Over the recent past, ceramic cookware has gained popularity and is now a buzzword in many cooking circles. A lot of claims have been made, and the chatter is endless.
Proponents of the supremacy of ceramic over other materials for cookware claim that it is as safe as houses; but are ceramic pans safe for health? Is it the best material for cookware? Here is the truth.
Benefits of ceramic cookware
Is ceramic cookware good? This is a vital question that many people grapple with. Unfortunately, this question cannot be answered in a mouthful before a careful examination of facts. However, it is no secret that ceramic cookware offers many benefits. These are some of them:
1. Unparalleled versatility.
You can use ceramic pots and skillets for a host of different purposes; from baking in the oven, Sautéing, browning or even broiling. This is because ceramic withstands temperatures as high as 2700 degrees Fahrenheit.
Nonstick cookware can only take a small fraction of that heat before they become damaged. Likewise, other materials like stainless steel and iron cannot take as much heat.
Even more impressive, ceramic cookware can take sudden cooling without cracking or be being damaged.
2. It retains heat longer than other cookware
Ceramic cookware retains heat for much longer periods than any other cookware. This is especially important for slow cooking processes such as baking and steaming. This cookware utilizes heat more efficiently resulting in lesser fuel consumption.
3. It is easy to clean
Ceramic pots and pans are almost non-stick due to the use of a naturally occurring compound called silicon dioxide that provides a repelling action for oil and water. As a result, food is not easily burned and does not stick at the bottom of the pan or pot and oil does not stick. Cleaning is, therefore, easy.
4. It allows for healthier cooking
Just like with non-stick cookware, ceramic cookware allows cooking with little or no oil. This is because the food is not strongly attracted to the surface of the pot. Food can be cooked with its natural juices producing a more authentic flavor while reducing the use of unhealthy oils.
5. Ceramic cookware is natural and safe
Ceramic cookware is made fired up clay and usually, contains no chemicals. Nonstick cookware contains potentially hazardous chemicals that become active when its heated for just a little while. The U.S Environmental Protection Agency has termed these chemicals as likely cancer causing. Stainless steel and aluminum can leach and contaminate your food. Ceramic cookware is safe and environmentally friendly.
Why ceramic cookware is good for health?
Tests fronted by the Environmental Working Group have found out that the most popular nonstick material for cookware called Teflon is to blame for countless pet bird deaths and have potentially detrimental health effects on humans.
Likewise, other popular cookware materials such as stainless steel and iron contain a mixture of many elements including nickel, molybdenum, copper etc. These metals can leach out and are potentially harmful when ingested.
With ceramic cookware, there is no risk of leaching of metals or ingestion of harmful chemicals, and there is no harmful coating that is likely to disintegrate.
Is stainless steel better than ceramic?
Although Stainless steel is a suitable pot for cooking owing to its good heat conductivity, versatility, and that clean, polished look, ceramic cookware is better in the following ways.
1. It retains heat better.
2. It is more versatile
3. It is easier to clean
4. It is safer than any other because there is no chance of leaching
5. It has better nonstick properties
Limitations of ceramic cookware
As much as ceramic is an ideal material for cookware, it has several limitations as outlined below
1. Larger cookware items such as pots made entirely of ceramic are heavy. If you are cooking large amounts of food, you might end up straining when removing the pot from the fire.
2. To improve appearance and to prevent corrosion by acidic foods, ceramic cookware may be glazed. Some glazing elements can contain dangerous chemicals such lead which can be harmful if it finds its way into food
3. Ceramic cookware is prone to cracking especially if it falls hard. Its longevity is, therefore, subject to special care.
4. While ceramic cookware retains heat for a longer period, it takes more time to heat up compared to stainless steel, aluminum or iron.
5. Ceramic cookware made of low-grade clay that has not been properly cured can contain active elements such as arsenic and silicone that can be harmful if consumed.
6. If cost is a factor to consider, ceramic cookware is not the cheapest option.
While no serious concerns have been raised over stainless steel, aluminum or cast iron cookware, Ceramic cookware is probably the safest option there is.
Although it might not give you as much convenience as nonstick cookware, it is definitely worth the trouble. A good quality set will last you a long time and will see you through many healthy moments.