Is Enameled Cast Iron Cookware Safe To Use?
If you love cooking, there is a good chance that you own some fancy cookware for your home. Enameled cast iron cookware is pretty pricey compared to other types of cookware like standard iron, but it remains a popular choice in kitchens worldwide.
A big question people have before buying this cookware though is “is emerald cast iron safe to cook with?”.
The answer straight away is yes. Enameled cast iron cookware is safe due to its strong nature, lack of iron leaching, rust resistance, and has the benefit of being naturally non-stick.
These features mean that this cookware is safe since they decrease the risk of health problems caused by other types of cookware.
In this article, we will show you how much better enameled cast iron cookware is than standard iron cookware, and explain a few of the hidden dangers of iron cookware that you may not know about.
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What Is Enameled Cast Iron?
Enameled cast iron is protected against rust by a layer of vitreous enamel, which eliminates the requirement for seasoning. Furthermore, it is easier to clean and fits in a dishwasher or microwave.
It's a fantastic choice for slow cooking because it assists in flavor extraction. Enameled cast-iron cookware is visually beautiful due to the range of pigmentations.
Unlike cast iron, enameling eliminates the capacity of the material to withstand high temperatures and resist adhesion. Chipping the glazed layer can occur when a hot pot is overheated, dropped, or filled with cold water.
Enameled cast iron is mostly utilized in the kitchen since it offers the best results while cooking on a stovetop. Particularly enameled Dutch ovens retain moisture, which increases the flavor of the meal.
What Are The Benefits Of Using Enameled Cast Iron?
Unlike Iron, Enameled cast iron cookware comes with several benefits. Here are the main advantages.
Iron rusts eventually. Rusting is a chemical reaction between iron and oxygen in the air that results in the formation of iron oxide, more often called rust. While iron is dazzling in appearance, rust is reddish-brown.
While rusted iron being unattractive to look at is a downside to iron cookware, it can also be very dangerous to your health.
When rust and bacteria come into contact, an open cut you may have on your hand becomes more susceptible to infection. Tetanus, a potentially fatal illness, can arise from this. Tetanus is a bacterial toxin-induced nerve system infection that results in severe muscle spasms. This condition is potentially fatal.
So, enameled cast iron's resistance to rust is not just a convenience feature in that it eliminates the need to replace cookware once rust emerges; it is also a safety feature.
Because enameled cast iron is nonstick, food particles do not attach to the cookware after cooking.
Typical cast iron is nonstick when seasoned properly and often. Seasoning cookware entails coating it in oil and heating it to preserve its nonstick characteristics.
Seasoning enameled cast iron cookware is optional because it keeps its nonstick characteristics naturally. Using and washing the enameled cast iron will not remove or break down any of the non-stick features of the cookware either, as it is essentially built into the products.
Due to the nonstick surface of enamel-coated cast iron cookware, it is easy to clean. Food particles are unlikely to adhere to the cookware, which would make you do harsher scrubbing.
As you do not need to harshly clean the cookware either, it makes enameled cast iron last even longer as it will not become damaged through scrubbing.
While being non-stick makes cleaning super easy, this is not the only benefit of this feature. Being non-stick also makes them safer to use, as trace particles of food are less likely to attach to the cookware's surface and contaminate your next meal.
Will Not Leak Iron
The inert nature of enameled cast iron means that it does not leach iron when heated. The use of glass in the mixture gives enameled cast iron an inert characteristic. This is possibly the best advantage when it comes to using this kind of cookware.
This ability eliminates the possibility of extra iron leaking into meals due to the cooking temperature or acidity of the meal.
Due to this product's continual inertness, there is no possibility of iron overload, which can result in health concerns.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Enameled Cast Iron?
Though enameled cast iron comes with several benefits, no product is completely perfect. Here are some of the disadvantages of enameled cast iron cookware.
Though enameled cast iron cookware can be used safely in the dishwasher and microwave, they are far less durable than standard cast iron and have a life expectancy of just 3-5 years. To last even this long the products must be very well looked after.
The lack of durability in enameled cast iron is down to two factors. Firstly, the cookware cannot handle high heat like typical cast iron can, as high temperatures can make the material break down. Secondly, with rough scrubbing or if used a lot, the glazed coasting on the inside can easily come off.
May Leave Fragments In Your Food
This is related to durability. When the coating comes off the cookware, this does not happen all in one go but rather in small little chips. These chips can easily find their way into your food and are more likely to happen if you have used the product a lot over the years.
What Is Cast Iron?
Cast-iron cookware is formed entirely from molten iron, including the handle. It is an excellent choice for frying and searing because of its ability to tolerate and hold high heat. Additionally, it works well with braised food and stews.
