Why We Use Copper Kettles for Our Toffee
Vern's Toffee House is hardly a pioneer in using copper kettles to make our small batch toffee. In fact, we're late to the game by about 9,000 years. Copper artifacts dated back to 9000 BC were discovered in the Middle East, and the Egyptians are thought to have used copper vessels for storing water and oil. By the 1800s people discovered that copper was an excellent material for cooking utensils since it was a good insulator and had superior heat conductivity.
Although we hardly think folks back then used those exact words, they were absolutely right. Copper heats five times better than iron, and twenty times better than stainless steel, spreading the heat across the surface of the pot or pan more evenly than either of these materials. And it is just this excellent thermal conductivity that allows for precise temperatures controls. By simply increasing or decreasing the flame's intensity, a cook can instantly change the temperature of the pot, reducing the possibility of scorching.
When you consider the precision of heat control this long-appreciated metal allows, it's simple to see why we use copper kettles for making our Vern's English toffee. Our toffee makers are able to heat the kettle up quickly, secure in the knowledge that the heat will spread evenly across the surface of the kettle, then cool it down quickly. And some of these experienced artisans may venture to say it is this quick cooling that they value most, knowing only too well how quickly sugar can burn. A copper kettle is also lighter than a cast iron one so it's energy efficient for our cooks, but it's also an energy saver for the environment since its heat conductivity and accumulation means we use less energy in our toffee making. And as if these were not enough reasons to see what we continue to use copper kettles for our almond toffee, copper is toxic to germs, giving copper kettles an antibacterial property. And one more - copper is 100% recyclable, making it "green", and here in Fort Collins, Colorado, green is good.