Have you ever wanted a functional unit of cookware that is equal parts durable, easy to clean, and a sight to behold aesthetically? Then we recommend that you look into porcelain enamel cookware! These are underrated essentials for the kitchen that many people seem to overlook because the idea of porcelain cookware can seem a little hard to comprehend.
However, as we will see, porcelain enamel cookware is actually made sturdier by combining it with various rock compounds and firing at high temperatures. With the ceramic coating, not only does its aesthetic value increase tremendously, but it also makes the cookware useful for a variety of purposes. Let’s see if it is viable to invest in porcelain enamel cookware.
What is Porcelain Enamel?
Porcelain enamel can essentially be categorized as a kind of glass. While the name itself may be slightly misleading, porcelain enamel is not composed entirely of porcelain only. While porcelain is made of a certain kind of clay called kaolin added with several other rock compounds, the procedure for making porcelain enamel cookware is slightly different.
The latter includes melding porcelain with other metals at extremely high temperatures. These metals may range from cast iron to steel to aluminum. This combination is what gives porcelain enamel its sturdiness and its distinctly nonstick quality. Enameled cast iron pans are a good example of this. I discussed about it in my guide to the types of nonstick coatings. Now that we have looked over a brief overview of the composition of this substance let’s look into some porcelain enamel pros and cons.
Advantages Of Using Porcelain Enamel Cookware
1. Versatility in Cooking
If you’re someone who prides themselves on cooking a wide variety of cuisine, then you will definitely find a use for porcelain enamel cookware. This versatility and ability to be used for almost all purposes in the kitchen comes from its multipurpose storage function.
You can basically do anything with porcelain enamel cookware – pop it in the fridge, oven, microwave, or even any sort of stovetop. This makes it perfect for one-pot recipes, and this means less cleanup at the end of the meal!
2. Does not allow food to stick
While cooking, you may have noticed just how smooth and convenient it is to be using nonstick cookware. This magical property of cookware makes it possible for you to use less lubricating substances in your food, such as butter or oil. This natural nonstick property of porcelain enamel cookware comes from the nanoparticles present on the cookware’s surface.
These nanoparticles help in enlarging the microscopic spaces on your cookware, so there are fewer chances of building friction between your food and the surface of the cookware. Because of the ceramic coating in porcelain enamel cookware, the nonstick property of the pan/pot is enhanced even further.
3. Extremely Easy to Clean
Owing to the aforementioned nonstick quality of porcelain enamel cookware, it naturally follows that they’re also extremely easy to clean. In the next section, you will find a detailed account of how to clean porcelain enamel cookware in an efficient manner – don’t worry, it’s an easier process than your other nonstick cookware!
Additionally, you may have noticed that all nonstick cookware requires to be seasoned a couple of times every year or even after every few weeks. This is not the case with porcelain enamel cookware, as you do not require seasoning the cookware in order to preserve the nonstick quality of it! So if you’re someone who thinks it’s a hassle to partake in the maintenance of your cookware, then you’re going to be very satisfied with porcelain enamel cookware.
Porcelain enamel cookware is often considered the holy grail of durable cookware. What makes porcelain enamel cookware exponentially more durable than, say, aluminum or Teflon cookware is the ceramic coating that is put on top of it. This coating ensures that no amount of cooking can wear away at the surface.
So if you’re going to be taking good care of your porcelain enamel cookware, then you have no reason to worry about the durability. This is also why porcelain enamel cookware is passed down as heirlooms between generations, so it’s good to invest in one even if they might be on the higher side!
5. Very Safe to Use
If you’re wondering, “is porcelain enamel cookware safe,” then you can rest assured. Porcelain enamel cookware safety is one of its finest features. Owing to its versatility, this cookware can cook acidic substances of all kinds – and you will not have to worry about the release of any toxic fumes either.
Cast iron, Teflon, and aluminum, after they’re used intensely for long periods of time, are under the danger of releasing harmful airborne substances. That is definitely not a problem with porcelain enamel cookware.
6. Heat is spread Equally
It’s always good to have your food cooked equally on all ends and surfaces, especially if you’re consuming any type of meat. In porcelain enamel cookware, heat is spread equally to all parts of the food to ensure that you’re getting the maximum nutritional value you can out of it.
Disadvantages Of Using Porcelain Enamel Cookware
1. Rough Usage can decrease durability
If you want a set of cookware that you can just throw together for rough and frequent usage, then maybe porcelain enamel cookware is not the one for you. These are fragile due to their physical properties, and while the nonstick surface of the cookware may be unharmed – the ceramic coating placed on top of it can definitely incur some scratches.
Due to their aesthetic value, this may cause the cookware to look like it has undergone tremendous wear-and-tear and may considerably affect the pot/pan’s look. Additionally, if you put them under extremely high heat, there is a chance that the ceramic coating itself may begin to wear away, so exercise caution!
2. Higher cost
The durable and all-purpose nature of porcelain enamel cookware is something that reflects in its pricing as well. This sort of cookware is something that needs investing – so if you’re looking for a set of cookware to cook in for daily usage, then perhaps this is not what you’re looking for.
Since these are cookware units that will accompany you across generations as heirlooms, then it only makes sense that the higher-end brands are extremely pricey. And while there is cheaper porcelain enamel cookware, you want to invest in one that’s the best quality.
3. Can be Unwieldy
Porcelain enamel cookware can be extremely unwieldy to use, especially compared to the lightweight aluminum and Teflon cookware that you may previously be used to. These can be on the heavier side and maybe quite the hassle to store and take out repeatedly. On the bright side, it makes them extremely sturdy to the point that some professional chefs actually prefer these over lighter cookware.
They can also chip extremely frequently, so if you’re not very careful with them, then you may find cracks on the ceramic coating or elsewhere in the cookware. It’s also not recommended for you to use any abrasive cleaners to clean these, as it might also contribute to the damage of the ceramic coating.
How to Clean Porcelain Enamel?
As said before, porcelain enamel cookware does not react well to abrasive cleaners such as steel scrubs. The ceramic coating of this sort of cookware is extremely fragile, meaning that you have to be careful not to induce cracks or scratches in it at any rate. It is possible that if the ceramic is cracked, it may enter your food and may thus be potentially hazardous.
To avoid all of this:
- Be very gentle while cleaning your cookware.
- Make sure that there is no food residue left for longer durations on the surface, as it may lead to chipping.
- Make use of a dish sponge and some soapy hot water to clean the surface.
Most porcelain enamel cookware is dishwasher safe, but always check before you pop them in!
As you may also have concluded, porcelain enamel cookware is an extremely worthy investment. It has its disadvantages, of course, but it comes right down to what your needs in the kitchen are. If you’re looking for cookware that looks good, is easy to clean, and will last you across decades, then this is definitely the purchase for you.
All you need to do is invest a higher sum of money into it and be very careful with storing it – as they can be very fragile and the last thing you want is a damaged, expensive product. Other than that, this is an eco-friendly purchase that you definitely won’t regret!