It has just been brought to my attention that Pyrex cookware has been receiving some attention from Consumer Reports via the Consumerist. I love glass cookware and I will continue to use my glassware for baking, however there are a few precautions one should always use. Glass, even tempered glass is fairly rigid and doesn’t conduct heat like metal, therefore it’s subject to what’s called thermal shock. If the glass is exposed to uneven temperature extremes, it will try to expand or contract unevenly and can crack or shatter.
Some of you are sitting there going, gee Heather this is all common sense. Maybe for you it is.
A lot of people have only used metal cookware, which can warp, but doesn’t have that tendency to shatter. Since this is Home Ec 101, I try to cover all the basics. Heck, I remember shortly after I graduated high school one of my roommates attempting to make macaroni and cheese in one of my glass dishes, on the stove top. It didn’t go as she planned. To be fair, I did more than my fair share of stupid things in that phase of my life.
Glass is fragile¹.
It’s like it’s made of glass or something. . .
Do not use cracked glass bakeware. Do not bang metal utensils on the edge, do not juggle your cookware, drop it on the floor, and expect it to be good as new. Glass doesn’t heal.
Never use steel wool on glass bakeware. -Thanks Mike!
To avoid breaking your glass cookware through thermal shock:
Never pour boiling liquids into cold or room temperature glass cookware.
Never pour cold liquids into hot glassware. This includes, trying to rinse the item out. (You also shouldn’t do this to cast iron or stainless steel, either).
Don’t immerse hot pans in cold water.
Never take a glass casserole directly from the freezer and place it into a pre-heated oven.
Do not take a glass dish straight from the oven and place it on a granite counter top. Use a hot pad to protect the dish.
Never heat a glass dish directly on a stove burner.
Don’t place glass cookware on a cold, wet towel. Use dry hot pads, cloths, or towels.
Finally, cut yourself some slack we all screw up. Sometimes we don’t see the puddle of water on the counter or act without thinking. A broken dish is a pain, but not the end of the world. If your glassware breaks after cooking. Do NOT serve or eat the food it contains. Broken glass fragments can be tiny and hard to see, it’s just not worth the risk.
¹Ever notice how words can appear misspelled when you look at them too closely? Fragile, just looks bizarre to me.