Enamel cookware comes in different colors, shapes, sizes and design, which makes them very tempting to buy. Still, when it comes to cookware health should come first before any other aspect. Enamel cookware has been around for a very long time. However, the debate about whether enamel cookware is safe to use or not still goes on.
In this article we’ll discuss the safety of enamel cookware, how it should be used and key considerations when cooking with it.
What Is Enamel Cookware?
So before we get into any details, let’s start with the basics of what enamel cookware is. Enamel is a form of powdered melted glass fired under a very high temperature. Then, it’s applied on a metal surface to form a smooth non-stick hard coat.
This coat protects the core material of your pot or pan (which could be iron, steel or aluminum) and prevents it from rusting and reacting with your food. The enamel cookware is coated with enamel glaze from inside and outside giving it a smooth glassy look.
Why Is Enamel Cookware Safe?
There are many factors that can affect the safety of cookware. It is important to understand the material your cookware is made of and so how it will affect your food and your cooking process. Here we list for you the reasons why we believe enamel cookware is a healthy cooking choice.
Compared to bare cast iron cookware, enamel cookware coating prevents iron from leaching into your food. Which can lead to absorbing poisonous components.
Unlike uncoated iron, it doesn’t corrode from excessive usage in the long term. Therefore, the enamel cookware combines the heating properties of iron and the protective properties of enamel.
Enamel cookware is acid-resistant. The coating of the enamel cookware is non-reactive, so acid food like vinegar, lemon juice, tomatoes, and others can be cooked without the acid reacting with your cookware. That also makes it a good choice for various recipes.
Safe for High Heat Cooking
Enamel cookware withstands high heat. It can be used on the stovetop (whether gas, electric or induction stoves) and inside the oven. It can also be used for refrigerated food and with its vibrant colors, it can totally be a serving dish on your table.
What Not To Do When Using Enamel Cookware
There are a number of precautions that you have to be aware of when using enamel cookware so that it stays safe, in good shape, and effective in the long run. They shall help you make the most of your enamel cookware.
Sudden Changes in Temperature
Enamel cookware shouldn’t be exposed to sudden changes in temperature. Always give your pot or pan a chance to cool down after cooking and before you expose it to cold water for cleaning it. It also shouldn’t be exposed to heat immediately when out of the refrigerator.
Be careful not to use metal utensils. Heavy metal utensils can cause scratches and chips to the coating which makes it prone to cracking and can affect the non-stick surface efficiency, instead use wooden, silicone or nylon ladles and spatulas inside the pot or pan.
When cleaning, it’s better to wash the enamel cookware by hand using mild cleaners. You should avoid any abrasive cleaners, steel wool or scour pads. After cleaning your enamel pot or pan, you have to dry it properly and thoroughly with a clean piece of cloth. In case of stacking a number of pans or pots on one another put paper towels between them.
Hitting Against Hard Surfaces
Take good care not to bang your enamel cookware. While cooking and cleaning, it’s easy to forget this instruction. However, it’s important not to hit your enamel pot or pan against any hard surfaces like the oven, the sink, the floor or even bang the lid hard so the coating doesn’t break or crack in a short time. It’s also better to avoid stacking your pots or pans on one another if you can.
How to Choose Safe Enamel Cookware?
Before getting enamel cookware there are some aspects to consider and look for to make the most suitable choice for you and to make sure your choice of enamel cookware will serve your needs.
The brand of your enamel cookware matters a lot, and it’s very important to buy your cookware from a trusted brand.
For enamel cookware, cheap and badly produced brands may use cadmium-based or lead-based pigments in making the enamel coating. Lead and cadmium are toxic heavy metals that cause serious health damage.
Some of the cookware companies test their products for heavy metal leaching before selling them in the market.
Large enamel cookware may be considered heavy. For some people, heavy cookware isn’t the best choice for casual usage and so enamel pots and pans may be heavy because of the coating inside and outside.
Still, some prefer thick cookware to thin cookware in general and when it comes to certain recipes. That’s why you have to consider what you are going to use your enamel cookware for.
The Base Material
Heating differs based on the base material. Enamel cookware with an iron base is likely to take longer than one with a steel base to heat and reach your desired temperature. However, once heated up the heat remains evenly distributed across your pot or pan.
It’s important, as mentioned before, to avoid sudden changes of heat if you want your cookware to last longer. Heating when empty can also damage the coating.
Enamel cookware is generally expensive when compared to some other cookware options. The type of the base material (iron, steel or aluminum) affects the price as well. That’s why getting enamel cookware can be regarded as an investment in your kitchenware. All you need is to get familiar with its properties and usage.
Enamel is Prone to Damage
When purchasing enamel cookware it’s preferred that the coating be thick not to chip easily. However, the enamel cookware coating is prone to chip, break or crack if beaten to something hard or exposed to a sudden change of temperature.
In such a case, consider replacing your cookware so the chips don’t get in your food. The exposed iron will rust with usage if not cleaned and dried carefully.
The good news is that some companies have a lifetime warranty on their products in case of chipping or cracking.
Why We Like Cooking in Enamel Pots and Pans
Enamel cookware has many important features that make it a great addition to your kitchen. These features may also add comfort and fun to your cooking habits and techniques.
Here are some of the reasons why:
- Easily-cleaned as stains and food are smoothly removed from the non-stick surface.
- No seasoning needed because the glaze coating protects it from rusting.
- It’s durable and can last for a very long time if used correctly and taken care of.
- Vibrant colors that can match different kitchen designs.