- The bright polish of copper can be retained by polishing it with a metal cleaner. Powder cleaners should be avoided as they scratch the surface, which will dull the polish. An old fashioned way of keeping copper is to rub the pan over inside and out, with half a lemon dipped in salt, then, after a few minutes, rinse it in warm water before drying it with a soft cloth. This will give the pan a lovely warm soft glow, but it will not be as bright as the sheen obtained with a polish.
- A tin lining will, after use, start to discolour but this is perfectly normal and not harmful.
- In time the tin will wear off, but the pan can easily be relined. Do not use the pan if the copper is showing through the lining.
- A stainless steel lining is virtually indestructable and a silver lining is very long lasting.
- Never heat an empty copper pan or use a high heat: the melting point of tin and silver is low so if your pan is lined with either of these metals be extra careful as the lining could start to bubble and run.
- Copper, because it heats so speedily, should be used over a lower temperature than other metals. Start by setting the heat at the temperature you will need to continue cooking. Do not pre-heat an empty pan.
- Be careful with the handles of copper pans, they are usually made of bronze or case iron and they can heat up.
- Always make sure that iron handles are dried properly and if they show any sign of rust rub them with a little oil.
- With tin and silver lined pans always use wooden implements: with stainless steel lined pans you can also use metal implements.
- Wash a copper pan, while still fairly hot, in warm water using detergent and a soft pad or brush, but do not use scouring powders or steel wool.
- If food is burnt on, soak the pan for half an hour and then wash with detergent.
- Not suitable for dishwashing machines. Copper may discolour and cast iron handles may get rust marks.
- Do not leave a tin or silver lined copper pan to soak overnight.
- An unlined copper pan that is left unused may form verdigris or green spots on the metal. This must be removed as copper salts can be toxic. To do this rinse the pan in a strong solution of water and vinegar or rub it over with half a lemon dipped in salt.
Heavyweight (minimum 2mm thick) copper pans are suitable for use on all types of hob excluding induction
Copper Egg Bowls:
Egg whites beaten in a round, unlined (copper has no toxic or harmful effect on egg whites) copper egg bowl will come up higher and firmer that those beaten in any other container. The metal has the effect of making egg whites cling to the sides of the bowl, thus allowing more air to be beaten into them and increasing the finished volume.
Before use, a copper egg bowl must be perfectly clean and grease free. Rub the inside over with half a lemon dipped in salt, wash the bowl in hot water and dry with a clean cloth.
Copper Preserving Pans & Sugar Boilers:
These are left unlined because sugar stops any reaction with the copper and the high temperatures needed to caramalise sugar or set preserves are too hot for a tin lined pan. Clean the inside with lemon and salt before use.
Copper Zabaglione Pans:
The use of a lot of sugar again stops any problems of toxicity with the copper. The absolute control the cook has over the heat of the pan makes for perfect timing when whisking zabaglione (Italian custard), or sweet egg-based custards, whilst the rounded bottom makes it easy to whisk the entire contents while the mixture is cooking.
Always remember that acid foods can cause toxic reactions with copper and do not use unlined sugar or zabaglione pans for anything else unless the pan is thoroughly cleaned first.
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