Patacones, yucca fritas, tamales or chicken sauteed to a golden crisp. With the holidays fast approaching, you’ll be cooking up a storm for family and friends!
And with all that golden delicious food there’s...the cleanup. The hardest part is cleaning the pans...with burnt oils and food. Which is why non-stick cookware is so great to cook (and clean) with.
It’s the evenness of cooking and the ease of cleanup that makes ceramic non-stick glaze, Teflon, and seasoned cast iron do the trick!
I want to give you a quick look at the characteristics of each and why I have chosen to make Trasto’s casseroles with non-stick glaze over the other two.
Have you ever wondered what makes non-stick, not stick?!
The trick lies deep down at a molecular level! (I’m going to get a little sciency)
Have you seen the show Cosmos? Neil jokes about a young couple not really touching when they kiss!? Because the electrons that surround the atoms, being all negative, repel each other! Just like a magnet.
SAME HERE! (with non-stick that is)
Some materials “are stronger magnets” than others and therefore are better at repelling.
(For some science fun, look up electronegativity or electron affinity if you want to learn more.)
Glaze, Teflon and seasoned cast iron are all great at repelling.
Teflon’s problem comes with temperature!
Teflon becomes unstable after 250 C (500F) and will release toxic fumes and degrade the material. An empty pan can reach this temperature fast in high heat. https://youtu.be/uXaP43Zbz7U.
For Glaze and Cast Iron you don’t have to worry.
Temperatures that will make glaze (a type of glass) or cast iron unstable is not something you can do you in your kitchen.
We fire our glazes above 1,000 C (1830 F.) and cast iron melts at around 1,200 °C (2,192 °F).
Your cast iron pan won’t melt but, your seasoning (being cooking oil) will burn at around 250 C (500F) and could even burn off completely at these temperatures, leaving your cast Iron clean!
In fact, this is exactly how self-cleaning ovens work. The oven is heated at about 471° C (880° F) leaving behind ash.
You still need to be careful with oil fumes, they are toxic, but at least you can always recover your seasoning ( steps to seasoning cast iron Link)
With the glaze, you don’t have to worry about your coating melting or having to season them again. Glaze wins here!
Now let’s look at End-of-life (for your cooking products)
What happens when your cookware is no longer usable?
How do you get rid of your pans? How many Teflon pans have you thrown away!?
There are more companies today talking about what to do at the end of your cooking product’s usefulness. I think it is something so crucial to our planet’s health that we should all be paying a lot of attention to.
What happens to our products when we don’t want them or need them anymore?
Teflon is a man-made ploymer called polytetrafluoroethylene. Although it is awesome, it was used in the spacesuits of the Apollo mission to protect the astronauts (https://www.nasa.gov/offices/ipp/home/myth_tang.html) Teflon is not very environmentally friendly in terms of end-of-life in pots and pans.
Material separation and stripping from the aluminum base is expensive. For example, sandblasting 4 pans can cost around $100.
A few companies will accept Teflon pans for recycling, but even in the states “There does not seem to be a great, nation-wide non-stick pan recycling program.” JOSH PETERSON, PLANET GREEN
Even if you sandblast them or send them to a landfill, what if all those tiny particles get into our groundwater or ocean?
The ocean starts at the edge of your drain.
BTW be careful when you wash your Teflon pans so that little particles don’t go into the drain. Teflon is a thermoplastic that, if not handled properly, will add to the micro-plastic contamination of our planet.
Our natural materials are ready to be recycled and reused
Cast Iron: metals are one of my favorite group materials.
Like glass (link to glass blog post?) which I also love, metals can be melted over and over again to create new products without loosing the properties of the material.
The reason why we haven’t incorporated cast iron to Trasto is the manufacturing process.
Because of the high temperatures required, it is not something that can be done in a small workshop. And to make things profitable you have to produce a large quantity.
And there’s our terracotta oven plates!
Nonetheless we are working with unglazed plates that can be seasoned just like cast iron and work great for stovetop and oven.
100% natural Terracota clay without glaze, polished with stone, made with lead-free clay (that means they’re safe and free of toxins,) warms up evenly and retains heat and is safe for the oven, stove and bbq.
And in terms of global warming, these are more environmentally friendly than glazed or cast iron because they require less energy to make.
Glazed Casseroles: If your casserole breaks for some reason (they are very resistant) we are able to recycle 30% of this material.
In fact, one of the ingredients for our clay recipe is recycled fired ceramic because it helps make our casseroles refractory.
Our casseroles are very resistant and the idea is that they can last generations in your family!
For this, we have a special service.
Once in a while we can take your casseroles and fire them in a special ceramic oven and help you get rid of all the little spots that drive our OCD crazy, and return them back to you, brand new.
Also, if you want to change casseroles we will also take your old casseroles.
We want to put together a used Trasto to help reduce the amount of Trastos manufactured and help reduce global warming.
Enjoy your healthy and beautiful holidays!