Among the many questions that find their way to my inbox weekly, is the question of cookware: namely, how do I choose my cookware, and what do I recommend using. For many people who are transitioning to a healthier lifestyle one step at a time, abandoning nonstick, Teflon and aluminum cookware ranks on their list of things to do, but it raises the question, “What do you use instead? And Why?”
In our kitchen, we abandoned nonstick-coated pans and aluminum pots ages ago in favor of stainless steel, cast iron and enameled cast iron. Stainless steel produces a beautiful sear, cast iron is impossible to beat when it comes to frying, but enameled cast iron takes my heart, and I use it for preparing most dishes including roasts, braised vegetables and meats, risottos and pilafs, stews, soups and similar dishes. For baking, you might ask, I use both stoneware and enameled cast iron.
Why I’ve Fallen for Enameled Cast Iron
- Enameled cast iron is incredibly easy to clean. After braising, stewing or roasting, the interior of my enameled cast iron pans and Dutch ovens wipe clean with a sponge.
- Enameled cast iron is durable. Enameled cast iron is heavy, and incredibly durable.
- Enameled cast iron is doesn’t leach. While I use my regular cast iron skillet for many different foods, I avoid using it for acidic foods like chili and tomato sauces as acidic foods can potentially damage cast iron’s seasoning and potentially leach iron and other metals into the food I prepare. This, of course, isn’t a problem with enameled cast iron.
- Enameled cast iron are heirloom pieces. Enameled cast iron is durable, beautiful, strong and long-lasting, and they are heirloom pieces. Pieces to pass down from parent to child.
- Enameled cookware is recommended by the Weston A. Price Foundation. In their dietary guidelines, the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to educating the public about healthy foods and cooking, makes the recommendation for enameled cookware because it is nontoxic and doesn’t leach.
Purchasing Enameled Cast Iron
Enameled cast iron are heirloom-quality pieces of cookware, and, as such, they’re pricier than inexpensive nonstick and aluminum cookware. For me, this means I’ve slowly added one piece at a time to my collection of enameled cast iron cookware, with the most recent piece, a baking dish, a gift to myself for having officially seen my first cookbook The Nourished Kitchen through its proposal, writing, recipe testing to its release this Tuesday.
Prices for enameled cast iron vary from mid-range, in the case of Lodge which produces a variety of beautiful cast iron and enameled pieces, to high-end in the case of Le Creuset. But remember, replacing one piece of cookware at a time with a better option like enameled cast iron can really help to making sure your kitchen is beautifully well-equipped for healthy, home cooking.