Types of Cookware Materials – Buying Guide

Porcelain cookware can be used to finish off dishes and serve them aesthetically immediately afterwards.

In the 1700s, some Europeans believed that tomatoes were poisonous, due to fatalities associated with eating them. However, it was later discovered that the problem was not with the tomatoes, but rather the cookware used to cook and serve them: pewter. The high acidity of the tomatoes caused lead from the pewter to leach into the food, causing poisoning. Though the cookware of today is generally recognized as safe, the incidence that occurred in the 1700s highlights the importance of cooking foods with the right cookware. The types of materials available for cookware make it hard to choose which to buy and which to forgo. By having a variety of cookware, made from different materials, food businesses can make themselves as comfortable as possible. Materials can be selected based on the purpose they will serve as well as the budget of the venue.

Aluminum

Aluminum is typically one of the cheapest options for cookware. Though it is relatively versatile and lightweight, aluminum can react with acidic foods, leading to a metallic taste and aluminum consumption. Studies have shown that consuming aluminum may be dangerous to health, hinting that cooking with aluminum should be done with caution (acidic ingredients should not be cooked using aluminum cookware). Anodized aluminum is less reactive due to having undergone treatment, making it a better, but more expensive option when compared to regular aluminum cookware.

Cast-Iron

Cast-iron is often a top choice for stovetop cooking, since it distributes heat efficiently and is relatively heavy duty. Egg dishes such as Israeli shakshuka and stews can be started on the stove in a cast-iron pan and finished in the oven. (…Read More…)

Storage Containers Buying Guide

Glass containers are often preferable over plastic, due to health and environmental concerns.There are many types of food storage containers out there and materials from which they are made. The right option for a food business is usually to have a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and materials on hand, to meet the changing demands daily. However, environmental and health concerns associated with plastic materials should be considered as well.

Types of Material

First, let’s take a look at the types of material available: plastic, glass, stainless steel, and aluminum are all available options, but glass and plastic are probably the most common, so we will focus on those. Plastic raises many concerns for environmentalists and the health-conscious alike. Not only are many types of plastic non-biodegradable, some can also release harmful chemicals into foods. Even those containers with “microwave-safe” labels doesn’t mean that it is 100% free of these harmful materials. Plastic can have astonishing effects on the environment. According to a 2012 survey by the Environmental Protection Agency, 32 million tons of plastic waste were generated that year, with only 9% recovered for recycling. Plastic products are usually labeled with a number between one and seven, which symbolizes the resin with which the plastic was made. Among the types used, PET and HDPE, or numbers 1 and 2, are the most commonly recycled. However, surveys show that the recycling rate is relatively low, posing a threat to the environment. “Green” food businesses should recycle plastic waste, but in terms of food storage containers, they may want to consider minimizing the amount of plastic used, especially in take-away meals.  (…Read More…)

Types of Disposable Gloves To Use in Restaurants

Disposable gloves are available in many different materials.

In June, 2014, a California law was repealed which would have required restaurant kitchen employees to use gloves at all times during food preparation. The law was motivated by sanitary concerns, but there are many other reasons to use disposable gloves in food businesses as well. Disposable gloves enable employees to handle foods with high bacterial counts without contaminating the next dish they touch. They can also prevent strong smells, such as garlic, from sticking to employees’ hands and influencing the flavor of other dishes. As a result, they enable employees to handle different foods without washing their hands as often as would be required without gloves, preventing drying out and cracking of the skin. Additionally, gloves provide a layer of protection, preventing employees with allergies to certain foods from having an allergic reaction when handling that food. The reasons for using disposable gloves are almost as vast as the materials in which disposable gloves are available. Many different material options are available, each with a set of pros and cons. Having a few options on hand is usually the most convenient solution for food service venues.

Different materials have different permeability. The protection and comfort a certain material offers will determine the options for use of disposable gloves made with that material. Gloves with low permeability can be used when working with possible contaminants and cleaning products which may be damaging to the skin, since they offer a high level of protection. On the other hand, gloves with higher permeability will be adequate for food preparation, where the main concerns are cleanliness and odors. It is important to note that most disposable and non-disposable gloves should not be used when working with fire or ovens. Melted gloves will stick to skin increasing the severity of burns.

Latex Gloves

Latex gloves are one of the least expensive and most versatile options available in disposable gloves. They are also probably the most popular. Latex is effective in protecting against most chemicals typically used in kitchens, as well as preventing food odors and bacteria from being transferred from surface to surface through contact. (Of course, prevention of odors and cross-contamination will only be efficient if the employee switches pairs of gloves when moving on to work on a different dish or (…Read More…)