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Healthier Cooking Equipment

Posted Apr 02 2013 10:49am

When making healthier diet and lifestyle choices, you may find yourself questioning your current cooking equipment. Are you still using an old set of scratched, potentially toxic, non-stick pans? Plastic utensils or storage containers?

If you’re ready to make some upgrades, you’ll find few of my favorite healthier kitchen options below.

1. Enameled Cast Iron

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This definitely falls into the “investment” category, since these pieces aren’t cheap. However, they will last FOREVER. You could probably pass this cookware down to your future grandchildren!

Le Creuset cookware features enameled cast iron, a non-toxic and non-stick option which distributes heat evenly. It’s safe for cooking both on the stove top and in the oven, making it perfect for nearly any recipe you want to tackle! I personally own this 5 1/2 quart dutch oven , and I use it for everything from making soups on the stove, to baking large vegetable dishes and casseroles. It retains heat for a long time, too, which makes for easy serving directly at the table.

2. Traditional Cast Iron Skillet

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This is a much more affordable option, for those of us who can’t stock our kitchens with the pricier enameled cast iron that I mentioned above. Other than the lack of pretty color options, the main difference between enameled and traditional cast iron cookware is the latter’s need for special handling and care.

Traditional cast irons skillets should not be used to cook acidic foods, like tomato sauce, and must be properly seasoned to maintain their non-stick quality. They also can’t be washed in a dishwasher. In fact, just water and a stiff brush should do the trick. Not only do cast iron skillets last forever, you’ll also get an extra dose of iron in everything you cook with it!

I personally use this Lodge 10-inch skillet , because it’s affordable and about as heavy as I can stand to lift on a regular basis. However, I look forward to upgrading to a Le Creuset skillet one day, to avoid the need to re-season and for easier clean-up. (Warning: Seasoning your cast iron pan can make your house smell terrible!)

3. Non-Aluminum Bakeware

Aluminum exposure is pretty impossible to avoid all together, so it’s best to reduce any additional or unnecessary exposure whenever we can. Traditional bakeware can contain aluminum, as it conducts heat very well, but there are plenty of other non-toxic options available.

For example, this Emile Henry Pie Dish has become one of my very favorite pieces to use in the kitchen. Made of stoneware, with an exceptionally scratch-resistant glaze, I feel confident that no chemicals are leaching into my food with each use. It’s also impressively non-stick, without the need for a toxic Teflon coating. I’ve made everything from Crustless Pumpkin Pie to Egg Casseroles in this dish, without any sticking! (And you know how sticky eggs can be.) I plan on adding this rectangle baker to my collection in the near future, which would be perfect for lasagna and family-sized casseroles!

There are also plenty of affordable glass baking dishes available, which are perfect for non-toxic baking. Glass dishware is not as quite as non-stick when compared to the glazed stoneware above, but it does get the job done!

4. Wooden Cooking Utensils

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If you’re upgrading your cookware, it makes sense to upgrade the utensils that will be interacting with that cookware, too. Plastic utensils can melt or flake into your hot pans, potentially adding a toxic addition to your meal.

Instead, try cooking with wooden utensils! They won’t scratch your cookware or leach chemicals into your food, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit your needs. Plus, you can get an entire set for a pretty affordable price, when compared to traditional kitchen utensils.

5. Glass Storage Containers

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After you’ve cooked all of that healthy, non-toxic food, the last thing you want to do is store it in a plastic container! While many companies are now scrambling to produce BPA-free storage containers, we can’t possibly know which substance they might be replacing it with. The safest option is glass, which doesn’t leach any chemicals or flavors into your food. (Since most glass storage does come with rubber or plastic lids, avoid filling them all the way to the top, to avoid contact.)

Try using glass mason jars to store your homemade salad dressings and nut butters, and larger glass storage containers for cooked casseroles and soups!

: What’s your favorite kitchen equipment? Please share your recommendations below!

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