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#194122 - 03/09/16 10:27 PM Aluminum Pot Cooking? Is it really safe?
jrigg Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/08/16
Posts: 11
Loc: Indiana

So, this is a my third post on the forum.....and will be many more, I am full of questions smile So as far as cooking, I know that homemade aluminum pots are pretty popular. The heiny pot, fosters pot, the IMUSA or Main Stays grease pot. But is cooking in these pots safe? I mean, I can see using food grade aluminum, and that is what you will find in pop and beer cans, but what about the main stays or IMUSA grease pot? are those food grade aluminum.....and again, it is still safe. I mean, can it really be that bad. I am sure most of the forum have used this type of cooking method for years with out any trouble and I know that even Walmart carries a light weight aluminum cook kit. So you may have to file this under in the "goofy question" file. But I have always wondered this. I mean, it cant be any worse that cooking with non stick cook ware right?

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#194125 - 03/09/16 11:50 PM Re: Aluminum Pot Cooking? Is it really safe? [Re: jrigg]
rodwha Offline
member

Registered: 06/25/11
Posts: 131
Loc: Texas...for now
A very good question and one I cannot truly answer.

We have the Optimus Terra Lite HE cookset. From what we read it seemed that hard-anodized aluminum was safe.

I also use a large aluminum pot to brew beer. From what I read boiling water added a grey layer of oxide. This is visibly noted. How effective it may be is controversial.

We didn't feel the concerns with an aluminum camping cook set was a big issue as we wouldn't use it often (up to once a month at best).
_________________________
Bob


"Were I to leave where else would I go? Your words of life and of truth You hold." - Third Day

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#194127 - 03/10/16 12:48 AM Re: Aluminum Pot Cooking? Is it really safe? [Re: jrigg]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2802
Loc: NorCal
No problem, full stop.

Aluminum conducts heat really well, so isn't great for drinking out of (burned lips) but otherwise is Safe as Milk for cooking. (That's a Captain Beefheart album, for you youngin's).

Cheers,
_________________________
--Rick

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#194128 - 03/10/16 01:23 AM Re: Aluminum Pot Cooking? Is it really safe? [Re: Rick_D]
JustWalking Offline
member

Registered: 01/12/16
Posts: 124
Loc: PNW
Originally Posted By Rick_D
No problem, full stop.

...That's a Captain Beefheart album, for you youngin's...

Cheers,


Showing your age there Rick.... :-)

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#194131 - 03/10/16 08:25 AM Re: Aluminum Pot Cooking? Is it really safe? [Re: jrigg]
wgiles Offline
member

Registered: 05/19/14
Posts: 140
Loc: Central Illinois near Springfi...
Aluminum cookware is generally safe as long as you are not cooking acid or alkaline foods. Aluminum does form a layer of aluminum oxide on its surface and that layer reduces contact with pot contents. Hard anodized aluminum is better. There really is no food grade aluminum, just different alloys. The softer alloys will be more common in cookware, since they are easier to form. Most aluminum food containers that might be affected by the food inside them have a thin plastic coating on the inside. The plastic coating will burn off when heated, so they are not a good choice for cooking, but may be OK for drinking. You will have to decide whether the plastic coating is better or worse than no coating. Since most of what I do in camp cooking is to boil water, I don't worry about it.

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#194144 - 03/10/16 02:35 PM Re: Aluminum Pot Cooking? Is it really safe? [Re: wgiles]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1726
Loc: Napa, CA
Originally Posted By wgiles
Since most of what I do in camp cooking is to boil water, I don't worry about it.


And there you go! That's how we see it.
_________________________
balzaccom

check out our website and blog: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/home

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#194147 - 03/10/16 04:20 PM Re: Aluminum Pot Cooking? Is it really safe? [Re: balzaccom]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6391
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
There was folklore going around in the 1970's and 80's that aluminum contributes to Alzheimer's, which has since been shown to be completely false. You will get some aluminum oxide and eventual pitting of the surface by cooking acid foods, such as tomatoes. Most of us just boil water to rehydrate foods, so that isn't an issue.

