Types of ceramic cookware
In recent times, ceramic non-stick cookware has become known as one of the most popular types of cookware on the market and it is advertised as a safe alternative to Teflon. Ceramic coating offers the benefits of non-stick cooking surface without the dangers of PFOA, a potentially toxic chemical used in the process of making traditional non-stick coating.
There are actually two different kinds of ceramic cookware which are: Pure ceramic cookware and cookware with ceramic-like coating. They are composed of various materials and differ significantly in terms of performance.
A lack of labeling regulations may lead to confusion for buyers who are considering purchasing modern non-stick cookware. To make an informed purchase, potential buyers need to take some time to educate themselves on the differences between these new types of “ceramic” cookware and classic ceramic cookware.
Differences Between Ceramic and Ceramic Coated Cookware
Pure Ceramic Cookware
100% ceramic cookware is generally made from clay, minerals and quartz sand. After the shape-forming process, the mixture is hardened by firing to vitrification at about 1915 degrees Fahrenheit. Ceramic cookware often undergoes a glazing process to get the decorative, waterproof surface.
Ceramic cookware made of clay is also called pure or classic ceramic cookware. The most reputable brands of pure ceramic cookware are Xtrema and Emile Henry.
Ceramic Coated Pots and Pans
Ceramic coated cookware is made of a metal such as aluminum that is coated with a hard film of polymer materials with a ceramic appearance. This coating contains binders, non-stick components, color pigments and reinforcing agents.
This non-stick coating is not permanent and degrades even under normal use leading to exposure of the metal base. Depending on the care and frequency of use of this cookware, it lasts about 3 to 5 years.
This ceramic coated cookware is often called ceramic non-stick cookware or modern ceramic cookware.
Classic ceramic cookware has a cooking surface and handle that is one piece. The vessels can be heavy and difficult to handle, especially when hot. Innovative pure ceramic cookware lines are made from a lightweight ceramic material and may have detachable silicone handles.
Ceramic coated cookware has ergonomically designed heat resistant handles that are attached to the pot with the rivets. In most cases, this cookware is much lighter due to the aluminium base and easier to handle compared to 100% ceramic pots and pans.
100% ceramic cookware can be used in the microwave oven while the ceramic coated cookware can’t go in the microwave, due to its metal core.
Pure ceramic cookware retains heat in the ceramic walls and keeps the meals hot long after the heat has been turned off, while thin ceramic coating of metal cookware cannot retain heat after the heat source is turned down.
Metal utensils won’t damage pure ceramic pots and pans. However, certain brands of ceramic cookware like Xtrema recommend using wood, bamboo or silicone utensils, because metal utensils can leave metal particles on the hard ceramic surface or leach metals when used for cooking.
Metal utensils are generally not recommended for most of ceramic non-stick cookware because metal may scratch soft interior ceramic coating and cause it to wear out faster.
Traditional ceramic bakeware is perfect for baking and use in the oven. Pure ceramic cookware can handle oven temperatures of up to 2000 ° F, so you can use it safely under high temperatures.
Older and less expensive brands of ceramic coated cookware are recommended to be used in an oven only up to 450 F°. However, the newest brands of ceramic coated cookware like Skanpan cookware have reinforced interior coating and stainless steel handles and can withstand oven temperatures up to 850 F°.
Modern ceramic coated cookware is made of stainless steel with an aluminum core to ensure maximum heat distribution (from aluminum) and to ensure compatibility with induction cooking ranges (stainless steel). Pure ceramic cookware is not compatible with induction ranges, but it can be used on induction stove top with an induction plate.
Pure ceramic cookware has a vitreous surface that is impervious to liquids and is dishwasher safe.
Ceramic coated cookware generally requires hand washing because the dishwasher detergents can wear out the non-stick surface.
After dipping in a glaze formulation, pure ceramic cookware must be fired in the kiln long enough to undergo a process known as vitrification to make the body impervious to water. After proper vitrification, the surface is safe for contact with food. Pure ceramic cookware which comes from reputable manufactures is made of clay which is properly tested and fired. Such ceramic cookware is non-reactive and non-toxic and it is safe for food preparation.
Modern non-stick cookware is made with new technologies, such as nanotechnology that has still not been proven to be completely safe. More research should be done to examine the impact of these technologies on the environment and to determine the safety of ceramic-like coated cookware.
Image courtesy of Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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