10 things you should know about copper pots

To start the blog series, in which I introduce you to different materials of kitchen pots and pans, the first post was about 10 things you should know about stainless steel pots. 

In the second part of the series, the following post is all about 10 things you should know about copper. Starting with the question of what copper is, how you should look after copper pots, and what you can look out for when buying one.

What is copper?

Copper, from the Latin cuprum, is a transition metal and chemical element. Copper is a relatively soft and malleable metal, but very tough. Pure copper has an orange-reddish color. 

Incidentally, the Latin name cuprum is derived from ‘cyprium’ and means ‘ore from the Greek island of Cyprus’.

What are the special properties of copper?

Copper has high thermal and electrical conductivity. It is therefore excellently suited as a conductor of heat or electricity. 

After silver, copper has the second highest electrical conductivity of all metals and is used, for example, as an electrical conductor for power cables, overhead lines, or electrical components. 

Due to its high thermal conductivity, copper is used in heat exchangers or heat sinks, for example.

In addition, copper is toxic to many microorganisms, even in low concentrations, but harmless to humans and other vertebrates. 

In addition to the high availability and ease of processing, this is an important reason why water pipes and pipes often contain copper.

Why is copper a good material for pots and pans?

Copper pots have a very high thermal conductivity so that the heat in the pot is distributed very evenly and can be passed on to the food. 

In addition, the heat that reaches the contents of the pot can be easily controlled and quickly changed if necessary.

Did you know that there are hospitals where all the doorknobs and banisters are made of copper? Since copper has a proven antimicrobial effect, it helps to significantly reduce the transmission of dangerous germs such as bacteria, fungi and viruses.

Are copper pots suitable for induction?

Without explaining to you in detail how an induction cooker works, it is crucial that the cookware used is magnetizable (more precisely: has at least a thin layer of ferromagnetic material). 

Materials such as stainless steel or aluminum and, for example, copper do not have this property and are therefore initially not suitable for induction. 

However, there are manufacturers who provide these types of pots with a ferromagnetic layer on the bottom of the pot, so that the pots are also suitable for induction (see below).

When is the best time to use copper pots?

Copper pots can be used normally in everyday use in the kitchen, but they are a bit more sensitive than pots made of stainless steel, for example. 

Due to the high thermal conductivity, copper pots and pans enable very precise dosing and adjustment of the temperature of the food to be cooked. 

Accordingly, copper pots are often used by cooks who depend on being able to change temperatures very precisely and quickly. 

In addition to the visual aspect, copper pots last a lifetime if they are cared for properly.

You can easily find out if your pots are suitable for induction: just hold a magnet to the bottom of the pot. If it sticks to it, the pots are suitable for induction.

Copper pots or bowls made of copper (without a coating) are also used primarily for preserving jams. The excellent thermal conductivity and even distribution of the heat allow jams to be boiled down simply and easily without burning the bottom of the bowl or pot.

How should you care for copper pots?

Copper is a comparatively soft metal and is accordingly sensitive to scratches, small dents, and deformations. 

For daily cleaning, use warm water, some washing-up liquid, and a dishcloth if necessary. In addition, there are special polishing pastes for copper pots that are polished by the manufacturer, with which the surface can be processed so that the pots do not lose their shine even after repeated use. 

Under no circumstances should you treat the copper pot with a scouring agent, a steel brush, or put it in the dishwasher!

Is it true that copper changes color over time?

The next time you are in a larger city, you will definitely see one or the other green church roof. Here in Hamburg it just teems with them. Churches in particular were often provided with copper roofs. 

A so-called copper patina forms on these roofs over time. This forms as a result of corrosion as the copper are exposed to the elements. This is intentional, as this patina forms an extremely stable protective layer for the roof.

Pots and other crockery in the kitchen are also subject to a small degree of natural “weathering” and come into contact with heat and increased humidity, for example. 

The potters can discolour and, for example, take on a much darker, more irregular color than when they were bought.

Did you know that the Statue of Liberty in New York is completely covered in copper sheathing?!

What are the differences in copper pots?

If you look around for copper pots in specialist shops, you will quickly find that there are a few different “types” of copper pots to buy. These differ mainly in the following points:

  • Copper pots without any additional coating
  • Copper pots with a tin coating allow food to cool down in the copper pot without discoloring the copper. However, the tin layer itself changes color a little over time and becomes slightly greyish
  • Copper pots with a stainless steel coating that prevents the inside of the pot from discoloring in general
  • Copper pots fitted with handles made from a different material to prevent them from overheating

What do you have to look out for when buying copper pots?

If you have decided to use copper pots, there are a few additional points to consider:

  • If you have a ceramic hob, the copper pots should have a thick-walled copper base so that they lie flat on the hob when heated
  • If you have a gas stove, you can also use thin-walled copper pots
  • First of all, pots made of copper are not suitable for induction. However, there are now manufacturers who offer copper pots with a ferromagnetic base, so they are also suitable for induction hobs
  • When buying, make sure that the pot consists of at least 90% copper. There are a variety of aluminum stainless steel pots that are marketed with just a thin copper coating

Brands that make copper pots you should know about

Especially with manufacturers of copper pots and dishes, you will find a large number of small craft businesses that have specialized in the production of copper goods. 

This is mainly due to the demanding production, and on the other hand, of course, to a certain extent the exclusivity of these products. A good copper pot will accompany you for a lifetime with proper care.

Not only high-quality pots but in my opinion also by far the most attractive pots come from the Weyersberg company. 

The small manufactory from near Tübingen has been producing copper dishes for over 30 years and has launched its latest product range of copper cookware suitable for induction.

Other companies that produce copper cookware and that are definitely worth a look are:

De Buyer from France – the company has been around since 1830 and is one of the oldest manufacturers of copper pots.

Mauviel from Normandy – the company has been manufacturing copper goods for over 170 years

Falk Culinair from the Netherlands – the company produces pots and pans of all sizes as well as other copper goods

So there are definitely a few companies out there that have made a name for themselves in the production of copper cookware.

How do you care for copper pots?

Copper pots are easy to clean if you follow a few simple steps. First of all, it is important not to use any abrasive cleaning agents or scouring pads, as these can damage the copper.

The best way to clean a copper pot is to first rinse it out with warm water and then rub it with a little vinegar using a soft cloth. 

After that, you can polish the copper pot with a dry, soft cloth until it shines again.

If the pot is particularly dirty, you can also put some salt in the vinegar and use this mixture to clean the pot.

It is best to avoid dishwashers, as the aggressive detergents can damage the copper. 

If you want to be on the safe side, it is best to hand-wash your copper pots.


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