Nightcat enjoys cooking and was once a hot-foods worker in a previous life. She enjoys passing on tips for home chefs of all levels.
What Does Ceramic Cookware Do That Teflon Doesn't?
You've most likely seen the Orgreenic pan on TV, the internet, and of course, in stores everywhere. But is it worth buying, or is it total hype? Well, the answer really depends on the type of cook you are and whether or not you are concerned about the use of artificial chemicals in your cookware.
I bought and road-tested a ten-inch Orgreenic ceramic green non-stick frypan and took it for a spin. I'm extremely pleased with the results, and I even put it head to head with my eons-old Teflon pan to give you the results.
Keep in mind, Orgreenic pans have other benefits besides an easy cleanup, such as cooking at faster rates, even heat distribution, and the ability to withstand high temps, such as broiling and baking, for extended periods.
The 10-Inch Frypan and a Lifetime Warranty
This is an excellent all-around frypan. You can do basics like bacon and eggs, use it to make a quick quiche, or even broil, bake, and sauté with it. Yes, you can fry foods in it too. The Orgreenic is made of all-natural ceramic (which is just fired clay, part of the earth) and covered by a lifetime warranty.
If it ever chips or develops other issues, simply return it with postage and they will ship you a new one completely free, or they'll repair small issues and return your pan. Either way, you are covered for a lifetime of cooking.
Seasoning Your Ogreenic Pan
Seasoning Your Pan Is Very Important
You have to season your pan when you first get it. The label recommends spraying the pan with cooking oil, heating it to medium heat, and watching until the oil starts to smoke. Your pan is then seasoned, but you need to let it cool and then wipe clean prior to your first use.
Why bother with seasoning? Like a cast iron pan, your Orgreenic or any other ceramic pan will need the protective coating this gives. But unlike a cast-iron pan, you can use warm soapy water or a gentle scrub pad to wash your Orgreenic pan as usual.
I put my pan on medium heat, and when it didn't start to smoke within fifteen minutes, I nudged the temp up and it started smoking. With the green pan, you'll notice your cooking oil goes from golden to deep brown in color. That's normal.
Please keep in mind that this is not a one-time thing. Follow the instructions on your pan or re-season as needed. You may find this also forms a protective coating that helps your pan perform better and adds to the non-stick qualities.
I got my decades-old frypan out, the one coated with Teflon. I've noticed it seems to be wearing to a disturbing brown color in one spot, and the food no longer comes off easily, no matter what I do.
Considering health issues do run in my family, and you are supposed to dump Teflon pans when scratches penetrate the surface this badly, it might be her final bow. I made sure I just used a light cooking spray, about half what I normally use.
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I then broke the yolk of an egg and had a fine mess to clean up. The food did mostly come out OK, but the eggs stuck in some areas.
Cooking an Egg With the Orgreenic Pan
After the debacle with the old frypan, I got my new Orgreenic pan out and decided to put the label to the test. Could I cook with no spray or butter at all? Yes, I could! Now, I didn't try to glide the egg around the pan exactly like the ad, but try cooking with no spray in a non-stick pan.
I also broke an egg on this pan, making sure to make a good mess. Keep in mind, I had no cooking spray on the pan. It easily, and I mean easily, came off with mild soapy water. No more soaking a pan for hours, yay!
I would say a tiny bit of spray, butter, or oil would certainly help things out, but I mean tiny. Or you could try water, as some vegans do when cooking. Yes, you might miss the taste of eggs that had to float in butter, but that brings up the next point.
What Kind of Cook Are You?
If you went to the Paula Deen school of cooking as I did, you tend to find joy in butter, oil, and cooking spray. If you use enough of this to float the eggs in, the type of pan won't really matter. But if you are cutting back to be healthier, the Orgreenic pan will shine.
Even when I used no cooking spray at all, my new pan still released the food with minimum fuss. I'm not saying I'll never use butter or oil again, of course I will. But I can use less and save money over time, and my health as well.
The two items shown are the overwrap that protects your pan and the inside seasoning instructions. The smaller circle also has your warranty, so don't lose it!
