The history of making glass in India dates back to Indus Valley Civilization to about 1700 BC. Ancient texts such as Shatpatha Brahmana and Vinaya Pitaka have a mention of glass and glass making.
Many glass items have been excavated at places such as Beed, Taxila, Sirkap and Sirsukh. Kopia in Uttar Pradesh was the first local site to make glass.
Glass making is done in both organised and unorganised sector with about 55% of share of the former. 70% of the share of unorganised sector lies with the Firozabad district of Uttar Pradesh where this industry has been running since many generations. Glass utensils are made by the organised sector since these are made by special glass which can resist heat.
The technology of making hardened or toughened glass has leapfrogged. Now, it is possible to use glass utensils for cooking food. Most of these utensils are meant to be used for microwave oven-based cooking although some are also meant to be used over the stove-top.
Btw, we must mention here, that microwave is not a part of Indian cooking BUT over the last decade or two, microwaves have made inroad into the Indian kitchen, not for cooking but more for heating up the food. Glass utensil is one the better and more convenient option for microwave.
Glass utensils well-suited particularly for baking purposes as it is non-toxic, non-reactive and deliver better baking results. Glass is better than non-stick utensils as non-stick utensils are known to release toxins in food.
By its very nature, the glass does not interfere in any way with the components of the food. Neither does it react with the food being cooked, nor does it destroy any nutrient. This makes glass utensils one of the healthiest to cook food in.
Health benefits of Glass Utensils
Due their non-reactive and non-toxic nature, glass utensils do not interfere in the nutritional composition of the food being cooked. Therefore, all nutrition which is provided by the food are retained and these get assimilated in body.
Drawbacks of using Glass Utensils
1/6. The glass utensils have some serious drawbacks. These are prone to breaking. If the glass is not made with perfection and weakness remains at any spot, it will develop crack and break.
2/6. Rapid thermal contraction and expansion can also cause it to break down. If you try to add water during the cooking process, there are good chances of breaking the glass.
3/6. Glass utensils do not distribute heat equally through them. When used for stove-top cooking, certain points heat more than other, which leads to uneven cooking of food.
4/6. When used for deep-frying applications, it requires constant stirring and takes much longer time. This can be frustrating in situations.
5/6. Even though these are non-toxic, long-term water erosion and silicate glass sodium reacts with carbon dioxide in air to produce white crystalline carbonate which is not good for health. This has to be cleaned with alkaline detergent.
6/6. Certain types of glassware might contain lead which is not good for health. Therefore, it is suggested to soak this ware in vinegar to let it precipitate out.
Cleaning the Glass Utensils
Care needs to be taken while cleaning the glass utensils. These should be cleaned with non-abrasive cleaners. These are safe to use in dishwashers and since these are non-porous in nature, the leftover food particles can soak the water and get off the utensils easily.