When talking about enamel cookware, it is important to note that enamel is not the material from which pans and pots are made. Instead, it is simply the material used as a coating. The underlying materials of enamel cookware are the metals such as copper, aluminum, cast iron and stainless steel. The enamel coating used on metal items is known as vitreous enamel.
This coating is created by firing glass powder under very high temperatures to form a viscous fluid which is then applied onto the metal surface where it cools forming a smooth hard protective coat. Enamel technology has been in existence for centuries with some of the earliest articles made with this technology dating as far back as the Roman era. Enamel was applied to items for aesthetic purposes but began to be considered seriously as a protective mechanism on cookware in the eighteenth century.
Today, enamel cookware is still widely used in kitchens across the world for various reasons. With advancement in technology and chemistry, enamel cookware has increasingly made a distinct impression on cooks and chefs worldwide, leading to many positive enamel cookware reviews. The following are some of the advantages and disadvantages of enamel kitchenware.
Advantages of Using Enamel Cookware
- Aesthetic Appeal
Enamel is a dynamic material as far as color is concerned. Blue was initially the most common color but in recent decades, white, red, green, yellow and orange enamelware have surfaced depending on the specific type and chemical composition of enamel applied. Color adds life to any home and kitchen, and enamel does not disappoint here. Beautiful multicolored enamel is also available and the rich, homely quality they add to the kitchen is unparalleled. Their beauty is a welcome addition to any kitchen and the overall culinary experience.
- Protects the Underlying Metal
As mentioned before, enamel is a coating applied on metal. Metals such as copper, aluminum, and stainless steel which have varying degrees of reactivity are protected from any form of scarring and scorching by foods. Enamel is smooth, hard, durable and it makes for a formidable barrier ensuring the continued safety and long life of your kitchenware.
- Does Not React With Food
Even the more stable metals such as stainless steel can react with food. Enamel is a smooth hard surface which is highly stable regarding its chemical composition. On pots and pans, it can be used comfortably without the danger of reacting with food. Top-grade enamel cookware has been used successfully used with acidic foods without reacting or combining with elements in the food. This quality makes it the safer choice for health-conscious cooks. This stability also means that the taste of food is not compromised, and therefore, this cookware produces tastier meals as well.
- Easy to Clean
The smooth surface unique to enamel makes it a very easy item to keep clean. It can be cleaned safely in a dishwasher and since food does not stick to its smooth, glossy surface, simply washing it with warm water and soap is another possible option. Disuse does not affect enamel cookware as long as it is kept dry. It needs no additional polishing and maintains its look without additional maintenance.
- Heat Resistance
Enamel Kitchenware can be used on strong flames without being damaged provided it is not empty. It will easily stretch to accommodate the expansion of the underlying metal without cracking or breaking.
Enamelware can be used in many cooking processes. It can be used for boiling, frying, sauteing, and grilling. Apart from microwaves, it can be used in all other types of ovens.
Several characteristics contribute to the durability of enamelware. It can last for a long time because it is chemically stable. Thus, it resists damage such as rust, fading, and tarnishing; it is scratch resistant, it does not burn or crack easily, and it is not corroded by food.
Disadvantages of Using Enamel Cookware
- Heat Conductivity
Enamel is glass, so it is a poor conductor of heat. This means its presence on your metal pan may affect how food cooks and contribute to wastage of energy.
Enamelware is stain resistant, but light colors such as white can stain badly when used with potent foods with rich, dark juices. Once stained, enamel takes on a very unsightly appearance which for most cooks is enough reason to replace it making it an unfortunate loss.
Due to its hardness, enamel surfaces can chip. Enamelware requires delicate handling so it cannot be stacked on one another. It should not be dropped or used with metal cooking utensils because it will begin to chip away. Once chipped, enamelware cannot be re-layered, and the underlying surface is exposed to rust and damage rendering the entire pot unusable.
- Cadmium Poisoning
Cadmium is a toxic substance that is found in some of the oxides used to create color in enamel. Though it is rarely used anymore in the manufacture of enamelware and has been banned in countries like the United States and Canada, in countries where strict guidelines are non-existent or unenforced, enamelware containing cadmium in the glaze may find its way into homes posing serious risks to health.
You may choose the best cast iron cookware to stay safe. Go here to find out the best cast iron cookware reviews.