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While metal cookware can leach into your food, ceramic does not. Pure ceramic cookware is made entirely from clay and earth minerals.
It is true that arsenic, lead, cadmium, and other heavy metals do naturally occur in our soil and can end up in the clay. However, a key aspect of manufacturing ceramic is to bake it at extremely high temperatures, which burns away these natural impurities. And it works. This is because heavy metals have a lower melting temperature than ceramics.
For context, lead, cadmium, arsenic, and most other heavy metals have a melting point below 800℃. Meanwhile, ceramic cookware is kiln heated between 1000℃ and 1300℃. This extremely high heat is akin to flushing dirty water through an aggressive filter and watching it come out the other end, crystal clear and safe to drink. So even if the clay going into the kiln is contaminated, the ceramic that comes out has been purified.
Benefits of ceramic cookware
Ceramic cookware takes a little longer to heat up than, say, aluminum. But once it does, it retains its heat for quite a while. In fact, you can warm your pan fully on medium and then turn the heat down to low, and your food will continue to cook at medium heat for roughly 7 minutes. That’s about 95% longer than aluminum retains its heat and 50% longer than cast iron.
Ceramic is also extremely versatile. You can use it on the stovetop, inside the oven (including the broiler), in the microwave, and even on the barbeque grill. It’s also safe for the freezer, as well as the dishwasher.
Unlike cast iron, ceramic pots and pans do not react with your food. In other words, you can cook lemons, tomato sauce, and other acidic foods in ceramic without worrying that the cookware will contaminate your food or change the taste of your dish.
Ceramic is scratch-proof, chip-resistant, and easy to clean. For stuck-on foods, you can just soak the pot in water for a few minutes and/or put a little baking soda or Bon Ami on your sponge. Everything should then wipe away pretty easily.
Ceramic pots and pans emit far infrared energy
Another cool benefit is that ceramic naturally emits far-infrared (FIR) energy, which warms foods evenly from the inside and outside at the same time. For comparison, microwaves also cook food from the inside… but not in a healthy way.
The difference is that microwave energy absorbs water molecules and dehydrates your food as it cooks. By contrast, infrared heat penetrates your food, allowing it to retain its natural moisture. This doesn’t just cook the food more evenly. It also helps to preserve the food’s flavors and nutrients, making for a healthier and tastier meal.
Because ceramic pots and pans efficiently and effectively capture heat energy, you can – and should – cook at lower temperatures. One big benefit of cooking at lower temps is that you don’t burn food as easily. Another is that you tend to not need as much oil or butter to grease the pan, which also translates to healthier cooking.