stick technology. It has earned a Good Housekeeping Seal and it's rather affordable. It's important to mention that nanotechnology safety is open to some debate. This is why I'm not quite convinced with the GreenPan just yet. For now I'll stick to my All Clad's and will soon get my first cast iron pan. Woohoo! Can't wait :-)