Saturday, February 14, 2009

teflon out - CERAMIC IN

First of all I would like to start with that I think my kitchen is finally "plastic free". I say this in quotations because we still have a few items left...

Our mandolin; we don't use it often enough to make it worth switching. Our food processor; we could not find a viable option were food does not touch plastic; if anyone out there knows of one let us know. Our glass jars have plastic lids and some of our utensils/kitchen gadget have plastic handles but none of those touch food.

Our last switch was our kettle we traded in our electric plastic kettle for a beautiful brushed stainless steel stove top kettle. We got in on a great deal at Winners, it's from Kuhn Rikon and has such a nice heavy weight to it.

Our next step is to banish Teflon from our home. You ask me why are we banning Teflon and teflon like products from our home...

"DuPont studies show that the Teflon offgases toxic particulates at 464°F. At 680°F Teflon pans release at least six toxic gases, including two carcinogens, two global pollutants, and MFA, a chemical lethal to humans at low doses. At temperatures that DuPont scientists claim are reached on stovetop drip pans (1000°F), non-stick coatings break down to a chemical warfare agent known as PFIB, and a chemical analog of the WWII nerve gas phosgene."

"In new tests conducted by a university food safety professor... A Teflon pan reached 721°F in just five minutes..."

So how are we banishing Teflon:

We started by getting rid of all our none stick pans and replacing them with stainless steel high end pans such as Lagostina and Cusinart. Winners is a great place to get these for reasonable prices. The reason why I say high end is that with past experience unless it's a heavy weight stainless steel you wont be happy with the pan after a few weeks. You need to spend the $ to get something that will last and cook well.

However Geoff wanted to keep one non-stick pan for when he cooks those really sticky items. This is when we started to research alternatives to non-stick pans. After a bit of research and a struck of luck when we were spending some gift cards that we received at Christmas we found Earthchef at Zellers. Earthchef is made from stainless steel with a non-stick ceramic coating. So far we love our pan. I have to say I was also impressed at the weight of the pan, it's nice and heavy and compares well to our $200 Lagostina pan.

Eggs still stick a bit to the pan and you need to use a small amount of oil but it's worth the trade off for our health.

Earthchef also makes baking wear. In case you did not know most of the metal baking wear is also coated with Teflon. So we got a cookie sheet and a muffin tray from Earthchef also. We also love these - no problem with sticking yet.

Earthchef is manufactured by BergHOFF in Belgium. There website claims that the product is "six times stronger than the traditional non-stick coatings"; use "recycled packaging"; "the product line offers cookware; induction cook-tops; bake-ware; roasters; cutting boards; cutlery and knife blocks".

The best thing about Earthchef (after the fact that it's safe) is the cost, our 10" pan was around $30 and our cookie sheet was around $15.

Other then these great ceramic cook and bake wear items we are using glass and clay wear to do our baking; we already had tones of these that were given to me by my grandmother years ago.

We still have a few items that we need to find solutions for such as our rice cooker, waffle iron, spring form pans and decorative cake pans. If anyone out there has seen a rice cooker that is plastic and teflon free please let us know.

Quotations 1 & 2 from: Canaries in the Kitchen by EWG the article is worth a full read.


Shanilie said...

I am anti teflon as well. I left a pan on the stove when I was younger thinking I had turned the burner off. I came back and my pan was a glowing neon green. eeek

Pierrette said...

@ Shanilie Scary

Neigenuage said...

I've been in need of a few new loaf pans, and I was waiting for the Earth Chef ones to go on sale. Another alternative (which makes you use your muscles) is cast iron :) I also have a carbon steel wok that I love. I hate teflon and these "non stick" cookware.