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How to Cook with Ceramic Cookware
These days it seems everyone is concerned about cooking healthier food — and doing it in a way that does not hurt the environment. They do not want to bring their family into harm's way by introducing toxins into their dishes. And of course they still want to have great-tasting food. No one wants to sacrifice flavor when they cook.
Ceramic cookware is a great way to fulfill all these desires. By using ceramic cookware, you can feel good about the choice you are making for the earth, while creating tasty dishes that are as beneficial to your waistline as they are to your tastebuds. You also get a durable, hearty product that will not scratch and has a 50-year warranty.
Whether you have been cooking with ceramic cookware for years, or you just bought your first ceramic sauce pot or bakeware, here are some essential tips on how to use it, how to take care of it, and cooks’ tricks that can help you get the most out of your ceramic cookware.
Read on to find out:
- How to cook with ceramic cookware
- Getting comfortable with stovetop and oven cooking
- The best ceramic choices for you
- How to make healthy dishes with little added fat
- Unexpected benefits of ceramic cookware
- The best way to clean your ceramic cookware
The History of Ceramic Cookware
First, a bit of background on ceramic cookware. Ceramic cookware includes pots and pans made from clay and fired in a kiln. They are finished with a hard glaze that protects the cookware, giving it a finish that makes it so popular among cooks.
Ceramic cookware dates back tens of thousands of years. The ancient Chinese and Greeks used pottery placed in a fire for cooking, and Native Americans figured out how to use the heat inside the cookware to finish off their dishes. Even in 17th century America, ceramic pots and pans were not uncommon. But with the rise of the Industrial Age and boom in manufacturing, metal and aluminum pots became more common in America as the years went on.
In the 1960s, as people became more conscious of how their habits impacted the environment, ceramic cookware came back into the public awareness. People depend on the non-toxic properties of ceramic cookware and value how green it is. Plus, it is attractive and easy to cook with at home.
How to Cook With Ceramic Cookware: Getting Started
There are many different types of ceramic cookware. From skillets to sauce pots, they form the basis of a versatile kitchen for any type of cook. When you begin cooking with ceramic cookware, you will want to get the basics for your home kitchen. These include:
- A large open skillet
- Small, medium and large sauce pots with tops
- Silicon pot holders, because the ceramic material can get too hot to touch
- Splatter screens to protect your stovetop
- A nylon pot scrubber
There are many more choices beyond this, though. You can buy a matched set for better savings, or you may choose to complement your cookware with teaware, bakeware and other extremely versatile kitchen helpers.
For instance, the Dutch oven is among the most popular items, because it can do so many things in the kitchen, from simmering on the stovetop to cooking in the oven. Think about your personal needs in the kitchen to determine what you would like to start with.
When you cook with ceramic cookware, there are a handful of basic do's and don'ts to remember.
DO remember the pots and pans get very hot. They retain heat after the burner has gone off, allowing the cooking process to continue.
DON'T start with extremely high heat on your stovetop. Xtrema cookware takes a bit longer to heat up than metal cookware, but it retains that heat — once it has reached the desired temperature, you can turn the flame or coils down.
DO remember this rule of thumb if you have a glass-top stove: "If the pan is dry, don't turn on high." Only put your cookware on high heat if it has water or other liquid inside.
DON'T slide your Xtrema ceramic cookware across your glass stovetop. The specially designed rings on the bottom of the pots and pans may scratch the surface.
DO put a potholder or trivet beneath your cookware before serving to protect whatever surface you place the pot or pan on.
Different Ways of Cooking With Ceramic Cookware
One reason many people decide to switch to ceramic cookware is it helps save energy by decreasing the amount of cooking time. You can make a dish in less time than it would take when using a Teflon or stainless-steel pot, but, by using lower temperatures to cook the meal, your stove will expend less energy.
How you cook with ceramic cookware is up to you, as there are many different ways. The versatility of ceramic cookware allows you to use it in different places throughout the kitchen and even outside, including:
Example: Cook up a sauce in your sauce pot while frying chicken in your skillet.
