When shopping for cookware, you are most likely not to think about how the type of pans and pots may affect the safety of the food you eat.
Instead, you are considering the cost, durability, conductivity, and other valuable traits.
Yet, cooking on particular cookware material can see you eating more than the recipe ingredients placed in the pot. So, when it comes to cooking, is enamel cookware safe?
Read more about: Enamel cast-iron pros and cons.
Is Enameled Cast Iron Safe for Cooking?
The answer is yes! Enameled cast iron cookware is among the safest options because of the hardened enamel coating that surrounds the whole cookware.
This prevents the iron molecules from leaching into your food, unlike the uncoated cast iron cookware.
Enameled cast iron is corrosion-free, does not rust, is non-stick, acid-resistant, and an excellent heat conductor and distributor that can withstand high temperatures.
These characteristics make it a safe option because it minimizes the risk of health issues linked with cookware made from other materials.
So, if you are searching for safe cookware for your kitchen, the enameled cast iron cookware is one of the safest options available out there.
The Advantages of Cooking with Enameled Cast Iron Cookware?
As stated earlier, enamel cast iron is one of the safest cookware materials available. Let’s look at some of the benefits of cooking with enameled cast iron cookware.
One of the properties that attract most people to using enamel cookware for cooking is the non-stick properties. This property makes it easier to cook food without burning.
The non-stick surface prevents the food from sticking or burning, making cooking food and cleaning the pot easier.
This also plays a significant role in enhancing the safety of your cookware.
· Prevents iron contamination
Using pure cast iron cookware can leach iron into your food. This causes high iron levels in your blood which can be harmful. Fortunately, enameled cast iron cookware provides a safer option to cook your food.
The enamel coating prevents the food from interacting with the iron, so there is no fear of iron leaching into the food.
Enameled cast iron cookware is also very durable compared to other cookware. The higher quality brands can easily last a lifetime and possibly be passed from a generation to another.
· Easy to clean
Enameled cast iron cookware is easy to clean, thanks to the non-stick surface. Food particles and stains glide on the slippery enameled surface much easier, preventing any debris from remaining stuck.
· Rust free
Different from the plain cast iron cookware, enameled cast iron cookware is not prone to rust. Cast iron cookware easily rust if not well seasoned or kept in humid conditions for an extended period.
Enameled cast iron features a coating layer that prevents it from rusting. The only exception is if the enameled surface is chipped, exposing the metal to conditions that might cause rust.
· Excellent heat conduction and holding
These types of cookware are excellent conductors and heat distributors. More so, enamel cast iron pans and pots hold heat well, which makes them ideal for transferring to and from the oven.
They are a great cookware option for cooking stews, soups, meat, sauces, and fish dishes.
Since being established, enamel cast cookware ware has exponentially grown in terms of designs and colors.
The cookware is available in a range of attractive designs and colors that matches your kitchen décor.
Another vital characteristic of the enameled coated cast iron is that it is corrosion-free.
The cookware won’t corrode with other metal cookware. This means that using enamel cookware will not corrode the surface or contaminate your food.
With enameled cast iron cookware, you can prepare any food, whether alkaline or acidic. Enamel-coated cookware is non-reactive with acid making them an excellent option for using it for cooking acidic foods.
Hence, you can use acidic ingredients such as lime juice, lemon juice, vinegar, tomatoes, orange juice, and wine without worrying about the acid reacting with your cookware.
· Wide range of options
Today, enamel cast iron dishes are available in a wide range. You can choose from many options, from a heavy-set enamel frying pan and saucepans, quaint Scandinavian enamel teapots, and the classic enamel casserole dish.
· It can be used on all stove types
Another advantage of cooking with enameled cast iron cookware is that you can use it on all heat sources, including the oven, grill, and stove.
You can use the cookware on electric, gas, and induction stoves. You can also use it to store food at different temperatures in a freezer, a fridge, dining table, or as a serving dish.
· Withstands extremely high temperatures
Enameled cast iron pots and pans are exceptional when it comes to withstanding high temperatures.
This makes them ideal for braising, roasting, searing, and stir-frying without overcooking or burning the food.
They are also not left with a difficult-to-remove food coating due to their non stick properties.
In What Cases You Have to Avoid Enameled Cast Iron Cookware for Cooking?
While enameled cast iron cookware is safe and has plenty of benefits over regular cast iron cookware, one of the main drawbacks is that it is expensive.
This cookware cost about three times more than the plain cast-iron dishes or pans.
Therefore, if you are on a limited budget, enameled cast iron cookware might not be the best option for you.
Another drawback of using enameled cast iron is that they are among the heaviest cookware.
Pans, pots, and vessels made of enamel-coated cast iron are relatively heavy compared to other materials, especially if you are using them for cooking daily.
While most professional chefs might prefer to have the cookware as part of their kitchen, most of us would prefer lighter options.
Additionally, the enamel coating is prone to chipping. The coating can crack, chip, or shatter easily when banged, hit, or exposed to sudden temperature changes.
