Porcelain Enamel Cookware

Pots and pans made of materials, such as cast iron or aluminum that have had porcelain enamel applied as a coating. It prevents them from corroding or reacting with the food being cooked in them. A pan coated with porcelain should not be used for sautéing or frying but will work as a saucepan or roaster.

To care for porcelain enamel cookware, wash with hot soapy water. A nylon scouring pad, nylon scraper, or nonabrasive cleaner can also be used to help remove stuck on food. Porcelain enamel can be cleaned occasionally in the dishwasher unless it has a non-stick interior surface, but dishwasher use should be limited to avoid dulling the enamel surface.

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What Is Porcelain Enamel Cookware?

Porcelain enamel cookware refers to pots and pans made of metal that’s coated with a form of glass called porcelain enamel, which is bonded to the iron, steel, stainless steel or aluminum metal to form the body of the cookware. Porcelain enamel cookware from a host of manufacturers offers a huge variety of solid colors and designs on an easy-to-clean surface.

Quality Differences

Porcelain enamel provides a hard, lustrous finish that won’t scratch, corrode, fade or peel with normal use. However, it may chip or crack if the utensil is dropped on a hard surface. Most porcelain enamel cookware has an outside enamel coating, with teflon or plain metal on the inside. It comes in a wide range of prices. Price differences are based on metal thickness, number of porcelain enamel coats, color and design, and accessories such as covers and high-temperature plastics for handles. Better grades of porcelain enamel cookware have seamless coatings.

Enamelware

Enamelware is a variety of porcelain enamel cookware that’s distinguished by having a porcelain enamel coating on the inside as well as the outside. Enamelware has a base of steel, stainless steel or cast iron. The porcelain coating is applied after the utensil is formed to create a smooth, non-porous surface inside and out. Enamelware isn’t affected by heat, humidity or food acids and can be used to cook, bake or roast foods, or as a serving or storage utensil. Cheap enamelware can scratch or chip easily; high-quality ware has a thicker enamel coating that resists scratches and chips.

Cookware Cautions

Porcelain enamel cookware is very strong and durable, with excellent heat-transfer characteristics. It doesn’t react with acidic foods like tomatoes, and you can use any type of metal or plastic cooking utensils. But there are some things you shouldn’t do with this cookware. For instance, you shouldn’t use it over high heat for extended time periods. Extreme high temperatures can melt the porcelain enamel coating. And you shouldn’t allow porcelain enamel cookware to boil dry, especially on a glass or ceramic cooktop. This can crack the finish.

Cleaning Porcelain Enamel

Porcelain enamel is quick and easy to clean. This cookware is stick-resistant, and resists staining and scratching. Clean your cookware while it’s still warm; don’t let it sit around until food residue dries and hardens. Use a dish sponge or a plastic or nylon dish scrubber. Don’t use steel wool soap pads or abrasive household cleaners as these can scratch the finish over time. Alternatively, you can put porcelain enamel cookware in a dishwasher after wiping out any food residue.

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Porcelain Enamel Benefits

Porcelain Enamel is the right solution for products/surfaces that require the following attributes to perform optimally:

  • Abrasion resistance
  • Acid resistance
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Colorfast
  • Flameproof
  • Sanitary finish

Porcelain enamel is an inorganic, glassy coating fused at high temperatures to form a mechanical and chemical bond with a metal substrate. The glass is permanently fused to pre-formed metal in a furnace under temperatures as high as 1550°F. Molten glass and red-hot metal are inseparably bonded to form a rock-hard finish, which will not scratch, rust, fade, or peel.

The main ingredient in porcelain enamel is a product called “frit.” There are literally hundreds of frit formulations. The most important basic ingredients include silica, borax, soda ash, fluorspar and sodium silica fluoride. There are numerous additives such as clays, electrolytes, and metal oxides to suspend the glass, provide the desired color, and enhance the properties such as heat resistance and bond.

Porcelain enamel can be made with many metals, including cast iron and aluminum. However, over 85% is used on steel.

The glass properties of the porcelain enamel finish make it superior to organic materials, such as paint. It is a hard, scratch-resistant coating that remains colorfast and glossy after years of use. It’s smooth, glassy finish cleans easily and is resistant to acidic and alkaline chemicals. Porcelain enamel is extremely heat resistant, generally able to withstand temperatures up to 1000°F.

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