Is Cold Rolled Steel Safe for Cooking?
Cooking with the right type of cookware can make all the difference when it comes to creating delicious and healthy meals. However, deciding which material to use can be overwhelming given the number of options available. One material that has gained popularity in recent years is cold rolled steel. Cold rolled steel is known for its durability, heat conductivity, and chemical resistance, but the question remains: Is cold rolled steel safe for cooking? In this article, we will explore the topic of whether or not cold rolled steel is safe for cooking and examine its properties and characteristics.
What is Cold Rolled Steel?
Cold rolled steel is a type of steel that goes through a rolling process at room temperature. This process gives the steel a smooth finish and a uniform thickness. The rolling process also makes the steel harder, stronger, and more durable than other types of steel.
There are two main methods used in the production of cold rolled steel: batch annealing and continuous annealing. Batch annealing involves heating batches of steel in a furnace and then cooling them down slowly to room temperature. Continuous annealing involves feeding strips of steel through a furnace that heats them up and then cools them down rapidly using water or oil.
Cold rolled steel has many desirable properties and characteristics that make it an ideal material for various applications, including cookware. These properties include:
- Durability – Cold rolled steel is incredibly durable, making it resistant to dents, scratches, and other forms of damage.
- Heat conductivity and distribution – Cold rolled steel conducts heat well while distributing temperatures evenly throughout the cookware.
- Chemical resistance – Cold rolled steel resists corrosion from chemicals that may be present during cooking, making it a great choice for acidic foods.
- Versatility – Cold rolled steel can be easily formed into different shapes and sizes, making it versatile for various cooking needs.
Safety Concerns with Cookware
When it comes to choosing cookware, safety is a top priority. There are several potential toxins that can leach from cookware that can pose health risks when ingested. These toxins include:
- Lead – Lead exposure can cause damage to the nervous system, creating hearing loss, convulsions, and developmental issues in children.
- Cadmium – Cadmium exposure can lead to kidney disease and lung damage over time.
- Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) – PFOA is found in non-stick coatings on cookware and has been linked to various forms of cancer and other health problems.
The concern with non-stick coatings is not just limited to PFOA. Many non-stick coatings contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that can also be harmful to health if ingested. Other safety concerns include the use of dangerous metals like aluminum or copper in manufacturing cookware.
Pros and Cons of Cold Rolled Steel Cookware
Cold rolled steel cookware has both advantages and disadvantages, which should be considered when deciding whether or not to use this material for cooking purposes.
- Durability – Cold rolled steel is extremely durable, allowing it to withstand high levels of heat without buckling or warping.
- Heat conductivity and distribution – Cold rolled steel conducts heat well while distributing temperatures evenly throughout the cookware, creating optimal cooking results.
- Chemical resistance – Cold rolled steel is resistant to acidic substances that are commonly used during cooking.
- Versatility – Cold rolled steel can be easily formed into different shapes and sizes depending on specific cooking needs.
- Rusting and corrosion – Cold rolled steel is prone to rusting and corrosion when not maintained or cleaned appropriately.
- Non-stick properties – The non-stick properties of cold rolled steel are subpar compared to other materials like Teflon or ceramic coatings.
- Weight – Cold rolled steel cookware can be heavy, which could make it less appealing to certain users with mobility issues.
Other Uses for Cold Rolled Steel in the Kitchen
Cold rolled steel isn’t just limited exclusively to cookware; it can also be used in other ways in the kitchen. Here are a few examples:
- Countertops – Cold rolled steel countertops offer a unique industrial look that’s becoming very popular in modern kitchens. They’re also durable, heat resistant, and easy to clean, making them ideal for a busy kitchen.
- Kitchen Cabinets – Cold rolled steel cabinets are another interior-finish option some designers are experimenting with.
- Kitchen Appliances – Stainless steel appliances have been dominant in modern kitchens for over two decades
- Kettles – Stainless steel kettles made of cold rolled steel are a popular choice for home-brewers thanks to their excellent heat conductivity, durability, and chemical resistance.
- Fermenters – Fermenting cold-rolled steel vessels are great and popular due to their anti-corrosion properties.
Cold rolled steel can be used to make knives. However, there are pros and cons of using cold-rolled steel for knife making. One significant disadvantage is that cold-rolled steel knives tend to dull more quickly than other materials like carbon steel. On the other hand, cold-rolled steel knives are stronger, more ductile and less brittle than carbon steels, making them ideal for tougher jobs.
In conclusion, Cold rolled steel cookware offers many benefits when it comes to cooking efficiency, durability, and strength. The properties of cold rolled steel that make it ideal for cookware also render it suitable for use in other kitchen equipment, home-brewing vessels, and knife making. However, the safety concerns associated with toxins that can leach from cookware should not be ignored while considering this material for cookware. Overall, cold rolled steel remains an excellent choice for versatile kitchen applications if appropriate maintenance is done.
- MPI Group. (2021). What Is Cold Rolled Steel? Accessed on 19th August 2021 from https://www.mpigroup.co.uk/news/what-is-cold-rolled-steel.
- Cookware Manufacturers Association. (2021). Safe Use & Handling of Cookware. Accessed on 19th August 2021 from https://cookware.org/safe-use-handling-of-cookware/
- Consumer Reports. (2016). Guide to Cookware. Accessed on 19th August 2021 from https://www.consumerreports.org/cookware/guide-to-cookware/.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is cold rolled steel and why is it used for cooking appliances?
Cold rolled steel refers to steel that has been processed at room temperature to make it more durable and dense. It is often used in the construction of cooking appliances like grills, smokers and ovens due to its strength and heat resistance.
Is cold rolled steel safe for cooking food?
Yes, cold rolled steel is completely safe for cooking food. It is a non-toxic material that does not react with food or release harmful chemicals when exposed to heat.
How do I clean cold rolled steel cookware?
Cleaning cold rolled steel cookware is easy – simply wash with warm soapy water and dry thoroughly. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or scrubbers, as they can scratch the surface of the steel.
Can cold rolled steel rust or corrode over time?
Like any other metal, cold rolled steel can rust or corrode if not properly cared for. To prevent rusting, it is important to keep your cookware dry and store it in a dry place when not in use. If you notice any signs of rust or corrosion, you can remove them with a non-abrasive cleaner and a soft cloth.