Choosing a range and observing range safety are just the first steps to keeping your restaurant’s kitchen running smoothly. Caring for your cookware is just as important if you want to make your restaurant equipment last longer and continue to perform optimally. Cleaning and caring for your cookware correctly and on a regular basis are the keys to making your pots, pans, woks, and other cookware last.
Here is a rundown of the 3 most common types of cookware materials used on restaurant ranges and how best to take care of them.
Caring for Aluminum Cookware
Aluminum is a lightweight material that works well for conducting a range’s heat quickly and can be made into a nonstick cooking item. However, because it is a lighter weight than steel or cast iron, aluminum needs care to ensure that it lasts longer. Try these tips for washing, drying, and maintaining aluminum cookware:
• Wash aluminum cookware after it has cooled down post-cooking so it won’t warp.
• Wash equipment using soapy water, but don’t let it soak, as the cookware can actually absorb the soap, lending food a nasty taste.
• If you encounter some stubborn food, try using baking soda or a vinegar solution.
• Never use metal utensils when cooking, and don’t use abrasive scrubbing brushes, as these can scratch any nonstick coating.
• To repair and brighten your aluminum equipment, use a white tartar or vinegar solution.
Caring for Stainless Steel Cookware
Although stainless steel is very durable and easy to maintain, to keep your stainless steel cookware for ranges in good shape, you need to avoid letting it rust. Rusted stainless steel happens when the protective outer covering is damaged, which can easily happen when a piece of cookware is getting heavy day-to-day use. Use these tips to keep your stainless steel cookware spick and span.
• Always clean stainless steel with a mild detergent or vinegar solution. Avoid using bleach, as can discolor the cookware.
• Use a wet cloth to wash stainless steel. Never use scrapers or steel pads.
• If a certain cooked-on or dried-on food is particularly stubborn, pour boiling water on the cookware to loosen the food up. You can also use baking soda, a non-abrasive commercial cream cleanser, or glass cleaning solution.
• Dry cookware right away to avoid leftover water specks.
Caring for Cast Iron Cookware
Cast iron cookware can be a bit persnickety when it comes to care, so make sure you do it right. However, if treated well, cast iron cookware will prove itself time and again in the kitchen. Just avoid letting them rust, and be sure to season them before their first use. For everyday maintenance, follow these tips:
• Never put food directly into a piece of cast iron on a range before it is fully-heated. Preheat it instead.
• Wash cast iron using a cloth or sponge and soapy water. Never leave it to soak. If
• Dry cast iron immediately and completely before storing it away. This is one of the best ways to prevent rust on cast iron kitchen equipment.
• Stay away from abrasive cooking or cleaning utensils.
• Serve food cooked in the pan right away, rather than letting it sit on your range or on a table. Acidic foods can cause damage to cast iron, and repeated use as a dish rather than a piece of cooking equipment (as happens in a commercial kitchen) can lead to a breakdown of seasoning and metallic-tasting food.