Does the Orgeenic Pan Save Money?
Yes, for me it does. I didn't have to use any cooking spray, and even if I did, it would be at least half of the spray my poor old pan used to take. I also noticed it cooked the egg on a much lower heat, evenly, and had to be covered for less time to set the top.
In fact, it cooks so quickly that you might want to shut off your burner and cover faster than usual for a simple tasks like eggs. Now, the label of course goes the other way. Orgreenic points out the high temps it can withstand means even faster cooking times, thus using less energy.
Either way, you'll spend less time cooking and cleaning pans.
What Is PFOA, and Why Is the EPA Banning It?
According to the EPA official site, PFOA is: "Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a long-chain perfluorinated chemical (LCPFC) that does not occur naturally in the environment. LCPFCs are synthetic chemical substances with special properties and hundreds of manufacturing and industrial applications."
The problem is that these artificial chemicals are now being found in our environment and in people. The serious adverse birth defects in lab animals is causing the EPA to ask companies to stop using the chemical in ways that release it into the environment, but at the same time, the site also states: "The information that EPA has available does not indicate that the routine use of consumer products poses a concern. At present, there are no steps that EPA recommends that consumers take to reduce exposures to PFOA."
So no, you don't have to throw out all your Teflon and other non-stick pans. And although artificial PFOA is being banned, it is more to protect the world around us from a build-up of a chemical the EPA isn't sure of.
You can get the whole story plus links to in-depth articles on PFOA at the Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Fluorinated Telomers fact site, courtesy of the EPA.
But, and I stress this is a but, some folks feel that whatever a pan is made of, minute amounts of it transfer to the food when cooking. The EPA confirms this. So if you do have health concerns over PFOA or PTFE, an Orgreenic pan is the perfect solution.
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What on Earth Is PTFE?
Thanks goodness for Wikipedia's Polytetrafluoroethylene entry! PTFE is: "Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene that finds numerous applications. The best-known brand name of PTFE is Teflon by DuPont Co."
Even though the EPA site sees Teflon as safe, the Wikipedia entry goes on to show it can degrade at high temps, and even broiling at 500 degrees can cause it to degrade. This releases fumes that have been known to kill birds and give humans flu-like symptoms.
Considering how many times I need to put something in a hot oven, which runs at 350, I've already exceeded the limits the smallest detectable amounts of these fumes start to release at. I don't know about you, but I'd rather use the Orgreenic and skip something the EPA wants banned from environmental release. But please keep in mind that PTFE is used in a wide range of products, and we have as of yet no clear linkage between human health issues and cookware.
But if it is bad for the environment, and your cookware will eventually end up there, why not go green with Orgreenic?
Peanut Chicken and Rice: Test Drive Your Pan
Want to take your pan for a test drive? Let's make some super-yummy peanut chicken; something you know would be a mess in other pans!
- Cooked chicken
- Peanut Butter
- Meat Seasoning
- Pull chicken off of bones or open a can; I don't judge.
- Mix with meat seasoning.
- Melt butter in the pan, add chicken, tossing to coat in butter.
- Add enough peanut butter to coat chicken.
- Toss; keep warm.
- Instant Rice
- Peanut Butter
- Cajun Spices
- Put all ingredients in pot; bring to a boil. (See package directions to figure out rice and water portions.)
- Spices and such are to taste so use your own good judgment.
- Cover, let stand, serve topped with chicken when ready.
It Works on the Grill Too!
Here you can see my Orgreenic pan with the oil bubbling away happy to crisp up some Colony Fries. These babies got fried three times in all and the Orgreenic pan came to no harm being overheated coals.
Want to make these fries?
- French Fries
- Colony Sauce
- Vegetable oil
- I bought my fries, but you can bake them at home. Either way, take fries you have ready and fry them up the night before after frying burgers doused with colony sauce in your pan.
- Allow pan and fries to cool, put in the fridge.
- The next day after the grill is fired up add several tablespoons of oil and your twice-cooked French fries.
Colony fries are done when crisp, and they have a wonderful steaky taste to them. Heavenly!
© 2012 Nightcat