Using Stainless Steel in Kitchen

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Why is stainless steel used in kitchens?

The importance of the use of stainless steel is mainly due to being a hygienic material, what is sought in a kitchen is the use of materials that do not contaminate or retain organisms that can cause contamination, while being easy to clean and they can be disinfected without the presence of harmful chemicals.

The kitchen is a potential source of possible diseases in humans, because there are prepared, stored, preserved and handled products that will be digested directly inside us, the main objectives in a kitchen are: Prevent contamination of raw materials by action of microorganisms, eliminate or try to be possible, the greatest amount of microorganisms present in the rough, prevent the growth of bacteria through the decrease or increase in temperature, promote the development of specific microorganisms harmless and antagonistic to harmful ones.

These objectives can be achieved to a large extent if we use materials that do not contaminate, such as stainless steel, which can be thoroughly cleaned without alterations, since bacteria appear in large part due to food contact with machinery. And even more so when it is not manufactured in any kind of hygienic material.

What is stainless steel in the kitchen?

Stainless steel is an alloy of iron and carbon (steel) to which approximately 10% chromium is added to give it resistance to corrosion. There are essentially two types of stainless steel, austenitic and ferritic. Austenitic, also known as 18/8 stainless steel, has excellent corrosion resistance but has nickel in its composition.

Several studies have shown that there is a migration of small amounts of nickel and chromium to food cooked in stainless steel utensils. The amounts of chromium are not worrisome but those of nickel could be behind skin reactions in sensitive people.

Types of stainless steel and its main features in the Kitchen

The main elements involved in the composition of stainless steel are iron, chromium, nickel, carbon, and manganese. The percentage of these elements and their variation gives rise to the different types of stainless steel: Martensitic stainless steel: These stainless steels are essentially chromium and carbon alloys and have the common characteristic of being magnetic and hardenable by heat treatment. The most widely used of stainless martensitic steels is AISI-420 (13% Cr, 0.35% C). Characteristics:

Moderate corrosion resistance

High levels of mechanical strength and hardness

Due to the high carbon content and the nature of its hardness, it is of poor weldability

• Magnetic Applications: cutlery, brake discs, surgical, dental and turbine equipment.

• Austenitic stainless steel: Austenitic steels are obtained by incorporating austenite forming elements, such as nickel, manganese, and nitrogen. The chromium content generally varies from 16 to 26% and its carbon content is in the range of 0.03 to 0.08%. The high chromium content provides oxidation resistance at temperatures of approximately 650 ° C in a variety of environments.

In this family of steels, we can distinguish two main categories: Cr-Ni Austenitic Stainless Steels (300 Series) Characteristics:

Very good corrosion resistance

Excellent weldability and ductility

Easy transformation

Excellent hygiene and cleaning factor

They are not magnetic

Applications: cutlery, crockery, sinks, hospitality machinery, elevator linings, and many other applications. Cr-Ni-Mn Austenitic Stainless Steel (200 Series) Characteristics:

High hardness

Excellent weldability and ductility

Excellent conformed

Good corrosion resistance in normal corrosive environments

Very good response to drawing

They are not magnetic

Applications: food machines, extractors, furniture and kitchen machinery, etc.

Ferritic stainless steel: Ferritic steels are essentially chromium alloys, but may contain molybdenum, silicon, aluminum, titanium, and niobium, which gives them different characteristics and performance.

Characteristics:

Moderate to good corrosion resistance in normal corrosive environments

Low impact resistance

They are magnetic

Its weldability is discrete, so welding joints are generally reduced to thin gauges.

Stamping is good, although insufficient if deep stamping is required.

Applications: cutlery, dishes, kitchen machinery, sinks, coins, stainless liners, counters, bar bars, refrigerator cabinets, etc.

Duplex stainless steel (austenitic-ferritic): Duplex stainless steels have a microstructure that contains austenite and ferrite. They are chromium-nickel-molybdenum alloys, with a chromium content between 18 and 26% and nickel from 4.5 to 6.5%.

