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Do I need to season an aluminum stockpot?

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amdoyne Oct 7, 2007 11:32 AM

Do I need to season an aluminum stockpot? I got one at the sysco supply store and my roommate threw away the instructions that came with it. I thought I saw something about seasoning in it, but I don't know for sure. If anyone knows and could tell me how to season it I'd appreciate it. I need to get started on my espagnole!

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  1. coastie RE: amdoyne Oct 7, 2007 11:58 AM

    I don't think so - I would introduce it to high heat once before I cooked in it( like boil a pot of water) DO be careful cooking acidic foods - they will get an off taste. Custards and bechemel sauce (lgihtcolored) can also become discolored. In general I avoid aluminum cookware , when possible. My brewer friends borrow my stainless monster stock pot due to some reaction that occurs as well ( not surewhat)
    In a pinch I'd make my stock in an aluminum pot - be careful w /sauce espagnole it has tomato product( acid) in it.

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      peanuttree RE: amdoyne Oct 7, 2007 12:49 PM

      No, you do not need to season this vessel. Really only cast iron needs to be seasoned. Aluminum naturally very quickly forms a thin layer of aluminum-oxide in our atmosphere, which is why its is quite rust-resistant. This layer also makes aluminum vessels relatively un-reactive with foods. Though acidity can discolor/mess with aluminum when cooking (given enough acidity and enough cooking of course).

      5 Replies
      1. re: peanuttree
        MMRuth RE: peanuttree Oct 7, 2007 01:26 PM

        Just as an aside, I gather that black stainless steel also needs to be seasoned. But I agree, I see no reason to season aluminium.

        1. re: MMRuth
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          peanuttree RE: MMRuth Oct 7, 2007 06:26 PM

          No, stainless steel does not need to be seasoned. Like aluminum, it comes with its own protective barrier. The "stainless" in stainless steel comes from the addition of chromium to the otherwise usual steel mix - the chromium causes what is called a thin "passivation layer" of chromium oxide gas to form on the metal. While this micro-thin layer is technically a gas, it protects the steel from all the corrosion all your cooking and the air would normally have to offer. Like aluminum, enough acid and cooking can affect the vessel, but bases (like lye or baking soda) actually re-build the passivation layer - so to clean a stainless steel pan (or anything else), you can boil it in water and baking soda, or rub a baking-soda-and-water paste on it and wait overnight then scrub it off.

          Stainless steel is by far the least reactive cooking material. The only things less reactive are teflon (though teflon can be scratched off and can decompose at around 500 degrees F), and then glass - glass doesn't react with anything PERIOD, except lye, but you don't use that in cooking (except for curing olives or baking pretzels).

          Because of it's un-reactivity, strength, and general cleanliness (that passivation layer I mentioned), I recommend stainless steel for most cooking.

          1. re: MMRuth
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            peanuttree RE: MMRuth Oct 7, 2007 06:32 PM

            I forgot to mention - there is no "black" stainless steel. Stainless steel by itself has a typical silver/metallic luster color - and I've never heard of anyone making a vessel out of anything other than just pure stainless steel. Any color would come from some kind of paint or coating (like an electroplated metal coating). Maybe you are thinking of cast iron?

            1. re: peanuttree
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              mpalmer6c RE: peanuttree Oct 7, 2007 10:27 PM

              Probably thinking of carbon steel, which turns dark with use.

              1. re: mpalmer6c
                MMRuth RE: mpalmer6c Oct 8, 2007 03:33 AM

                My mistake - meant black steel, not stainless steel, as in this:

                http://www.bridgekitchenware.com/more...

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