By Debra Atlas, Environmental Journalist
Almost every kitchen has at least one nonstick pan, often with scratches on it. This cookware wears out and needs replacing every few years. What if you broke this cycle and could use the same top-quality cookware for years, without worrying about scratches that leach toxic chemicals into your food?
Americraft’s 360 Cookware could be the last cookware you’ll ever buy.
I’ve been using this remarkable product line for over a year. Having gotten rid of the traditional nonstick pans, I use it almost exclusively for cooking.
Created with five layers of surgical stainless steel, it uses vapor to heat food evenly. This multi-ply construction cooks using the food’s natural moisture instead of adding water that boils nutrients out of the food, said Jamie Robinson, Americraft’s marketing director.
This technology, which has been around since the early 1900s, was developed by West Bend, the kitchenware manufacturer that used it successfully with aluminum cookware. Sold to a competitor in 2003, the company was disbanded. But in 2004, Americraft’s founders built their own plant in Wisconsin (site of the original company) and hired former West Bend employees to help continue the tradition of producing quality innovative cookware.
Americraft’s management says it is passionate about nutritional health, the environment and supporting the U.S. economy.
“We were green and American-made long before both topics were cool,” said Bryan Hurley, Americraft’s president and owner.
Americraft is powered by 100 percent renewable energy. It uses eco-friendly packaging. Americraft is a member of the Green Business Network of Green America and the U.S. Green Building Council, and its factory was designed with the environment in mind. Some of the greenest features involve how you use the cookware.
I love that you cook on low to medium heat, with little to no added liquid. As its website’s video demonstrates, you heat the pan for a few minutes without liquid, then add your ingredients and cover. When it begins to steam, twirl the lid to lock it and turn the heat down or off, depending on how much is in the pan. Three to four minutes later you’re done. I quickly saw energy savings in my utility bills.
This cookware is made to last. Because there are no coatings used in this cookware, even if you scratch the pan, it won’t destroy it like it would traditional nonstick pans.
The company is proud of its small carbon footprint, Robinson said. Water that comes out of its plant is cleaner than when it came into it and there’s no smoke belching out from their facility.
360 has cookware for just about everything you need.
Along with fry, sauté and casserole pans, Americraft recently introduced a new line of bakeware based on the same energy-saving technology. These include a loaf pan, a small baking sheet that goes into an average toaster oven, a jelly roll pan, a large pie pan and a cake pan.
And there are some great recipes on the website — from vegetarian fare to more traditional meals.
Robinson encourages cooks not to be intimidated by the cookware.
You don’t have to use the vapor process. You can still fill the pan with oil and fry chicken if you want. But the conductivity is so good, you’ll burn everything if you don’t turn the temp down to medium, she said.
This isn’t inexpensive stuff. But when you factor the cost of replacing everything every three to five years, and the time and energy savings, it’s a sound investment.
Until the end of March, Americraft is offering readers a special introductory discount of 20 percent on 360 Cookware. To take advantage of this, go to www.360cookware and use the code “Atlas.”
An environmental journalist and blogger, Debra Atlas is reachable through www.Envirothink.wordpress.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.