Aluminum is an Excellent Heat Conductor but Can also React Negatively with Certain Foods.
Aluminum
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Aluminum is an excellent heat conductor! Heat spreads quickly and evenly across the bottom, up the sides and across to completely surround the food being cooked. 

However, Aluminum can cause an adverse reaction (color changes or metallic tastes) if it comes in direct contact with acidic foods. Also because Aluminum is soft, be wary of using metal utensils (that might scratch bits of Aluminum from the pot or pan). Never cool sauces in pure unlined Aluminum pans, as the color and taste can suffer. The food could even become toxic as Aluminum from the cookware can leech into your foods at High Heats, or in a reactive situation. In some cases anodized Aluminum can also leech nickel into cooking food.

To learn more about cooking with Aluminum, check out Smart Kitchen's Lesson 3: Food Preparation Basics, Topic 7: Food Preparation Equipment, Exercise 2: Overview of Materials.

 To prevent contact with acidic foods, Aluminum pots and pans are often Clad or lined with non-reactive nickel or steel to make dual-clad or tri-clad pots and pans. Aluminum is also often Anodized

Generally, the gauge or thickness of an Aluminum utensil is one feature that determines its quality. Thicker Aluminum utensil's and cookware, are more durable and more costly. For this reason, the intended use of the cooking tool should be considered when making a purchase.

Season

Availability

Cultivation

Production

Many Aluminum pans are Coated or Clad with a nonstick coating. Due to its softness, Aluminum is often alloyed with other metals to increase its strength.

Varieties

Purchasing

When purchasing Aluminum cookware, the "Gauge," is usually described by a number. The smaller the number the thicker the Aluminum guage is. For example, eight (8) gauge Aluminum is thick (.125 inch); twenty (20) gauge Aluminum is thin (.032 inch).

If you have the option of working with a thicker Aluminum pot, pan or utensil, try to do so because at high heats thin Aluminum can warp. In Smart Kitchen, there are some more tips for Using & Caring for Aluminum.

Storage

Culinary Uses

Aluminum frying pans are particularly popular with consumers in that they help Sauté and Fry foods quickly.

Portion Size

Pairings

Substitutes

Nutritional Value

Nutrition

Gluten Free

Low Fat

Low Calorie