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Old 08-30-2012, 10:51 AM   #1
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Copper Pot Safety Question

Hi,

Nice forum you have here.

I bought this great copper saucepan (by Copral in Portugal). It was expensive: $2 at a garage sale.

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It works well for cooking, but I want to make sure that it's safe. I assume that it's tin inside. I don't see any copper showing through, but as you can see, it's discolored. There are a lot of tiny bumps, like grains of salt, on the interior surface. They don't go away even with vigorous scrubbing.

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I use it primarily for making yogurt (heating the milk), and cooking things such as spinach.

What's going on, and is it safe to use?

- Al

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Old 08-30-2012, 11:21 AM   #2
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Howdy!
Welcome to D.C.!
I imagine it is coated with tin or a similar metal. I have a drinking vessel I use at Rendezvous that is made of copper and lined with tin. It looks just the way you describe your saucepan.
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:23 AM   #3
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Welcome to DC.

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Old 08-30-2012, 02:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PianoAl View Post
Hi,

Nice forum you have here.

I bought this great copper saucepan (by Copral in Portugal). It was expensive: $2 at a garage sale.

Attachment 15576

It works well for cooking, but I want to make sure that it's safe. I assume that it's tin inside. I don't see any copper showing through, but as you can see, it's discolored. There are a lot of tiny bumps, like grains of salt, on the interior surface. They don't go away even with vigorous scrubbing.

Attachment 15575

I use it primarily for making yogurt (heating the milk), and cooking things such as spinach.

What's going on, and is it safe to use?

- Al
Try to not get too vigorous with the scrubbing. Octagon or Fells Naptha brown soap and a dish rag should be adequate. Be careful not to melt the tin coating and use wooden or silicon rubber implements for stirring.
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Old 08-30-2012, 03:06 PM   #5
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That's a good fine. All my copper cookware has come from flea markets.

Don't be overly cautious of copper cookware. It's true that unlined copper reacts with acidic foods, and regularly cooking a lot of acid foods in plain copper potentially could cause you ingest enough copper to have bad effects, But it's said that there has never been a documented case of copper toxicity from cookware in the U.S. The body efficiently purges excess copper, leaving people with decreased liver function perhaps more vulnerable. But keep plain copper cookware polished to prevent the formation of verdigris, the green acetate of copper that is the source of most copper toxicity.

There's some speculation that unlined copper cookware might be safer than stainless steel, due to the nickle in the stainless, but neither is nickle much of a problem for people not allergic to it.

The tin lining is expected to wear over time and normally has to eventually be retinned, which is pricey. So cleaning with non-abrasive cleaners (Barkeepers Friend) is appropriate. And I use non-metallic tools with mine. And the tin will not stand extreme temperatures. It would be a mistake, for instance, to braise in a tin-lined pot at high oven temperature or to allow it to inadvertently overheat empty on the range.

Milk is mildly acidic, close to neutral, so it's not highly reactive with copper, even if you have some showing.
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Old 08-30-2012, 03:16 PM   #6
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Thanks, guys, good info.

When the tin lining has worn away, will I see copper through it?

I figure something (acidic, basic) had to discolor the lining. If I could get some of it, I could discolor the other part to match. Doesn't matter, of course.
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:25 PM   #7
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You're likley to taste the copper before it poisons you. I've had tea is the midwest made with copper laden water and moonshine distilled and condensed in copper. They both tasted like a 1 cent piece but have not had any ill after effects.
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:43 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by PianoAl View Post
Thanks, guys, good info.

When the tin lining has worn away, will I see copper through it?

I figure something (acidic, basic) had to discolor the lining. If I could get some of it, I could discolor the other part to match. Doesn't matter, of course.
You will see copper when the tin wears away. Even then, it is not so much a big deal unless you are cooking acid.


The tin lining will turn dark almost instantly. No harm done. Do not try to bring back the shine, you will lose the tin.

That pot doesn't appear to be in too bad of shape.
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:13 AM   #9
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Hi: Please be careful. What I see is you may have an aluminum pan which is just clad on outside with copper (CopperClad)and not a true copper pan lined with tin. See the name COPR-AL (It may be copper and Aluminum.) Copper clad aluminum pans are very cheap, very light weight. If you scratch the lining inside you will never see the copper inside, whereas if you scratch the tin lined copper pan you will see the copper inside.
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Old 05-10-2013, 11:10 AM   #10
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I would disagree. Copral is a Portugese maker of copper cookware. All Copral I have seen is copper and tin.

Copper in Portugese is Cobre. The name has nothing to do with the metal makeup.
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