Remember: You can use Xtrema cookware on any type of stovetop, including electric, glass and gas.
Example: Reheat beef stew in your medium-sized sauce pot.
Remember: Xtrema cookware is microwave-safe, so you can store your leftover food in the ceramic pot and put it right in the microwave to heat it back up.
Oven or Toaster Oven
Example: Go from stovetop to oven by starting a frittata on the stove, then transferring the skillet into the oven to finish it off.
Remember: Use the silicon pot holders to protect your hands, because the pots and pans get extremely hot.
Example: Heat up barbeque sauce to glaze over ribs or chicken while you cook.
Remember: Xtrema cookware can withstand temperatures up to 2,500°F — you do not need to worry about a grill damaging your pots or pans.
Cooking Healthier Food With the Best Ceramic Cookware
Healthy cooking has become a national obsession. We worry about how much fat different cooking methods add to our meals or whether a certain way of prepping vegetables will rob them of their rich vitamins. When you use ceramic cookware, you can rest assured you are using a healthy method to prepare your meals.
One of the best ceramic cookware benefits is that you can cook dishes with little to no added fat. A splash of olive oil, a dash of canola oil or a dab of coconut oil — heart-healthy fats — are all you need to get your dishes ready. Unlike with stainless steel or aluminum pots and pans, you do not have to add pats of butter or oil to ensure your food won’t stick.
Here are a few other ways using Xtrema ceramic cookware can be good for your health:
They use a far-infrared heating process: This cooks the food from the inside and outside at the same time, ensuring an even finish and lessening the chance of consuming undercooked foods.
They contain no lead, aluminum, copper or cadmium: The only thing in your food is the ingredients you choose to add, not those extras that can leach into your food from cooking sources.
They bring out the taste of herbs and spices: Without the extra fat to weigh down your dishes, you will taste fresh ingredients all the more.
They are non-reactive: While cooking, your pots and pans will not give off any chemicals, gases or toxins.
They do not dry out food: Often when you make something in a nonstick pot, it will pull the moisture out of the dish. Then you have to douse it in gravy or other fatty sauces to revive the taste. Not so for ceramic cookware.
They make juicier meats and vegetables: Cooking with ceramic cookware brings out the juiciness in your ingredients, whether it's a choice cut of steak or a carrot just off the vine.
Beyond Metal and Teflon: Unexpected Benefits of Ceramic Cookware
There are many advantages offered by ceramic cookware that metal pots and pans do not offer. First is superior taste. When you use metal or Teflon pans, your food can pick up that distinctive metal taste. But ceramic cookware does not give off any sort of taste. Plus, aluminum and metal pans can add toxins into your food — in the form of chemicals such as cobalt, nickel or chrome — that leach into whatever you are cooking.
Many cooks want a surface that won’t stick to food in order to whip up delicate dishes such as omelets or crepes. To obtain that non-stick surface, Teflon, T-fal, SilverStone and Calphalon pots and pans include perfluorooctanic acid, a potentially dangerous carcinogen that has been linked to developmental problems in laboratory animals. If these pans are overheated, past the point of 680°F, they can release gasses that have been proven to kill household birds. Not exactly the sort of thing you want coating your crepes.
It is not just non-stick pans that harbor dangers, however. While cast iron skillets have come into vogue in recent years, the iron that sticks to the food can be associated with autoimmune problems, especially within those who have metal allergies.
And aluminum pots and pans have been associated with a rise in Alzheimer's disease, while stainless steel, a very popular option for cookware in the United States, can give off alloys including chromium, carbon and molybdenum. The main problem is that these cookware options can chip or flake — you and your loved ones could ingest part of the cooking vessel.
Ceramic cookware is much safer because it does not flake or chip. It maintains its form no matter how high the heat rises, and it does not give off potentially harmful toxins that can compromise your family's health.
