To select the best non-reactive bowl, choose one that is affordable and feels the agreeable in hand. Some people prefer a lighter weight glass or plastic bowl, while others prefer heavier weight stoneware. Another consideration is storage space. A deeper, more upright bowl fits better in some cabinets, while a shallower and wider bowl fits better in others. A non-reactive bowl can be used for all baking chores, so it is not necessary to have multiple bowls.
Preparing foods that are acidic or salty often requires the use of a non-reactive bowl. A non-reactive bowl is any bowl made of glass, stoneware, or stainless steel. Untreated aluminum and copper are examples of reactive materials. Some foods prepared in a reactive bowl may dissolve the metal slightly, leaving a metallic taste to the food, and altering the color. While not usually dangerous, it is unappealing.
Because storage can be a challenge in many kitchens, select a bowl that is versatile. A bowl that is wide and shallow makes an excellent choice for marinating meats, particularly if it also has a lid. Marinating is one of the circumstances where a non-reactive bowl is often called for. The acidic ingredients in the marinade can react with copper or metal. The meat, marinating in the liquid, can pick up a slightly "off" taste. This will not usually make anyone sick, but can change the flavor of the meat.
A deep, high-sided glass bowl can also make a good choice for the kitchen. Use it for regular mixing chores, but also set it aside for fancy desserts such as trifles. Fruits and fruit desserts also benefit from using a non-reactive bowl. The acids in the fruits can react with metals in a reactive bowl. In addition to leaving behind a metallic taste, the chemical reaction can alter the color of the fruit, as well as any whipped cream or pudding that is in the bowl.
The one instance where a reactive bowl may be preferred is while whipping egg whites. Whipping the egg whites in a copper bowl creates peaks faster and more easily, due to the reaction between proteins in the egg whites and the copper. Copper bowls can be expensive, however, and it is probably not worth the investment for occasional use. Other ways to efficiently whip egg whites into stiff peaks include bringing the eggs to room temperature before starting, making sure there is no yolk with the whites, and using a bowl that is perfectly dry.