Choosing the right cookware can make a difference in how you prepare meals and your attitude towards cooking. Before settling for a specific pan, you should weigh each cookware’s pros and cons.
You can choose cookware made from a specific material and weigh its uses. Here are enameled cast iron cookware pros and cons that help you understand its efficiency and use it in the kitchen.
What Is Enameled Cast Iron?
You must have seen an enameled cast iron in the market without knowing it; it is dense and thick cookware that stands out. Cast iron is traditional cookware that ancient societies have used as it does well in open fires.
Cast-iron cookware can last for centuries, which might be why it was used by ancient society. Most people still enjoy using this centuries-old cookware, and they are an essential part of the kitchen.
However, the varieties used to cook on the stovetops, oven, and camping are enameled.
So what is enameled cast iron? When the cast iron is coated with enamel, it is called enameled cast iron. The enamel protects the cast iron against rust and damage. The enamel also adds slow cooking to the cookware.
The enamel also prevents the need to season the cast iron metal before cooking, thus preventing food from sticking on the cookware. The enamel will extract the flavors from the food
Is It Safe To Cook Foods On An Enameled Cast Iron Cookware?
Enamel iron is safe to use as the enamel surface forms a protective layer on the pot, preventing rusting. Moreover, the enamel prevents food metal leakages with bare cast iron cookware.
The enamel layer on the cast iron improves the food taste and color, making it appropriate for vinegar and tomatoes. Moreover, the enamel surface extracts the flavor and prevents food from sticking on the cookware surface.
Read more: How safe enamel cast iron for cooking?
Pros of Enameled Cast-Iron Pans & Pots
· Enameled Cast iron is durable
Cast iron by itself is durable, and that is why it was the most loved cookware by ancient societies. The cast iron can last for centuries with continuous cooking, and the enamel surface adds to its longevity.
Grandma hand-me-down cast iron cookware is favorite in most kitchens; although manufacturers don’t make the enameled cast iron as thick as they used to, they are still durable.
Moreover, the enamel ensures the cookware stays in good condition by keeping out rusts and stains. It reduces the need to season the food and prevents it from sticking on the cookware surface, thus increasing its longevity.
· The cast iron retains heat well
Cast iron retains heat well compared to other cookware leading to proper cooking. It does not drop the heat even with a non-stable heat supply, making it suitable for camping where you can cook on open fires. It can cook any meal effectively due to proper heat distribution.
· Improves food flavor
The enameled layer leads to slow cooking, which effectively cooks certain meals. Slow cooking brings out a food’s flavor. You can easily sear meat on an enameled pan easily creating a crisp and brown crust due to heat retention.
You can preheat an enameled pan in an oven and throw in a cold pizza to create a crispy surface.
· It has non-stick properties
Enameled surface creates a non-stick surface without using chemicals that would be hazardous to your health. The enamel coating offers the same cooking experience without making the food stick on the cookware.
The cookware is the best alternative to non-stick Teflon pans made from the synthetic non-stick coating.
· Does not rust
The cast-iron pans rust as the iron on the surface oxidizes at high temperatures; however, the enamel layer on the cookware protects the surface from oxidation.
Although you can season the cast iron cookware to prevent rusting, you should always go for the enameled cast iron as it is more effective against rusting. However, the edges might rust as they are not coated with enamel and are prone to oxidation
The traditional cast iron pans were junky and thick due to poor design; however, you can enjoy cooking with cast iron due to the sleek design. The cookware has smooth, slick, and modern and has different colors.
You can add dynamics to your kitchen with different enameled iron designs and colors. The designs are more forward-looking compared to the traditional cast iron pans
Cons of Enameled Cast-Iron Pans & Pots:
· Enameled cast iron pans are poor heat conductors
The enameled only retains the heat well but does not conduct the heat effectively. Without a proper heat supply, the cookware might not distribute heat evenly, leading to improper cooking.
The enameled cookware part which directly gets the heat will be hotter, while the other parts away from the heat might be cooler.
Thus, you can prevent uneven heating by using a large burner almost the size of the enameled cast iron pan. Before cooking your food, you can let the pa heat up for a while to increase heat distribution.
Once the pan is preheated, it might retain the heat, but you should ensure a constant heat supply.
· The pans are heavy
Although the enameled cast iron pans have a sleek design, they are heavier than the average cookware.
You should choose average size cookware to avoid problems such as carrying it into the oven. However, the pots are not as heavy as the cast irons due to innovative designs that reduce the pan’s bulkiness.
· The enamel cookware handle might get hot
The enamel pot handles might get hot, but you can choose pots made from wooden materials. Cast iron gets hot quickly as it is made from one material, but designers create enameled pans with wooden handles.
· The enamel surface might crack due to abuse
The enamel surface might cark without proper care, revealing the underlying cast iron. Cracks on the enamel might lead to metal leakage into the food, which is hazardous for your health.
