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Unlined copper pot

I found this beautiful, handmade copper pot in the souks of Fes over the summer...Of course, I had to pick the unlined one (even though they had plenty of tin lined copper pots) and only later found out that I probably won't be able to use it for cooking as unlined copper reacts with various foods and it is unhealthy. Mine is similar to a 3qt sauce pan, no lid, very heavy.

Any ideas what I CAN cook in it?

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  1. Non-acidic dishes, such as many egg recipes. It's acidic foods that will leach out the copper. I've only seen them used for beating eggs and cooking such things as zabaglione.

    1. French cooks have been making jams & preserves in unlined copper pots for many years. To my knowledge, there has never been a case of death by apricot jam.

      1. If it's a good quality pot it would be a shame not to be able to use it for much. You should consider having it tinned. If you can't find a local place, try Rocky Mountain Retinning (rockymountainretinning.com). I've used them a couple of times. They do good work and they finish the job in 2-3 weeks, as promised. Measure the diameter of the pot in inches, multiply by $5, and that's what it will cost (plus shipping).

        1. First, congratulations on having the taste to buy a copper cooking pot/pan. Second, such pots are usually made for display only, tsk-tsk. Third, if it is thick you certainly can use for cooking, but only for certain, specific recipes (you cannot use it as an all purpose cooking pot). These are the recipes I have prepared that often specify an unlined copper pot:
          1) cooking down fruits for jam, but 3 qt is way too small for this task
          2) as a sugar pot: cooking sugar syrup, caramel, and related candies
          3) polenta
          4) zabaglione.
          if you have never done any of these, give it a try: you will love them, and will discover that making them is easier in your copper pot than standard cookware.

          4 Replies
          1. re: jerry i h

            jerry, do you know if i can make popcorn in an unlined copper kettle.

            1. re: 4boymom

              You can. Although you can do so in most cookware.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                We already make it in a big stainless steel and aluminum but wasn't sure if there was a problem since the pot is unlined. I am reading so many things about it causing health issues.

                1. re: 4boymom

                  Yes, copper toxicity is an issue, but I assume you don't make popcorn too often. If you do eat popcorn everyday, then I feel like you should worry more about the popcorn than the copper.

                  Copper leaching to oil probably is quite a bit slower than copper leaching to water. If you are not sure, I would lean on caution.

          2. Hmmmm, I was thinking more along the lines of cooking meat in it, or possibly just boiling potaoes or rice? I can definitely make polenta and candy, these sound good. Now, how come you can make jams in it, isn't fruit acidic????? It just doesn't make sense.....

            2 Replies
            1. re: polish_girl

              You're right. Most fruits (including tomatoes, which are probably cooked more often than any other) are acidic. Wouldn't do it if I were you. Tin that baby or polish it up nice and use it as a centerpiece.

              1. re: Zeldog

                From what I've heard it needs to be low-acid fruit. Which limits you; but some fruits are a lot less acidic than others.

            2. Do you still have your unlined copper pot? If so would you like to sell it. I am looking for a nice unlined copper pot to do sugar work with.

              3 Replies
              1. re: doverben

                Well, I just sent it off to Rocky Mountain Retinning. My hubby made a decision, that rather than risk somebody cooking a wrong and harmful dish in it, we should have it tin plated. So, no, sorry, it will not be unlined much longer.

                1. re: polish_girl

                  [sigh...]. My heart sinks to think of all the candy I could make in your pot, but tinning is probably a good thing if you need an all purpose pot and have no interest in confectionery (tin-lined thick copper is the ultimate cooking pan; expect it to become the pan you use most frequently, and just leave it out on your stove when cleaned, as you will use daily). Currently, I use a Bourgeat flared saucepan for my candy making; it is thick copper, lined with stainless steel, a cast iron handle, and probably cost more than your copper even with the cost of tinning added in.

                2. re: doverben

                  Try "Mauviel Copper 2-1/2-Quart Sugar Saucepan with Copper Handle" from Amazon:

                  They also have a smaller, 1.2 qt copper pan.

                3. Just wanted to let you know, that my newly retinned pot arrived on Saturday. It's beautiful! All shiny (not for long, of course). It looks great! And it was so fast, it took only a couple of weeks...Thanks for a great suggestion.