There’s nothing we love more than filling our cooking and dining spaces with special kitchen heirlooms, but with added meaning comes added responsibility to care for your cherished pieces. Preserving kitchenware begins with careful storage and handling, but it also includes diligent cleaning and use. From ceramics to bakeware, this week’s roundup features tips on caring for your special items and keeping each piece in tip-top shape for many years to come.
As one of the most traditional hand-me-downs, silver goods are durable and can be easily resurrected with a quick swipe of silver polish. These stemmed silver-plated chalices are a great example of pieces that can really shine with the occasional gentle polishing. Tarnishing usually happens slowly over time, so if you notice your favorite silver pieces looking slightly duller than usual, it’s best to rub them with polish to prevent buildup. Performing a light polishing once or twice a year should help preserve the look and life of your silver pieces. In the meantime, do your best to store your silver kitchen items in low humidity and away from wool, which can expedite tarnishing.
Depending on the type of pottery your piece is made from, ceramic dishware may range from delicate to fairly robust. For example, these stoneware orbit mugs from A Question of Eagles are fired at very high temperatures to create a heavy-duty piece that stands up well to routine use. Try to avoid careless handling, especially with narrow handles or small breakable stress points, and reduce sudden fluctuations in temperature. Avoid pouring cold liquids into a hot mug or vice versa; sudden temperature changes can result in thermal shock and cracking.
Preserving your heirloom bakeware can help prolong the life of your kitchen heirlooms and therefore extend the number of practical baking uses you can get out of it. Vintage metal bakeware like this 12-cup muffin tin provides a highly durable and functional item in your kitchen. As with all metal pieces, this tin should be kept out of prolonged humidity (like the dishwasher) and hand-dried to prevent rust spots. You should also avoid scratching or scraping the surface of metal bakeware, especially when coated, and instead opt for using silicone or soft spatulas.
When it comes to preserving kitchenware, you may not often think of your textiles as being heirlooms in need of careful long-term care. However, linen fabrics and densely woven kitchen fabrics can often remain in households, and families, for many years to come with the right amount of attention. With 100% linen items like this European linen laundered linen dishtowel from Red House, hand- or machine-washing in cold or lukewarm water is much better than hot washes or dry cleaning. For best results, skip the dryer and hang to dry. Though ironing isn’t typically necessary with a heavier fabric like flax linen, you can steam iron yours on medium heat or iron your textile before it’s completely dry.
Care for your kitchen heirlooms by giving them the attention they deserve! Little habits (like selecting the proper spatula) and regular cleaning can make a huge difference in the life of a pre-loved piece. Preserving kitchenware is an easy way to protect your cookware investments and keep grandma’s bakeware exactly where it should be: in the oven, filled with goodies!
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