So, if you have metal cooking utensils, you should avoid using enameled cast iron cookware to avoid chipping. The more appropriate cooking utensils to use with this kind of cookware include; silicon, wooden, and nylon utensils.
Being fragile, the manufacturers recommend hand washing enameled cast iron cookware. Therefore, if you always use a dishwasher to clean your cookware for one reason or another, this won’t apply to enameled cookware.
If you can’t wash the enameled cast iron cookware gently with soft sponges and brushes, you better avoid cooking with them.
Can You Cook Acidic Foods in Enameled Cast Iron?
Yes! You can safely cook acidic food in enameled cast iron. The enameled coating is resistant to alkaline and acidic foods, making it OK to cook using acidic ingredients.
This is different from using cast-iron cookware in which the acid reacts with the bare iron metal.
You can still season the regular cast iron cookware to cook acidic foods, but this is not as convenient as getting an enameled cast iron.
Is Enameled Cast Iron as Good as Cast Iron?
To put the point straight, enameled cast iron is better and an advanced version of cast iron cookware in many aspects.
Traditionally, most people used cast iron, but they now use enamel cookware. However, most people still use cast iron for its heat retention properties and more affordability.
With cast iron cookware, you don’t have to reheat your food between two servings.
However, because the iron cast cookware has been made with unprotected metal, it may release some iron into the food when cooking.
While this can be beneficial to some individuals, particularly those with iron deficiency, excess iron may be harmful to others.
One of the advantages of using enameled cast iron cookware over cast iron is that they are non-reactive to acid.
Cast-iron pan reacts to the acidity in food ingredients like tomatoes, releasing more iron into your food. This makes them less ideal for cooking acidic food in a cast iron pan.
However, if you properly season your cast iron, it will be safe for you to use it for cooking acidic food.
This is because the leached metal molecules will not be harmful, and the metallic taste will only emerge after a particular amount of cooking.
More so, the iron cast pan is susceptible to rusting. It hence requires to be seasoned regularly.
This involves heating oil in a pan, which can be a time-consuming and smoky process.
In contrast, enameled cast iron cookware doesn’t suffer from any of such issues. The metal’s non-stick and non-reactive surface coating protects it from corrosion by acidic foods preventing the release of iron.
This cookware is also rust-proof.
How Do You Care Your Enameled Cast Iron Cookware?
There are numerous things you can do to care for and maintain your enameled cast iron cookware. First, the enamel cookware coating is primarily made of glass.
Hence, there is a risk of damaging or chipping the coating if you drop or hit it or change the temperature too fast. You should hence ensure not to run a hot pan under a cold tap. Always leave the cookware to cool before washing.
It is also recommendable not to use metal implements on enameled cast iron. Such as wire wool for cleaning or cutlery for stirring as it can scratch the glass surface.
More so, the enamel cookware on glass top stoves can cause problems if the base is not enameled because the cast iron might scratch the glass.
If the enameled cast iron cookware has a chip on the interior surface, it is recommendable not to use it for cooking. Otherwise, the chip can become more significant, causing some pieces of the enamel to chip off into your food.
Vintage enamel cookware is popular and environmentally friendly, but if they are internally damaged, it is best to avoid using them. However, the damaged cookware won’t go to waste; you can reuse them as a decorative fruit bowl or flower pot.
How To Clean Enamel Cast Iron Cookware
Cleaning your enamel cookware is one of the key ways in which your cookware can get damaged. It is hence essential to understand the proper way to clean your enameled cookware safely.
The easiest way to clean it is to use eco-friendly washing detergent, a little elbow grease, and a sponge to scrub away any food debris on the cookware gently.
If the enamel is still stained, you can put some soapy water in the pot and warm it to loosen the stains. This will make the debris easy to scrub.
If the enameled cast iron is still stained, you can opt for bicarbonate soda. You can do this by putting two tablespoons of the bicarbonate soda in four cups of water and boiling it in your enameled cast iron pot.
Alternatively, you can mix a bicarbonate soda paste and apply it to the stains directly, then scrub it off gently. You can similarly use vinegar or hydrogen peroxide in place of bicarbonate soda.
Lastly, always remember to dry the pans properly. After cleaning, dry the enameled cast iron cookware with a dry kitchen towel before storing them away.
How To Repair Chipped Enameled Cast Iron Cookware?
If the chipping is on the outside of the cookware, this is not a significant concern.
However, if the damages are linked to the interior enameled surface that comes into contact with your ingredients, it’s not recommendable to continue cooking with the pot.
If the damage is minor, you can use an enamel repair kit to repair the chipped enamel. Start by filling the chipped section with epoxy and wait for it to set and harden.
Before the surface dries, use a piece of baking paper to fatten the surface. After drying, sand it down to achieve the same level as the other surfaces and use a food-safe enamel to paint the repaired spot.
According to our review, enameled cast iron is a safe option for your cooking needs. The cookware is safer than regular cast iron in that it does not leach iron, is rust-free, has a non-stick characteristic, and cannot be eroded by acidic contents.
However, it’s relatively expensive, but the safety they offer is worth the value. So, when you are out looking to add your kitchen cookware, enameled cast iron is a better and safer choice.