Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to determine whether you have any aluminum cookware in your house. If so, seek out alternatives. I’ll give you ideas beyond “replace entire cookware set”!
Level of Commitment: Making Strides
First, figure out what your pots, pans, and cookie sheets are made of. My pots and pans are all non-stick coated…which doesn’t mean they’re safe, but they’re not aluminum. (More on Teflon later!) You may need to make a phone call to the manufacturer to find out what your cookware is really made of. It will take 5 minutes. You can do it!
My cookie sheets are, I discovered after sending an email to the company, made of aluminum with a non-stick coating. The coating is getting pretty scratched, so I’ve made a commitment not to allow food to touch the surface, just in case. When it comes to being a steward of my family’s health, I’d rather be safe than sorry, especially when some of the changes I’ve had to make are quite simple and low on commitment/energy.
If you have aluminum pots…
My mom cooked with that red pot set in the photo above all my life. They’re aluminum. I have no way of knowing whether my body has or had a build-up of aluminum because of those pots and pans, but I have to trust God to do His will with me and move on. If I had aluminum pots and pans in my kitchen, however, I would make a big effort to use alternatives!
- At the very least, don’t cook tomato or acidic substances in aluminum pots.
- Try to default to any pots you have that aren’t aluminum.
- Look at garage sales and thrift stores for basic stainless steel, cast iron (or even glass) pots to begin to phase out your aluminum ones. I picked up a few for a buck each this summer to work on phasing on my non-sticks.
- Some sources say the safest choice is enameled cast iron, like I had on my birthday list. You can see a few examples here:
Disclosure: Those images will take you to Amazon.com, and if you choose to purchase one of the items, I’ll get a small kickback, which helps me justify the time I spend writing this blog. ! I don’t have either product, though; they’re just examples of something you might want to replace a potentially dangerous product.
I understand if buying new isn’t in your budget right now. It’s not in mine, either, hence the garage sales and the birthday list!
Here is a quote to make you feel better if you’re stuck cooking with aluminum (it did me!):
More than half of the cookware on the market today is made from aluminum. This is because aluminum is a good conductor of heat and is used frequently with non-stick pots and pans. The makers of aluminum cookware warn against storing highly acidic or salty foods in aluminum cookware. Foods such as tomato sauce or citrus fruits that are in contact with cookware for a long period of time will absorb aluminum. Aluminum foil has the same effect and should be avoided for storing acidic or salty foods. Is cooking in aluminum dangerous? It is unlikely that significant amounts of aluminum are released from aluminum cookware. The amount of aluminum found in foods cooked in aluminum pots is much lower than the amount usually found in foods, medicines and antiperspirant. It is important, however, to make sure the surface of the cookware is undamaged.
Source (emphasis is mine)
If you have aluminum cookie sheets…
Here you’ve got quite a few options. You just want to keep your food away from the surface of the cookie sheets, which is a lot easier with rolls or cookies than with a pot of soup!
- Try parchment paper I never used parchment paper until a few years ago. Although you are creating waste because you throw it away, when it comes to clean-up on baked french fries, I’ll trade the 10 minutes of dish-scrubbing for a piece of paper in the wastebasket! Terrible, I know. On the other hand, if I’m baking cookies or bread products, I reuse the parchment paper (storing it right in/on my cookie sheet in the oven drawer) until I can’t reuse it any longer.
- Invest in a silicone baking mat to put inside your cookie sheet, like this one:
- Put stoneware on your wishlist. I love the way rolls, biscuits, cookies and pizza dough turn out on my Pampered Chef Rectangular Stone.
- Stainless steel cookie sheets are also available.
Here are two versions:UPDATE: a reader read the reviews on these guys and they’re not so great. Try this one instead.
But for me, the stoneware can’t be beat, so I probably won’t be investing in these.
I’ll finally explain exactly the risks of aluminum in Friday’s post, and next week we’ll peek into our deodorants (mine is stored in the kitchen, so I can do that!).
See the other Analyzing Aluminum in August posts:
- Use less aluminum foil Baked Potatoes without Aluminum Foil
- Why Analyze Aluminum: The Risks and Dangers