The grease pot is built to contain hot grease, so it is food grade (people do reuse grease). The main issue with the grease pot is that it's easily dented. The cost of replacing a dented grease pot every year or two takes quite a few years to equal the cost of one titanium pot, though. However, I ended up getting titanium after a couple of years with the grease pot.

However, cans are a different story--they are lined with plastic which does contain BPA, which is released by heat. What is controversial there is, how much BPA is harmful? The US Government doesn't think it's an issue. Other governments do. I personally won't use a can for cooking and try to avoid canned foods, but you need to research and make up your own mind.



Edited by OregonMouse (03/10/16 04:21 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#194149 - 03/10/16 06:58 PM Re: Aluminum Pot Cooking? Is it really safe? [Re: jrigg]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3570
Loc: Texas
My main cookware is a Mirro aluminum "mess kit" I bought in 1983. It's got two pots, two plates, two cups, and I strip it down to one pot only, most of the time. It's uncoated, happily oxidized/stained, beautifully discolored from various stoves and fires over the last 3 decades. I would't trade for it for anything. My car-camping percolator coffee pot is also a Mirro aluminum, and makes amazing coffee, also at least 20 years old.
But...when talking about aluminum as cookware, there are differences. Cook pots made from beer cans are plastic coated to protect the metal from acidity of the beer. That plastic bakes off into your food, so I stay away from it. I went through a phase of homemade ultralite cookware, and went back to my Mirro aluminum, as well as a paper thin Mirro stainless cook pot....a little to small for two people, so I favor the aluminum pot. Uncoated, food grade aluminum cookware is becoming harder and harder to find, since most now gets coated with non-stick surfaces. Grease pots make good cookware if you can find it (Walmart!). I don't own any titanium.
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#194153 - 03/10/16 09:41 PM Re: Aluminum Pot Cooking? Is it really safe? [Re: Dryer]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1362
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Of course:
1. Some people say eating food cooked in aluminum makes you crazy
2. Many ultralighters use aluminum cookware

Makes you wonder (and might explain why they (me) will pay $200 to save 1.5 ounces)....

smile

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#194156 - 03/10/16 10:38 PM Re: Aluminum Pot Cooking? Is it really safe? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3570
Loc: Texas
Glenn, I think the crazy part came long before the aluminum cookware part. LOL cool
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#194160 - 03/10/16 11:26 PM Re: Aluminum Pot Cooking? Is it really safe? [Re: Dryer]
Glenn Roberts Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1362
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Are you referring to you, me or both of us? smile. The "me" almost goes without saying.

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#194163 - 03/11/16 09:00 AM Re: Aluminum Pot Cooking? Is it really safe? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3570
Loc: Texas
Yes. LOL (me, for sure) grin
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#194172 - 03/11/16 02:38 PM Re: Aluminum Pot Cooking? Is it really safe? [Re: Dryer]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2853
Loc: Portland, OR
I find plenty of ways to spend unnecessary money to save minimal amounts of weight, but I have not yet succumbed to the allure of titanium. smile

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#194175 - 03/11/16 03:58 PM Re: Aluminum Pot Cooking? Is it really safe? [Re: aimless]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6391
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
What I like about titanium is that it doesn't hold heat, so I can pick up the hot pot without pot holders. Also, after 10 years and lots of mistreatment, my Ti pot is still as good as new. Like expensive down sleeping bags, Ti is a long term investment. And it is several ounces lighter than a comparably-sized good quality aluminum pot.

On the other hand, the feature of not holding the heat makes titanium horrible for actual cooking! If you want to cook, spend the money (and extra weight) for a nice anodized aluminum pan.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#194178 - 03/11/16 04:46 PM Re: Aluminum Pot Cooking? Is it really safe? [Re: OregonMouse]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3570
Loc: Texas
Quote:
And it is several ounces lighter than a comparably-sized good quality aluminum pot.


