We should discuss copper cookware and safety, because that has been brought up so many times over the years, as a cookware maker, that I feel like the internet can’t be populated enough with facts (since there is SO much mis-information out there). So, take it from me, someone who makes the stuff, that these are the basics about copper cookware and safety, quick and handy.
Copper cookware has been around for hundreds of years (and crazy enough, a lot of it is still around and can be used on our stoves yet today!), and copper in plumbing and other vessels even longer. And it’s true that copper has proven to be anti-viral and anti-bacterial (see studies, try not to get cross-eyed with the science 🙂 ). This particular property of copper is also best shown in food situations when used with a food or liquid with a neutral pH, like water. There are those who believe leaving water in a pure, unlined, copper cup overnight purifies the water and they drink it in the morning for the extra health benefit they believe it purports.
And there’s no reason not to consider that it’s definitely a solid possibility!
There was some talk a while back about drinking alcohol in unlined copper Moscow mules mugs could cause copper poisoning, but the truth of it is, you’d need to drink a lot of Moscow mules out of unlined copper mugs a few times a day for a few decades before you saw any copper poisoning issues (and don’t take my word for it: read here for details from a chemist).
But we’re going to focus now on cooking in copper, and what it means to cook in it, and to be safe while doing it.
Cooking is where the chemical reaction to your food happens, and where the food molecules shift and change. It’s worth having a pure, organic, non-reactive place to have that chemical reaction, don’t ya think?
Tin is inert, meaning it’s non-reactive. Nickle and stainless steel are also rather non-reactive in comparison to copper, which is reactive. That’s why you can get copper leaching into your food when you heat it up and create a chemical reaction not only with your food but with your cookware AND your food. Hence…you want copper cookware because it’s fast, energy efficient, precise, and pure…but you want it lined to keep the chemical reaction in the pan happening between your food and nothing else.
Make sense? Easy, right?