Characteristics:

They cannot be hardened by heat treatments

Good weldability

Very good mechanical resistance

Very good corrosion resistance

They are magnetic

Applications: increasing use in the chemical and petroleum products industry, as well as in specific applications for power generation, pulp, and paper industry, etc.

Rain-hardened stainless steel: This family offers an alternative to austenitic stainless steel when it is desired to associate high mechanical characteristics with easier machining. They are iron-chromium-nickel alloys that are characterized by the mechanical strength obtained from hardening by heat aging treatment. The hardenable steels by precipitation are usually patented and are usually designated by the acronym of the producing company.

Advantages of stainless steel in the kitchen

It is a very resistant material. Resists corrosion, heat, scratches and occasional small bumps that tend to slightly deform other materials. Because of this, stainless steel utensils are quite durable.

It is also a very light material, so it is very comfortable to work with steel utensils.

Another advantage of stainless steel in the kitchen is that it is easy to clean and does not require great care.

Despite being a material with industrial appearance, it is a material of a highly aesthetic and decorative value.

Not altering the organoleptic properties of food too much is another advantage of stainless steel in the kitchen.

Its finishes are very aesthetic and retain their original appearance for many years.

By not having a porous surface there is no place for germs in this material.

What are the disadvantages of stainless steel in the kitchen?

 It is a material that has a low thermal conductivity, so it takes time to heat up and cools quickly. However, various manufacturers choose to combine two surface layers of stainless steel with an intermediate layer of a good heat conductor, such as aluminum or copper. Although the fact of low conductivity could also be considered an advantage of the material, looking at it from the energy efficiency side is not a positive property.

Stainless steel utensils are expensive, although I believe that the cost is offset by the durability and aesthetic and functional qualities offered by the material.

The surface of the stainless steel can be scratched and dented easily, and both damages are difficult to remove or repair, you must be aware to clean the material, it is a material that requires delicate care to keep it in good condition.

However, some of these components can be harmful to health, especially nickel, which is one of the most toxic metals in the periodic table, associated with disorders such as cancer.

Stainless steel cookware

Quality stainless steel cookware will have at least 5 layers that allow for uniform heat flow and durability, while aluminum conducts heat well in the inner layers, it is undesirable outside due to its corrosive properties. Stainless steel is used in the upper and lower layers to protect not only food but also kitchen utensils.

Waterless cooking utensils (vaporizers, etc.) use a steam control process that allows healthy cooking since they use very little water and little or no fat.

The encapsulated bottoms of this cookware are flat on the burner and allow a uniform distribution of heat. With cooking without water, low or medium heat is all that is required and you never have to use high heat. It is said that this method preserves 98% of vitamins and food flavors and textures.

The stainless-steel cookware is expensive, sometimes High-quality stainless-steel gourmet cookware sets can be very expensive. However, there are many qualities stainless steel cookware sets that you can buy for much less.

These systems have all the great features of expensive systems: durability, the steam that multiply for uniform heat distribution, lifetime guarantees, etc.

Is it good to cook in stainless steel?

Stainless steel is an iron alloy with a minimum amount of carbon and small proportions of other metals (chromium, nickel, molybdenum).

The migration of metallic waste can occur in small quantities, and they are released to food more easily if the steel is of poor quality, when we cook acidic products (citrus, tomato …) or when it is scratched, so it is important to use Good quality stainless steel and scratch free.

The most used is 18/10 steel (18 parts nickel and 10 chrome). The Japanese steel used in knives is a light lightweight of extraordinary quality, without chrome or nickel.

Stainless steel cookware can contain from 0% to 31% nickel, the problem is that it is not common to obtain data on these percentages when purchasing products, so stainless steel could contribute to the consumption of nickel in the diet in significant quantities, even exceeding the permitted amounts.

People with nickel allergies and with chemical sensitivity should avoid cooking with these utensils.

Cooking with nonstick cookware is healthier

Stainless steel cookware is sturdy; They are not prone to splintering, rusting or even staining if properly cared for, unlike Teflon cookware, you don’t have to worry about pot particles becoming loose over time and entering your food. In fact, stainless steel is one of the most hygienic surfaces for preparing your food and is unlikely to harbor bacteria.