What NOT to Cook in Copper

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Sara, here

Guess what?!? You can cook ANYTHING in tin lined copper!!!! Did you know that?! That’s right, folks – eggs, tomatoes, steak, wine, chocolate…it’s all allowed!!!!

But…there’s certain WAYS you shouldn’t cook in a tin-lined copper pot or copper pan. There are also things that don’t turn out so good, either, and are best made in other cookware. Let’s explore.

The trick with cooking in tin-lined copper is not to get it too hot or heat it empty.

Anything with super high heat is a no-no. Want to sear or blacken a steak like you would in cast iron or fry up some vegetables like you would in a wok? Use a cast iron skillet or a wok to do that job. The high heat can kill your tin fast – either you’ll start to soften, melt, or pop it (like with the steak…or popcorn!) or you’ll blacken it (like with stir fry). Now, you can cook meat, of course! Tin lined copper is great for browning! And yes, you can cook vegetables in tin-lined copper – just not fry them up.

The beauty of copper is you don’t need high heat to get it to work, but most of us aren’t used to such efficient cooking tools.

The other rule is don’t leave food to sit in it. Though it’s inert and a pretty non-reactive metal, tin can discolor or get eaten by highly acidic or spicy foods if it sits in there. Copper cookware isn’t meant to be a storage vessel. You use glass, plastic, or pottery for that.

Want to bake? Sure, you can bake in tin-lined copper. Keep that oven at 400F or less, and you’re set to go. But frankly, I find baking is much better for results in cast iron or stoneware. The materials of those two hold the heat just right and cradle the food better.

So go ahead, cook anything in tin-lined copper! My kids make Kraft mac and cheese in my little 2-quart pot. We make caramels. We cook fish in wine, tomato sauce, and everything turns out so well without much fuss on the tin at all.

So there you go – it’s all possible! No more need to feel afraid or wonder. Go ahead and cook pretty much anything!

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