I am always looking to reduce potential toxins in our home, whether it’s by switching to glass drink bottles and food storage, reducing plastics in general, or by using non-toxic sunscreen, deodorant and cleansers. But another key concern I’ve had for a while is using non-stick pans. Did you know that many non-stick pans are made using questionable synthetic coatings that may be harmful to your health? I’ve recently discovered Solidteknics, an Australian made, healthy, sustainable, and durable unique cookware range. Find out why these world-first, seamless, 1-piece, non-toxic wrought iron pans would be a great addition to your kitchen!
What’s wrong with the typical non-stick pan?
Non-stick pans are super popular because they require no or little oil for cooking and are easier to clean. I admit that I do own one too. But after learning about the possible hazards they can cause, I started looking for an alternative.
Do we really know all the risks?
Did you know Teflon pans should only be used on low to medium heat?
As I mentioned above, most non-stick cookware is made using Teflon. At high heat, fumes from this non-stick coating are released and have been known to create allergies and flu-like symptoms for users (also known as the Teflon flu) and even kill birds! The impact on humans however, is believed to be reversible. Dupont therefore recommends using its Teflon products only on low to medium heat to avoid the fumes. 1
But PFOA in Teflon is potentially the real health hazard
However, even more concerning is the chemical, Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) or C8, used to make Teflon. Even though the long-term effects of C8 are largely unknown, there have been links to multiple types of cancer (breast, liver, testicular, and pancreas), stroke and birth defects. So concerning is its potential detriment to health that Dupont was sued for the release of C8 into the environment. This resulted in it and other manufacturers agreeing to eliminate PFOA from emissions and product contents by the end of 2015. 2 However, it is believed that DuPont and these other companies have only substituted a shorter chain version of C8 in the production of stain-resistant materials and Teflon-coated pans and therefore these products potentially still pose a risk. 3
The EWG still recommends against the use of non-stick pans and kitchen utensils
Upon the discovery of the negative impact of using non-stick pans, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommended avoiding Teflon pans and using cast iron or stainless steel pans instead. 4. But even after the supposed phase-out of C8 by Dupont, the EWG continues to recommend against their use and to still opt for stainless steel or cast iron instead. 5
The EWG notes that “the deterioration of Teflon begins after the temperature of cookware reaches about 260°C (500°F), and begins to significantly decompose above 350°C (660°F). Cooking fats, oils and butter will begin to scorch and smoke at about 200°C (392°F), and meat is usually fried between 200-230°C (400-450°F), but hot spots in the pan can easily exceed this temperature. Off-gassing can occur when a Teflon pan is left unattended. A Teflon pan can reach 383°C (721°F) in just five minutes heated on a conventional, electric stovetop”. Despite all this though, no Teflon product has been recalled in the US, Australia or anywhere else. 6
Unraveling one of the biggest environmental scandals of our time
So contentious is the potential impact of PFOA/C8, a documentary on the chemical was released at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. “The Devil We Know” features activist Erin Brockovich, in “Unraveling one of the biggest environmental scandals of our time”.
My take away from all this?
When it comes to my family’s health, why take the risk?
Why Solidteknics is safer to use in your kitchen
Solidteknics products do not have any coatings but are 100% iron or stainless steel. Therefore, no questionable synthetics products to leach into your food or to create toxic fumes.
They have two ranges of cookware: (Photo Source: Solidteknics)
1. AUS-ION SEAMLESS WROUGHT IRON COOKWARE – ideal for everyday frying, grilling, wok cooking etc. and is half the weight of cast iron.
2. NÖNI™ SEAMLESS 1-PIECE STAINLESS STEEL COOKWARE – perfect for liquid boiling, slow cooking, acidic sauces.
Both ranges offer a variety of different pans, woks, and cookware in varied sizes. They are designed to compliment each other as a complete cooking range and can all be used on all types of heat sources. These include gas, induction, ceramic, electric, halogen, oven and fire.
But are they actually non-stick?
Seasoned properly, Solidteknics cookware can be non-to-low stick. Not quite the Teflon non-stick 100% “slip off” for all foods that you might be used to without using any oil though.
Even after a short time only, I have been able to season my wok well enough to get a non-stick surface for many foods by using just a touch of oil, and a low-stick surface for other foods which may require a little extra. I suspect this may even improve as my wok seasons even more with use.
Proper seasoning is the key to best use
After reading many reviews on Soliteknic products and the information on the Solidteknics website itself, it appears that the key to using at its best and with its non stick qualities, is proper seasoning.
Instructions to season your Solidteknics cookware
There are extensive details on how to season your Solidateknics cookware and it really is worth the time and effort to follow them prior to initial use. This will maximise its non-low stick qualities.
Click HERE for detailed instructions on how to season and care for your cookware. You can also watch the video below for some extra how-to tips for stove top seasoning.
Multi Century Warranty
Solidteknics offers a multi-century warranty for all defects related to materials or manufacturing occurring during normal cooking. This essentially means that there is no time limit on your warranty for your Solidtecknics cookware. They are confident that their engineering and materials expertise is extremely durable for at least several centuries, with normal recommended care.
This warranty is, however, not valid for issues caused by improper use, lack of maintenance, or ‘change of heart’. Solidteknics seasoning and care instructions must be followed for the warranty to remain valid.
My review of the Solidteknics Wok
I’ve had my Solidteknics Wok 28cm Sauteuse for just a couple of weeks now. I feel it’s still early days as I am still getting to know my wok! Sounds funny I know but it’s true! But here are my initial thoughts on the things I love about my new wok and a few points to highlight if you are considering investing in one.
