View Full Version : Reactive Pans?

03-23-2003, 07:25 AM
I asked this question once before, but never really got an answer, so I think I'll ask again! In what way are reactive pans reactive? What do they react to, and what is the outcome? Which materials are reactive, cast iron? Some recipes call for a 'non-reactive' pan. I know tomato based meals are not the best to prepare in a new cast iron pan, but since mine was well seasoned I have not noticed any problems with tomato sauce or any other acidic foods. Thanks!

03-23-2003, 10:21 AM
I did a quick google search and found this at beef.org.

When cooking with acidic ingredients, use pans with a non-reactive interior surface, such as nonstick, anodized aluminum and stainless steel. Reactive metals such as aluminum and cast iron can affect the taste and color of dishes with acidic ingredients.

03-23-2003, 11:54 AM
Hi Cher, thanks for the info. I guess very few people on this board have had trouble with food reacting with a pan before, so I guess I'll kinda forget about it until the first time I put tomatoes in and get lunar rocks out, or have an explosion or something.

03-23-2003, 07:17 PM
run4joy, it's a good question. More than once I've made a lasagna or rhubarb cake in an aluminum pan and had them turn blue-black! Though there were no explosions it's pretty disgusting and I hope to have learned my lesson!

03-23-2003, 08:51 PM
Cook's Illustrated had this exact question in their Questions section ... They did some testing and came up with the following advice.

Reactive materials include cast-iron and copper, among others. The testers discovered that, in a well-seasoned cast-iron pan, cooking a tomato-based sauce for up to 15 minutes had no detrimental effects on the taste. A longer cook time than that, however, left a metallic after-taste. Guess it's up to your pan and your tastebuds. :)