In the last few years there has been a resurgence in the number of people looking for, and ultimately purchasing copper pans. Although copper is one of the oldest known materials in the manufacture of cookware it had, until more recently, fallen out of favor.
At the start of the 20th Century, aluminium and steel pans were beginning to take over as the favored material for many households, and since around the 1960s, pans with non-stick coatings have become the accepted norm.
Yet more recently, with a greater public awareness and concern about plastics, and potentially toxic materials, as well as a revival in ‘retro’ kitchenware, many people have chosen to turn back to more traditional materials – copper being among them.
There are a number of advantages to copper cookware, and this explains its growth in popularity in recent years. Here are some of the pros to owning and using copper pans.
There can be no denying that copper pans have a unique visual appeal that you just do not get with modern steel or aluminium pans. In fact, I doubt that any other material has the same striking appearance as a copper pan, and this is certainly a large part of its appeal.
Though delightfully shiny when new, the nature of copper is such that it will alter in appearance over time. Whilst some people might strive to keep their pans looking as shiny and unblemished as the day they were bought, I would argue that the gradual change in color gives a wonderful patina that only adds to the appeal of these pans.
Either way, there can be no disputing that copper pans have an incredibly attractive visual aesthetic. If you own any copper pans, then regardless of your kitchen décor or what other pans you own, I can guarantee that you will want them to be on display, and will never tire of friends and family commenting on how stunning they look.
Looks aren’t everything of course. Thankfully, pans made from copper don’t just look great, but they handle beautifully as well. There is nothing worse than a pan that is so light that it slips or spills at the slightest knock. You will be happy to know, that is not something you will have to worry about with copper pans!
Copper cookware is weighty and sturdy enough to remain safely on your stove and, unlike similar sized aluminium pans, will stand up to being bumped or knocked. And yet, it is not so heavy as to be awkward to handle. Instead, when you pick it up you will know that you are handling something of quality, and not some cheap knock-off!
Who doesn’t think that a decent, weighty pan feels a lot better to handle one which is light as a feather?
- Heat Conductivity
OK, so copper looks and handles great, but we are talking about cookware, so how does it perform? One of the key advantages, and a primary reason for its renewed popularity, is the level of heat conductivity that you get from copper. Next to silver, copper is the best heat conductor which makes it the perfect material for cookware.
This in itself gives a number of advantages over other materials. First of all, it means that there are fewer hot or cold spots when cooking, because the pan heats evenly all over, ensuring that food is cooked thoroughly throughout. That heat can also be precisely maintained, as the pans will retain heat a lot better than alternative materials would. Finally, you can also cook more quickly, as food is exposed to a greater, more even heat.
When fine cuisine these days requires a very high attention to detail, a few minutes of over or under-cooking can make or break a meal. As a result, the high level of control that you get from such a conductive material is a key reason why so many professional chefs are turning to copper.
With the current popularity of cooking shows, more and more people are turning their hands to trying more elegant cooking at home, and want to emulate the professional choice in pans, as well as in ingredients.
- Environmental Impact
I doubt this is how many people make a choice about their cooking materials. However, as a society we are becoming more aware of the environmental impact of our actions and purchases. As I have mentioned above, copper pans are great conductors, which means that they require less direct heat to be applied to them in order to reach the right temperature. They also retain much more heat once they have reached that temperature.
This in turn means that less energy is required to help get them up to the right heat. If you’re concerned about the environment, then this means you are helping out each time you cook! If you’re less bothered about the environmental impact, then think of it like this – you’ll be saving money on your energy bills for each meal you make!
So there you have it! Four great advantages to using copper pans, from their appearance to their superior cooking. I hope that this explains why so many people are returning to copper cookware and perhaps has persuaded you that it is time to give up your aluminium pans and find some beautiful, conductive, and environmentally friendly copper ones! If you do, then you might want to take a look at some of my buying guides, or read some more of my articles.