How so? Aluminum is still quite a bit lighter than Titanium.
Aluminum is 1.56 oz. per cubic inch.
Titanium is 2.6 oz. per cubic inch.
Thicker aluminum pot than titanium maybe?

I've looked at Ti pots in the past but I'm too much of a cheapskate to buy one.
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#194181 - 03/11/16 05:46 PM Re: Aluminum Pot Cooking? Is it really safe? [Re: Dryer]
wgiles Offline
member

Registered: 05/19/14
Posts: 140
Loc: Central Illinois near Springfi...
Titanium is much stronger and more rigid than aluminum and titanium cookware is thinner than aluminum cookware. Since it is thin, there is less thermal mass and it doesn't hold the heat. The thermal conductivity is lower than aluminum, but the titanium is thinner, so the heat gets trough. Titanium cookware should not be left over a flame empty as it will get very hot very quickly and could warp. Aluminum isn't as sensitive since it conducts the heat away and re-radiates it. That said, an aluminum flashing wind shield will warp from the heat because the flashing is so thin. I like titanium, but not so much that I would abandon my aluminum. When the cookware is small, the weight savings isn't that much, so it comes down to personal preference.

Edit: spelling


Edited by wgiles (03/11/16 05:47 PM)

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#194183 - 03/11/16 08:21 PM Re: Aluminum Pot Cooking? Is it really safe? [Re: wgiles]
Jim M Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/03
Posts: 242
Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
this is one of those "things". There very well might be flying saucers and big foot may be lurking behind every tree, there just isn't any good evidence of them. Aluminum might be unhealthy, but there isn't any evidence other than one study done in Canada that could not be replicated anywhere in the world. By the way: Titanium might be harmful, though I don't believe for a minute that it is. "Titanium compounds are considered physiologically inert. There is no reported cases in the literature where titanium as such being toxic." A quote from "Dangerous properties of industrial materials, by N.Irving Sax page 1033 (edited slightly by me, but no change in meaning).
_________________________
Jim M

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#194184 - 03/11/16 09:20 PM Re: Aluminum Pot Cooking? Is it really safe? [Re: Jim M]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3570
Loc: Texas
Jim, good post! One of my best pals is a food process engineer for big companies you've heard of, tasked with upscaling recipes to rail tank car size. We got in a discussion of all the different chemicals and minerals added to our food, and why. Titanium is in just about everything that requires "white"...toothpaste as an example. Aluminum is used in large scale brewing (Guinness is famous for it.). Clay, compounds from fish swim bladders, on and on. My trusty Mirro aluminum cook set has spanned all the controversy, and will outlive me! (i'll pass it down to my kids who grew up with it) Granted, humanity has made deadly mistakes over the years, radium watch dial paint, x-ray shoe measuring equipment, , arsenic/lead based makeup and paint, etc,. Those kinds of things pass in a relatively short amount of time. Aluminum, iron, and titanium are some of the most plentiful elements on Earth, in our soil, all around us. Titanium is in our medical implants, gold/silver/mercury in our teeth, steel and aluminum in our kitchens. Life expediencies increasing. I think it's all ok.
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#194193 - 03/12/16 01:22 PM Re: Aluminum Pot Cooking? Is it really safe? [Re: Jim M]
Jim M Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/03
Posts: 242
Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
Glad you liked it. Jim KE7IXM
_________________________
Jim M

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#194194 - 03/12/16 01:26 PM Re: Aluminum Pot Cooking? Is it really safe? [Re: Jim M]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3570
Loc: Texas
In 7 land, I see! Do any HF?
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#194203 - 03/12/16 11:48 PM Re: Aluminum Pot Cooking? Is it really safe? [Re: Dryer]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2802
Loc: NorCal
Yup, Ti pots are super thin to compensate for the heavier material. I'm continuously impressed at how strong the stuff is,

Cheers,
_________________________
--Rick

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