These other cooking tools are also easily scratched. Aluminum can scrape if you so much as use a spoon to get the rest of your tomato sauce out of the sauce pan. Ceramic cookware, on the other hand, does not scratch. You can scrape away to get every bit of your home cooking out of the dish — without worry of damaging the pot or pan. This also means your pots and pans will retain that shiny just-like-new surface for their entire duration in your kitchen. That is certainly not true of stainless steel, which clouds up after just a few uses.
Cleaning Your Ceramic Cookware
Another benefit of Xtrema's ceramic cookware? It is much easier to clean than these other non-stick options. When using non-stick cookware, usually you are told to avoid abrasive cleansers such as steel wool or baking soda. They can damage the delicate surface of these pots and pans. However, anyone who has ever tried to clean non-stick cookware without using these tools knows it can take hours of elbow grease to remove all the cooked-on food.
Xtrema is different. The ingenuous surface allows you to use abrasive cleaners, such as baking soda or Ajax, and even steel wool or Brillo pads. That means you have more “heft” behind your hands as you clean. The baked-on food comes off easier, and you are not stuck at the sink long after supper trying to get that last little piece from your chicken dinner off the pot.
Because the Xtrema surface cannot be scratched, you can use just about any means to clean the ceramic cookware without worrying you will mess up the way it looks. It is perfect for cooks who become frustrated by cookware that does not get entirely clean. The wider variety of options for cleaning means being able to get rid of the entire mess.
In fact, you can even put Xtrema cookware into the dishwasher, though hand-washing is the recommended way of cleaning it. Still, if you are crunched for time, you can toss it in the machine and walk away without worry.
Tips for Cooking With Ceramic Cookware
Perhaps you are a relatively new cook, still learning what types of recipes you prefer. Maybe you are a dessert specialist who prefers to make sweet treats for after dinner. Or maybe you are a "Top Chef" fanatic whose homemade meals are nothing short of gourmet. No matter what you cook in the kitchen, you can find the perfect fit with ceramic cookware.
Here are a few insider tips to remember when picking out and using the best ceramic cookware:
- Practice using different temperatures to see how your cookware best performs. You may find that it heats up faster on your stovetop than you expect. Small variances in each stovetop make each person's ceramic cookware experience different. Take notes if it helps remind you what works.
- Do not be scared to use highly acidic foods in your cooking, such as tomatoes. While these may stain other cooking surfaces, durable Xtrema cookware does not stain.
- Dirty up fewer pots and pans by using your cookware to store your leftovers after dinner. You can keep them in the pan where they cooked. Just put on a lid and store it directly in the refrigerator.
- The smooth ceramic material withstands extreme temperatures — and that does not just mean heat. Xtrema pots and pans can also be stored in the freezer, allowing you to make a dish well in advance of when you plan to eat it. Just pop it in the oven a couple months later.
- The Xtrema cookware can be heated up to 2,500°F without any cracking. Because the paint and ceramic used to make the pots and pans are 100 percent lead free, you do not need to worry about any toxins seeping into your food.
- Use your ceramic pots and pans from cooking to serving. The attractive black finish of Xtrema cookware also makes them ideal serving dishes. You do not have to worry about transferring the cooked food to a platter or dirtying up another serving plate.
- Unlike a cast-iron skillet, ceramic cookware does not need to be seasoned. That means you can jump right into using it and get the same results that might take months to build up to with a non-ceramic skillet.
Start Your Ceramic Cookware Collection
Ceramic cookware has so many benefits, from being environmentally friendly and cooking tastier food to protecting you from toxins other pots and pans may emit. It is easy to use and decreases the amount of time you have to spend cooking. And it is easy to clean. So what are you waiting for?
Purchase Xtrema ceramic cookware and start cooking today. You can choose from a wide variety of popular pots and pans, including our 6.5-inch ceramic skillet, 11-inch ceramic wok or 10-qt. Dutch oven.