Last updated on April 12th, 2023 at 02:11 pm
Enamel cast iron cookware is a great investment in any kitchen until they start sticking. Thankfully, you can improve their nonstick properties so you have an easy time cooking and cleaning.
Unless seasoned, enameled cast iron is not nonstick. When you use this cookware, you may experience a hard time cleaning it due to the sticky residue which may accumulate with time. A combination of heat, certain food types, improper use, care, and maintenance, makes cooking with such cookware to become a hassle.
This article explains why your enamel cast iron is sticking, and what you can do to prevent it.
Is enameled cast iron nonstick?
You may be wondering why your enameled cast iron cookware becomes sticky with time. It is important to note that not all enamel cast iron cookware has nonstick properties.
The only reason why your enameled cast iron cookware is sticking is that it does not have a nonstick surface. When exposed to high temperatures, considering the outstanding heat output of cast iron, the cookware becomes sticky over time.
On the other hand, seasoned cast iron cookware portrays nonstick properties. Food does not stick onto the surface even with high temperatures.
Why is my enameled cast iron sticking?
Your enameled cast iron sticking can be attributed to several reasons.
Enamel is unseasoned
As earlier mentioned, when seasoned, enameled cast iron cookware tends to portray nonstick properties. Generally, the enamel coating is by itself not nonstick. Seasoning, however, gives the raw cast iron a nonstick surface so no food sticks.
This surface will require regular and proper maintenance. With that, you will have yourself a non-stick surface for your cookware.
Enameled cookware tends to become sticky when exposed to high temperatures. Also, if you do not use enough oil for your cooking, food is most likely going to stick on the pan or pot.
There are some ingredients that can be responsible for staining your cast iron enamel cookware. Some food types may stick more than others.
For instance, those that caramelize tend to easily stick and burn. The ingredients are sugary sauces, honey garlic, onions, wine, and tomatoes. But these are not the only culprits.
Moreover, the cooking may also contribute to staining your cookware. Light-colored cookware more easily absorbs the color of foods being cooked as some particles stick and burn. Discoloration may persist even with proper washing.
The type of cooking utensils you use when preparing a meal may or may not wear out the enamel coating. Ideally, you should use silicone, plastic, or wooden utensils when cooking in enamel cast iron pans or pots.
Metals are not recommended as they can chip or scratch the enamel, making the surface more susceptible to burning and sticking.
What can I do to prevent my enamel cast iron cookware from sticking?
Thankfully, you do not have to throw your money down the drain by doing away with the sticking cookware. There is something you can do to reduce the sticking or make it have nonstick properties.
Season the enamel before cooking
Enamel cast iron is naturally nonstick, hence you need to generously season it before every use. This means applying oil at the bottom and sides of the pot or pan before heating it up. This process helps to prevent food from sticking to the surface.
Any time you are using cast iron cookware, it is important to keep in mind its heat output properties. It works by slowly heating up, but once it is hot, it retains the heat like no other metal. With that in mind, you can follow the steps below to heat up the cookware before adding any food inside.
Generously put your water, oil, or broth into the pan.
2. Heat source
Heat your pan on low heat. You can set it on medium if you are planning to fry, sauté, or sear. Remember that even with low heat, the liquid may get too hot.
3. Increase the heat
Once the food is in the liquid, start increasing the heat if you want the pan or pot hotter.
After meal preparation
Leaving the food to dry on the pot is not a good idea. It will only give you a harder time when cleaning. Empty the pan as soon as you can after cooking. When cooled, you can fill it with water and let it soak.
Care and maintenance
Enamelware, like any other cookware, requires proper care and maintenance. Even if it is not sticking, it can look dull without the proper care. The dull look can be attributed to acidic food, not enough liquid covering the enamel, metal utensils, and improper cleaning.
Remove stains from the enamel
You can remove some of the stains on your enamelware. Ensure that you do not use abrasive cleaners on the enamel cast iron.
While enamelware is useful in any kitchen, it is inherently nonstick. And many can attest to the frustration of having to wash such cookware. However, that can be a problem of the past with proper care and maintenance as outlined above.
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