5 Tips for Choosing Eco-Friendly Cookware

stainless steel cups on wooden table with forest background - tips for choosing eco-friendly cookware

Have you started considering your carbon footprint and the effect your lifestyle has on the environment?

If you have, congratulations! And thank you for putting in the effort to help make our planet a better home for everyone.

Even if you’ve only just swapped your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one, or if you are slowly reducing the amount of plastic you buy – give yourself a pat on the back and remember that every little bit helps. You can’t be expected to turn your entire life around in the span of a week. It will take time.

Let us help you out on your eco journey today and give you five tips for choosing eco-friendly cookware.

Consider What You Will Actually Need

Even if you are only purchasing eco-friendly cookware, if you don’t actually need it or use it and it just sits in your cupboards, you won’t be making the greenest choice. After all, making any  commercial product, regardless of how eco-friendly it is, still involves manufacturing and shipping processes that use energy and resources and produce waste. The absolute greenest thing you can do is use or repurpose what you already have.

So before you buy your first green pan or skillet, assess what you use and require in your kitchen.

Think about the meals you cook at home most often. Which items do you need to make them? For example, you may be considering a pancake pan – but if you only make them once a month, maybe it would be better if you used an ordinary skillet?

Consider Individual Items as Opposed to Sets

Some brands love to sell cookware sets – which makes sense, as they would like to make more sales. However, a lot of the items in these sets end up not being used, so unless you are an amateur chef and really require a 22-piece cookware set, try to source each item individually.

True, this might drive the price up – but if you bear our next tip in mind as well, the price will turn out to be just right.

Look for Quality and Durability Instead of Affordability

copper pots and pans in kitchen - tips for choosing eco-friendly cookware

Individual pieces of eco-friendly cookware can be pricey. However, if you buy a high-quality pan or pot, one that will essentially last you a lifetime (or at least a couple of decades), you will end up saving a lot of money and reducing the amount of cookware you buy as well.

This is again where buying individual items makes sense. You don’t have to save up for an entire expensive set, and you can add to your collection bit by bit.

If you choose your cookware items carefully and find ways to use one dish to make several kinds of meals – for example, if you can use your casserole dish both on the hob and in the oven – you will realize you don’t actually need to have as many pots and pans as you initially thought.

Know Your Materials

There are several materials you can choose from when it comes to eco-friendly cookware:

Stone Cookware

Stone cookware is what our ancestors used to use, and it is very popular with pizzerias to this day. You can use stone cookware in your home, too – it is lead-free, toxin-free, cadmium-free, and made of clay.

It cooks food evenly and it is very durable, so you can expect a stone piece to last you for quite a long time. It won’t break easily – but do be careful with it because it’s on the heavy side.

Ceramic Cookware

Ceramic cookware is typically non-stick (so no need to use oil or butter for cooking), and it is also non-toxic and easy to clean.

It can get chipped, though, and you need to be careful around it because it can break easily. However, you can still use it even if it’s chipped; just be careful not to cut yourself.

Ceramic dishes are popular in baking, so if you are an aspiring baker, treating yourself to a ceramic piece could be worth your while.

Cast Iron Cookware

Cast iron is one of the more popular options among the pros, specifically because it distributes heat very evenly and can last decades if cared for properly.

If you want to be a real pro, refrain from washing your skillet or pan with soap, as the cast iron will absorb flavors over time, making your dishes extra special. Wiping them clean after a wash in plain water should do the trick.

Stainless Steel Cookware

You can find plenty of very versatile and durable cookware made from stainless steel on the market. However, you’ll want to ensure that what you are buying has a non-toxic coat, as not all manufacturers have moved to using them in their cookware.

Stainless steel is also very easy to clean and maintain. All kinds of shapes and sizes of pots and pans are made from it, so you will have no trouble finding a perfect dish for your needs.

Eco-friendly Cookware Pieces to Buy

If you are now wondering where to get started, let us make three suggestions:

  • A casserole dish – one that can be used on the hob and in the oven, as this will save you space and make your cooking more straightforward. Find a size that meets your cooking needs and make sure to consider the material carefully. Cast iron and stone will be much heavier, so depending on who is cooking, you might want a lighter stainless steel option.
  • A cast-iron pan – this pan will be easy to clean, nothing will stick to it, and you can use it for anything from meats to pancakes. Again, choose a size you are comfortable with, and be careful not to drop it on your feet!
  • A set of 2-3 pots – you want something for boiling and to make soups and hearty dishes in, so a couple of pots are warranted. Stainless steel is the usual choice here, and you can go for one small, one medium, and one large pot. If you are cooking for one or two people, two sizes might be enough. Some people prefer to have more than one, so that they don’t have to worry about washing up quickly while cooking.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know a bit more about eco-friendly cookware, you are ready to make your first purchase. Remember to make your investments slowly and with plenty of consideration, and to celebrate your transition to an eco-conscious lifestyle. As long as you are aware of your impact on the environment, you are going down the right path.

Feature image: Kamaji Ogino; Image 1: Ramiro Mendes

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