Cast-iron utensils are thicker than comparable-sized cookware and can maintain heat for an extended amount of time. Cast-iron heavy-duty pots and pans have a high thermal mass, which enables them to retain heat for an extended period of time and continue cooking food even after the heat source has been withdrawn.
Cast-iron cookware includes deep fryers, skillets, waffle irons, woke, flat-top grills, crepe makers, karahi, and much more. Cast-iron is the greatest material for outdoor use and is a necessary camping item. They function wonderfully over an open flame, and there is no risk of ruining the finish.
However, cast-iron should be wiped clean after use or scrubbed clean with a stiff brush in mild soapy water and then coated with a thin coat of fat or oil, as this will preserve the non-stick nature of the item.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Standard Iron Cookware?
For decades, cookware has been made from standard cast iron. Iron has been used in cookware since humans discovered how to build tools from it.
Additionally, they are relatively priced, which contributes to their widespread popularity in kitchens worldwide. Considering all of this, how bad can cast iron cookware be?
Two main issues come with cast iron cookware, which are shown below.
Reacts With Acidic Foods
As you may know from your school chemistry lessons, acids can strongly react with metals. Iron is a metal that can have some of the most reactions. A well-known property of traditional cast iron cookware is its reaction with acidic meals, resulting in increased iron leaching.
Processed foods, lean meats like beef, and fish are all acidic foods. When cooked in ordinary cast iron cookware, the iron reacts with acids in the food, releasing more iron into your meal while it is cooking.
Not only can this leakage of iron because of the chemical reaction be dangerous to your health, but it can also ruin the meal. Often, you will know when your iron cookware has leaked iron into your meal because the food will taste bland and metallic. However, if you are cooking a lot of food in one go, you may not notice this bad taste.
Unanticipated and difficult-to-measure iron leaching. Is a huge issue with this cookware. Additionally, the level of iron leached depends on the cooking time, and the levels of heat applied to the iron cookware.
Leaks A Lot Of Iron
This was mentioned in the point above but here is a more in-depth explanation of this issue. One of the essential properties of regular cast iron is that it leaches iron into the food when used as cookware.
This is not necessarily detrimental—in the past, when iron levels in the diet were low, this was a favorable feature. Iron is required in sufficient amounts in the diet for appropriate growth and development.
People who suffer from iron deficiency would not find this feature damaging at all, but rather a very good way to boost back up their iron levels.
Another group of individuals who require iron supplements is those who are anemic as a result of iron deficiency. Anemia is a medical word that refers to a condition in which a person's red blood cell count is far below the average for a healthy person.
Because iron is essential for the production of red blood cells, anemia can arise from a dietary iron deficit. Fatigue, poor energy levels, and shortness of breath are all symptoms of anemia. As a result, some more iron may be beneficial for certain individuals.
However, nutritional science requires thorough monitoring of vitamin and mineral sources. As you can never be sure how much iron is leaked from cast iron cookware when it is used, this is not seen as a positive advantage to these products.
Cookware made of cast iron of differing grades can leach variable amounts of iron into the food. Consuming an excessive quantity of iron may result in a condition called iron poisoning.
When the body's iron levels are unusually high, iron poisoning develops. This may show as vomiting, nausea, or stomach pain.
Because the amount of iron leaching cannot be quantified, typical cast iron cookware is not regarded as fully safe.
Are There Any Advantages To Cast Iron Cookware?
Not everything is bad news when it comes to cast iron cookware. Here are some quick advantages that this kind of cookware has over enameled. Be sure to consider these carefully before deciding if cast iron is the correct cookware for you!
Very Long Lasting
If looked after properly, cast iron cookware may last you and your family generations. This cookware is very dense and heavy, meaning that it can withstand almost anything.
Can Handle Very High Temperatures
This is one of the biggest examples that cast iron has over enameled cookware. These products can withstand very high temperatures without breaking down, and also have excellent heat retention. This is one of the reasons why they are a favorite cooking product to take camping.
Even though cast-iron cookware is not available in vibrant colors and requires seasoning to maintain its qualities, enameled cast-iron cookware can cost up to three or four times as much. Due to the enamel-coated properties, it is exceptionally easy to maintain.
Summary - Is Enameled Cast Iron Safer?
Overall, enameled cast iron is far safer than the standard cast iron alternative. Cookware made from this material has several health benefits over cast iron.
While typical cast iron may leach iron into food, enameled cast iron does not do this. This effectively reduces the risk of iron poisoning.
Regular seasoning is required to retain the nonstick properties of cast iron, while enameled cast iron is naturally nonstick and doesn’t require seasoning. This prevents food particles from clinging to the cookware's surface.
Finally, while raw cast iron can rust, enameled cast iron does not. This removes the possibility of health and safety risks associated with rust.
Though enameled cast iron cookware is typically more expensive than standard cast iron, the pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to adding these products to your kitchen.