Cracks also expose the enamel cookware to rust and make the food stick on the cookware. The enamel pot needs proper storage, and people with smaller storage should be creative on the storage design to avoid chipping
· It requires proper care
Although every user should learn how to use the enameled pot, not everyone follows instructions due to negligence.
Therefore users can damage their cookware due to negligence, and users should follow instructions when using the pans to elongate their lives.
How to Care For Enameled Cast Iron Cookware?
· How to clean the cookware
Good care and cleaning can elongate the cast iron cookware’s life and prevent the enamel layer from damage. Cleaning is an important part of enamel cookware care, and you should start by allowing the cookware time to cool down before pouring cold water.
If you immerse the enamel cookware directly into the cold water before it cools down, it might warp.
You can clean the cookware with warm soapy water to remove oils and food residues from the pan. Wash the cookware properly with a soft brush when food particles are on the surface. Sometimes the food might be extra sticky, and it would be better to soak the pans in hot water before scrubbing the pan.
Finally, rinse the enameled cast iron pan thoroughly with cold water and dry it with a towel right away. Drying might prevent the rims and edges, which are not protected from rusting.
Air drying the cookware exposes the rims to rusting, making the inner iron cast rust, thus impacting the enamel surface.
· How to remove residues from the cookware
The food does not always stick on the enameled cast iron, but food debris can cake on the walls, and you should clean the debris without damaging the pan. First, fill the pan with water and boil it over the stove, as hot water easily loosens up the food stuck on the walls.
You can use a wooden spoon to scrape the sticky food from the enameled surface, and it would be better to avoid using a metal spoon as it damages the enamel surface.
Sometimes stains might be developed on the enameled cast iron pot due to sticky food or chlorine in tap water. You should try removing the stains with a rug first.
But if they are tough, you can clean them with bleach and avoid scratching the enameled surface at all costs. Mix bleach and water in a 1:3 ratio, pour it into the pot and rest before cleaning.
· How to care for the enamel pot against chipping
The enamel surface is susceptible to chipping, especially if you drop it or hit it with heavy objects or other utensils. A cracked enamel coat exposes the cast material used to manufacture the pot leading to rust and metal leakage to the food.
Thus, it would be better to avoid metallic spoons when cooking with the enameled cast iron as the metallic utensils can damage the surface. Avoid working aggressively on the cookware to avoid chipping and avoid using rough scrubbing material when cleaning the pan.
Preheating the enamel pan can cause warping due to the different expansion rates between enamel and iron.
Wrapping causes stress on the enamel, making the unit crack; thus, it would be better to place the food first in the pan before placing it in the stove or oven.
This pan does not need high heat, and it would be best to only cook at high heat when dealing with heavy liquid meals like soup or stews.
Drastic temperature changes impact the enameled cookware; thus, if you want to cook food in an oven, it is better to start with the lowest settings and increase the heat as the food cooks.
Moreover, when removing the enamel cookware from the heat source, you can let it cool down before immersing it in cold water.
If you remove the pan and dip it in cold water, it leads to rapid cast iron contraction.
At the same time, the enamel could contract slowly, and the contrast in the expansion and contraction rates causes stress on the enamel leading to chipping.
· How to store your cast iron pan
Enameled cast iron pans are resilient due to their high weight, thickness, and composition, and the weight makes it difficult to store the cookware. Stacking the enameled cookware is not good for the utensils, as it can lead to enamel surface chipping.
You should consider placing the enameled pan on a shelf or rack as they are beautiful, and the display will make your kitchen look beautiful.
However, if you don’t have enough storage room in your kitchen, you can use a buffer to prevent the cookware from friction. Rubber trivets, bubble wraps, dishtowels, and other paddings work best when storing the pans with other equipment.
The dos and don’ts of the enameled cast iron pan
1. Although some manufactures might promote their cast iron cookware as dishwasher-safe, it is better to avoid washing the cookware in the dishwasher. The dishwasher’s water can be aggressive on the delicate enamel surface.
Some dishwashers have a high drying temperature which can cause rapid enameled cast iron expansion and contraction; instant temperature fluctuations are not good for enameled iron.
2. You should not expose the bare enameled iron to the stove unless food is already in the cookware. Preheating leads to warping, which causes enamel chipping.
3. Don’t use metallic utensils or spoons when cooking with enameled cookware, as the metals can chip the enamel
4. Cats iron is magnetic, and you can use it in induction cooktops, gas and electric, and ceramic heat source ranges.
5. Clean stains using bleach instead of scrubbing the enamel surface to avoid scratches which impacts the quality of the cookware
6. Dry the enameled cookware soon after cleaning to prevent rust from forming on the edges
The ancient generations used cast iron cookware, which was passed down throughout the centuries. Although the cast iron cookware is effective, the enameled cast iron cookware has changed the game.
It is rust-resistant, does not leak metals, and can cook acidic food. However, users have to learn proper care skills which prevent limitations such as enamel chipping and warping.