Copperware: Type, Usage and Benefits

The use of copperware by humanity in their daily household can be traced back to ancient times. Even recently one would have heard that some cookware or lined with copper or in short copper bottom vessels to facilitate fast cooking as copper is a good conduct of heat. The presence of copper or copper bottom vessels in other words speed up the cooking process thereby reducing the amount of cooking gas utilisation. 

It is not a myth but fact that copper water bottles, tumblers and pots were used and even now widely used to store water. Studies reveal that the number of disease-causing bacteria in water is killed when it is stored in copper vessels. Well, there is a catch here. It is not that we can store water in copper vessels for days together. It is very important to regularly clean the copper vessels atleast once a day with salt and tamarind to remove the greenish tinge that scales on the copperware when left unattended for days together. The green coloured surface appears because of copper’s reaction with atmosphere and moisture. This results in the formation of ‘patina’, the name for such green colour coating on copper vessel. Consuming water from such vessels will be harmful to health and it is strongly advised not to consume water from such vessels.

Copper is also known as “taamba” in Hindi, “Sembu” in Tamil, “Semp” in Malayalam, “Tamra” in Kannada and “Ragi” in Telugu.

What are the types of Copper Cookware? 

Copper cookware can braodly be classified as Lined and Unlined meaning that the copper cookware is either lined on the inner side with either tin or stainless steel.

Does Copper Rust?

Copperware doesn’t rust as the content of iron is too low. But like Iron rusts, copper would patinize if left to react with moisture for longer periods. This is a natural property of copper. 

How to clean Copperware?

Copperware can be cleaned by using water, salt and tamarind. Lemon can be used to clean the outer surface and not the inner surface as prolonged and rigorous cleaning could make the copper react with the citric acid present in lemon. Copperware should not be cleaned or washed with soap or detergent or any cleaning liquid. Natural cleaning materials like tamarind, salt are to be used. Soaking the copperware in tamarind water would also effectively clean the copperware. Metal scrubs are to be avoided while cleaning copperware as it would result in scratches and the sheen and shine fading away. Using sponge-based scrubber is effective. Mixtures like gram flour powder with lemon, salt and some water can also be used by using it as a paste. Even tomato-based sauce is also used for cleaning copper vessels.

Can chemicals be used for cleaning copperware?

While it is always advised to use natural materials using chemicals to clean copper is not advised for cleaning copperware used for storing water. When it comes to some religious accessories made of copper chemicals can be used after exercising sufficient caution.

Can food be cooked in copper utensils?

Copper utensils or vessels should not be used for cooking. Copper would be used as a lining under vessels and such vessels would be either stainless steel upon which food would come into contact while cooking. Copper in this instance is used to transmit heat and speed up cooking. But pure copper vessels are not to be sued for cooking as the heat generated would speed up the copper leaching into food.

What is the frequency in which Copperware is to be cleaned?

Copperware is to be cleaned once a day with water, tamarind and salt. Lemon can be used on the outer surface.

What Liquids can be stored in copperware?

Copperware should be used only to store water. Even fruit juices like grapes, orange etc should not be stored as the acid contents in such fresh juices could react with copper and small portions of copper could leach into such juices. Milk, Curd, Ghee should not be stored in copper vessel.

Can Copper water bottles be refrigerated?

Copper water bottles are strictly not to be refrigerated.

Can Copper vessels be used to store food materials?

Copper vessels usually would be used as an outer layer in most vessels to either increase conductivity or to give an aesthetic lift to the utensil.

Is copperware microwave safe?

Copperware should strictly not be used in microwave oven. 

What are the benefits of copper?

Copper by nature contains anti-microbial properties which would more or less sterilise harmful bacteria. It is reiterated that only water is to be stored and used in copper vessels after thoroughly cleaned as said above.


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