Copper pots can be an absolute dream addition to your kitchen but also a nightmare to maintain — and in some cases, they can be dangerous to use.
Let me explain: Copper pots are considered reactive cookware, which means the metal is reactive with acidic and alkaline foods. In other words, when you’re cooking with tomatoes or lemon juice, your food may take on a slightly metallic flavor. Now on the plus side, these metals are great conductors of heat which means they cook food evenly and adjust their temperature very quickly — so it’s not all bad right? [related]
The food that’s cooked in copper pots tends to pick up chemical elements, which means you’re unknowingly ingesting metals like copper and iron! When you cook with copper regularly, the effect can become poisonous. And earlier this month, the state government of Iowa even issued a directive that the Moscow mule cocktail shouldn’t be served in its traditional copper mug.
You’ll know if you develop a copper toxicity, as you’ll start to feel symptoms like nausea, headaches, vomiting, and stomach pains and will have a strong metallic taste in your mouth. Although it is rare, if you do develop copper toxicity it can result in heart problems, jaundice, Wilson’s disease, and potentially even death.
So next time you’re thinking about a swanky new kitchen toy or making your home look like a spread out of Architectural Digest, you might want to think twice about your splurge item, because these pots are definitely not for everyday use. Some of these newer companies try to offer the best of both worlds by manufacturing pots with a copper base and lined with a non-reactive material like stainless steel.
But you know, that’ll cost you a pretty penny.