Ask any seasoned chef and they will tell you that the best cookware is made out of copper. The qualities that make copper a superior material for cookware are also the features that make copper pots and pans extremely sustainable kitchen utensils.

Here are 3 reasons why:

Precise cooking conserves resources.

Professional chefs in top kitchens rely on stock pots, saute pans, and bowls made of copper. That's because copper is a superior heat conductor when compared to metals like iron and stainless steel. In fact, a copper pan conducts heat 20 times better than a similar stainless steel pan and five times better than an iron skillet.

This means that when you lower or raise the flame under a copper pan, it will respond rapidly to the decrease or increase in temperature. You can cook fast and create gourmet dishes that caramelize quickly without toughening up your meat or fish.

This saves on gas and electricity over time, since you don't have to run burners on high for a long time to bring pans up to the proper temperature. Sauces also simmer more evenly, and egg whites whip up the best in copper bowls, meaning you'll have far fewer culinary failures and spend much less on wasted ingredients.

A healthy kitchen is a sustainable kitchen.

Historians date the use of copper vessels to people who lived in the Middle East 9,000 years ago. Water and oils were often stored in containers made of it. Ancient people seemed to understand that copper kept them healthy, although they may not have understood the precise reasons why.

Now scientists realize that copper has antibacterial properties that inhibit the growth of bad germs on food and in water. They know that our bodies need a bit of copper, since it's present throughout our cell structure.

While you can't safely heat foods in copper-lined pans, you can whip eggs and mix non-acidic ingredients in pure copper bowls. The antibacterial properties of the bottoms and sides of copper pots and pans do have the benefit of being a poor conductor of germs, so they help your kitchen stay cleaner. You're less likely to spread bacteria to family members, too. Being healthy is as green as it gets, because you aren't using extra resources to get well.

Copper cookware has become more durable.

The introduction of stainless steel linings in cooking vessels has made copper cookware stronger and less prone to scratching from sharp utensils. While a bit of conductivity is lost compared to traditional tin-lined copper cookware, it's not enough to offset copper's heat-holding benefits.

Some chefs still swear by tin-lined copper, but many would admit that it requires more care and maintenance than stainless-steel-lined pots and pans. However, tin linings can be re-laminated, while stainless steel linings are not able to be replaced just yet.

Being durable and long-lasting is a feature of sustainability, but so is the fact that you can clean copper with natural ingredients like salt, vinegar, and ketchup. Copper does need regular attention to stay attractive, but you don't have to use harsh cleaners and polishes to get the job done, and that's a nice green feature, too.

It's true that copper turns green if it's left outdoors, but it also turns indoor kitchens green.