Teflon Cookware – The Good, the Bad, and the Just Plain Wrong

teflon-select-fry-panTeflon, the non-stick material developed by DuPont, has been the gold standard of carefree cooking since it was introduced in the 1960’s. But is this material really all that it’s cracked up to be? Learn more about the advantages, disadvantages, and misconceptions surrounding this popular material

What Is Teflon?

Teflon is a trademarked combination of fluoropolymers produced only by the DuPont company. Coating pans with Teflon created a non-stick surface. DuPont has licensed the use of Teflon to several cookware manufacturers for use in their products, meaning that you’ll find it used with brands like Calphalon, Farberware, and more.

What’s Bad About Teflon?

Non-Stick is Prone to Scratching.
One of the major disadvantages of using Teflon cookware is that it must be treated very carefully or the non-stick coating can be marred or destroyed. Teflon pans should never be used with metal utensils. If you tend to cut meat or vegetables directly in the pan, steer away from using Teflon!

Overheating Poses Risk to Animals.
Another disadvantage of Teflon is that some of its fluropolymers can emit mildly toxic gases if overheated. While this rarely has any effect on humans, birds and some other types of small animals can become sick from the fumes. You should not allow Teflon pans to reach temperatures above 300°F, and you should keep pets out of the kitchen while cooking.

Good Qualities of Teflon

More Durable than Other Non-Stick Brands.

One of the reasons why Teflon continues to be the top brand in the non-stick industry is that it is applied in layers, which do make it more durable than competitors. The bottom, rough layer allows the Teflon coating to adhere to the smooth cooking surface of a pan. A middle layer resists scraping and scratching, while the top layer provides a superior non-stick surface.

High Grade Versions Allow Use with Metal Utensils.
Some types of Teflon coatings are more scratch-resistant, meaning that they will last longer. Look for Teflon Platinum and other professional varieties for increased durability.

Food Won’t Stick or Burn.

Teflon’s multi-layer coating makes cooking much simpler. Food will not stick to the pan, which makes it less likely to burn. Coatings and batters will remain on the food where they belong, and sauces will blend more easily.

Quick and Easy Cleanup.

Cleanup is much easier with Teflon. Instead of having to scrape away cooked-on food, you can simply rinse away residue. Some Teflon pans can even be used in the dishwasher, though hand-cleaning is so simple that it might not be necessary.

Misconceptions about Teflon
One of the biggest misconceptions about Teflon pans is that flakes of the fluropolymers used in the coating are hazardous if consumed. Since Teflon pans scratch easily, this myth has dissuaded many people from using the non-stick coating. However, there is absolutely no proven heath risk to consuming Teflon flakes. The fluropolymers are inert, meaning that they will not react with your body. Scratches in your non-stick pans are only a cosmetic problem.

If anyone knows of any proven studies which show that teflon is bad for our health please leave a comment and we will write it up on this blog.

Another good post on this topic: http://willtaft.com/health/i-do-not-use-teflon-cookware/

Jamie Oliver Tefal Non-Stick Frypan

I recently brought a Jamie Oliver Professional Series, non-stick Tefal frypan and so far I am delighted with the performance.

I read a number of reviews before I settled on my final choice and considering I was spending around $200 I wanted to be sure I purchased the best my money could buy.

Apart from the obvious choice of the frypan being non-stick there were other features that I was looking for. The pan had to have nice deep sides and the whole frypan including the handle had to be both stove and ovenproof safe.

Some of the features of the Jamie Oliver frypan include:

  • The frypan is made from 18/10 stainless-steel so it resists scratching and warping
  • The metal does not react with foods
  • The pan has a heavy-gauge aluminum core base for superior heat distribution
  • And the metal-safe nonstick coating is safe to use with metal utensils, although I still use my nylon spatula and tongs
  • The frypan has an easy to hold stainless-steel handle

The pan also has a ThermoSpot, whick is Tefal’s unique heat indicator that lets you know when the pan is preheated for cooking.

The frypan is dishwasher-safe and easy to clean and as an added bonus the frypan and handle are oven-safe to 260°C/500°F.

I have read how the non-stick coating can be harmful but this is only if you cook at very high temperatures for any length of time and your food will be well and truly burnt to a crisp by the time your frypan coating starts to release any harmful fumes.

Like most followers of Jamie, I feel he can be trusted and the fact that he has had a great deal of input into his range of cookware makes me feel confident in my choice. He uses his cookware on his current television series and subjects them to some amazing things including putting them in his outdoor oven. He also quite happily uses metal utensils on the non-stick coating.

Since I am so happy with the frypan I am considering buying the skillet.