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Object of the Week: Copper Cookware

Recent research reports that copper kills coronavirus. Cook with copper and outfit your shelter projects with this metal.

Copper pots and pans look so good hanging above your kitchen island or presented on your kitchen shelves.  Having them conjures nostalgia, perhaps memories of beloved dishes by our grandmothers.  But not only do they hold this charm.   Using copper cookware or serve ware is encouraged for their health benefits.

In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian holistic health system that aims for a balance between the mind, body and spirit, copper is believed to be the best metal with which to cook rice.  “Copper is related to sun and fire, therefore it helps increase Agni (fire) in the body—so indirectly, it will also increase metabolic rate,” says Dr. Perumbuduri Naresh, senior Ayurvedic physician at the Ananda Wellness Resort in the Himalayas.

It is known to have anti-microbial properties, killing E.coli within 90 minutes of contact, within room temperature.  Similarly, research has shown that the influenza virus is killed by 75% after an hour of incubation period on the metal, and by 99.9% after 6 hours.  Fungal spores were also found to have died at an increased rate on copper, in comparison to aluminum.

In a New England Journal of Medicine report, The National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Princeton University stated that the coronavirus was detected in copper aerosols for up to four hours.  Meanwhile, the virus is detectable on cardboard for up to 24 hours and on stainless steel for up to three days.

In a report, Dr. Michael Schmidt, professor of microbiology and immunology at Medical University of South Carolina says, “The metal is highly conductive and electrons are constantly moving back and forth, he said, and that “schizophrenic” behavior creates the anti-microbial action.”

While copper is already used in smallwares for the kitchen and serving,  we haven’t seen it much used in design as a surface because though it gives a lovely aged patina over time, it dents easily, making it more fragile as a finish than its stainless steel counterparts.  It is also much more expensive than other metals we commonly see as a material for home FF&E.

These new findings show us that our grandparents were on to something when they kept all of their copper cookware.  We certainly hope that they make a comeback on your stoves.  We also predict that we will see more of copper as a finish on all manner of tabletop trinkets, hardware and plumbing at home, from candlesticks to faucets.

Banner image by Oleksandr Kurchev on Unsplash

Portrait Thumb by by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Lagostina and Fleischer and Wolf copper cookware available in Crate and Barrel.