Many of us have noticed the copper cookware on display at the high end home goods stores, and been tempted by how beautiful the copper pots appear as they hang gleaming from the carefully placed racks. But a lack of knowledge of proper cooking techniques has kept many from making an investment in a copper pot collection. Fortunately, cooking with copper is very easy, and actually will speed the preparation of certain dishes, while adding a sense of style to the kitchen.
After a set of copper cookware has been purchased, make sure that it is properly cleaned. People often choose to buy antique pieces, as the value of copper pots tends to increase over time. In this case, if there is any tarnish, make sure to remove it with a tarnish paste made of vinegar, flour and salt. Afterwards, wash the pot thoroughly with hot soapy water, and dry carefully with a towel. Allowing the pots to air dry may lead to issues spotting. While dishwashers can be used, the future value of the pots may be lowered because of the harsh chemicals in dish detergents.
Once the copper pots have been cleaned, select foods that will be a good match for copper's excellent heat conduction. Chefs unused to copper will notice that the pots heat up very quickly, which works great for dishes which are easily burned such as crepes or omelettes. Always begin with a low heat setting, and watch foods carefully while using copper, as copper pots are so efficient that dishes can be scorched if left in the cookware even a little longer than the recipe recommends. Refrain from using metal utensils with copper pots, as they may scratch the surfaces and leave marks which will affect both the cooking ability and the beautiful finish.
Care should be taken to avoid highly acidic foods, such as tomato based sauces, if the copper pots are unlined. Acid can react with untreated copper, and the small amounts of the material can be drawn into the food. There are still questions regarding whether a small amount of copper can lead to any health issues, but it is best to avoid any risks. Most copper pots purchased from a retail store are lined with tin or stainless steel, so that acidity is not a concern.
Once the dish is complete, allow the copper pots to cool before cleaning as a large temperature change can warp and damage the surface.