Things I love
The look, feel and design.
- My first thought was what a good looking wok it was! I loved the bronze colour (see photo below), but little did I know then that this would need to turn black as a sign of good use and seasoning!
- I also like that the wok is made from one piece of wrought iron. Not only does it look sleek but is so much easier to clean without joins. Also no fear of wobbly bits and handles falling off in the future!
- I was tempted to purchase one of the other Solidteknics woks on offer as they are both larger in size (30 and 35cm) and I love to cook extras (you know I love leftovers for lunch!). But after reading other reviews, I chose this smaller one. The main concern with the other woks from the reviews was with the short length of the dual-handles. Many said they were too hot to hold handle during cooking. This is fine if you don’t hold your wok while cooking or are happy to use a tea towel for protection. I chose the Solidteknics Wok 28cm Sauteuse instead. It has a long handle which I love. I can hold at any time and it also makes it easy to carry the wok to the sink for washing when it’s still hot.
- The size of this slightly smaller wok does still works well for my family. Not only do I use it for general frying but also for stir-fries and noodle dishes, which have all fit well to serve my family of four. As for cooking extras, maybe Solidteknics could release a larger wok version with a long handle in the future…hey guys???
How does it actually cook?
- I took the time to season my wok both in the oven and stovetop as per the instructions before my first use. I cooked up sweet potato noodles as my first run. And happy to say that the wok was completely non-stick! Go me! – worth the effort! I definitely think the level of seasoning determines the non-stick status of my wok, and this may also depend upon its last use and level of maintenance (see below).
- I really love the fact that this wok heats up really, really quickly! Love a time saver!
- Overall, it is easy to use, heats up super fast and cooks really well.
What about washing?
- Depending on the type of cook you’ve just had, recommended cleaning may just be a simple wipe with a paper towel or hot running water using a brush or a green sponge. No need for soap, any soaking or lots of scrubbing. Then a quick wipe dry and reheat on the stove to fully dry.
- All in all, pretty simple.
Things to consider
Patience to season your pan/wok properly
- It’s a bit of an effort but taking the time to season your cookware initially as per the detailed instructions, does really help you reach that non-stick status!
May require ongoing maintenance
- But this once off seasoning doesn’t stop there. Your Soliteknics cookware does require continuous care.
- It can make a difference to exactly how much care is needed though, depending on what you are cooking. For example, a quick hot fry up of my sweet potato noodles was fine with a quick hot water rinse. This has also been the case with general fry-ups. But my wok needed a little extra care after cooking a curry in it, with another season after this cook. And same for my pasta sauce.
Type of foods you are cooking makes a difference
I did read this comment from Solidteknics on their website, which provides some explanation:
- “It’s quite normal for seasoned pans to have ‘patchy’ seasoning and changing seasoning over time, depending on what’s being cooked. Pans that are only ever used for frying with oil or with oily foods are always the easiest to maintain with a thick, even and nonstick seasoning. When a pan is used for a lot of cooking without oil, or for cooking in acidic liquids (particularly slow cooking), the seasoning won’t be replenished by the cooking oils and food fats, but it will be eroded by the acidic liquid and by washing out.”
So that was probably my mistake really, by slow cooking a curry and cooking a tomato based pasta sauce in my wok. After a quick email to Solidteknics, who were prompt to reply, I received this feedback:
- “Generally speaking acidic foods such as lemons, tomatoes etc will or can erode your seasoning if they cook for a while in it. A flash cook won’t necessarily make a difference, though simmering or anything longer will erode it. That said, this is not an issue if you don’t need your wok to be completely non-stick.”
It’s reassuring to know though, that seasoning on Solidteknics cookware is forever renewable. That means that if there is a surface seasoning or rust problem, you just need to start again and clean and re-season. And yes, I just reseasoned my wok on the stove and it’s back in non-stick action! But yes, just a heads up that you might need to be prepared to invest a bit of time in keeping them in proper function depending on your cook.
Yes, I do love cooking in my Solidteknics wok!
In fact, I’m eyeing off the Skillet/Frying Pan 30cm next. I definitely think the extra care and even the ongoing maintenance if needed, is worth keeping my family safer and free from artificial toxins. And as a forever lasting product, it’s so much better for the environment too!
If you’re interested in investing in Solidteknics Cookware, Biome Stores is offering a unique 10% discount to Active + Nourished followers. Just enter the code “AN-SOLID10” at the checkout. Click HERE to view the range available.
- This offer is valid until midnight 30 June 2018.
- Valid online only, not available in-store.
- Not valid in conjunction with any other offer.
*Disclaimer: Active + Nourished received a Solidteknics Wok to review by Biome Eco Stores. Active + Nourished is also a Biome Eco Stores affiliate. This means that if you choose to purchase through these links we will receive a small commission from the sale. There is no extra cost to you. This will assist in the development and maintenance of the Active + Nourished website.
- https://www.chemours.com/Teflon/en_US/products/safety/key_questions.html#q5 ↩
- The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team, Teflon and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), January 5, 2016, American Cancer Society ↩
- Blum et al, “The Madrid Statement on Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs)”, Environ Health Perspective; DOI 10.1289/ehp.1509934 ↩
- EWG: Teflon Can Create Negative Side Effects, October 2012 ↩
- EWG’s Guide to Perfluorochemicals, December 2017 ↩
- Peter Lavelle, “Is Teflon safe?”, February 2006, www.abc.net.au ↩