In a bid to find healthier alternatives to non-stick cookware, many people are resorting to ceramic and granite cookware. Let us explore what they are, how they are made and which is the better alternative to go for.
What is Ceramic Cookware?
Ceramic cookware in this context refers to aluminium cookware with a sol-gel coating. Essentially sand undergoes hydrolysis and condensation polymerization to form a gel-like substance. This coating is inherently stick-resistant and hence considered a healthier alternative to nonstick cookware. They are free of PTFE, PFOA and other harmful chemicals.
What Is Granite Cookware?
Granite cookware in India is quite different from what you find abroad. The only similarity is they both have a black base with white specks that impart a granite-like appearance.
In the US, granite cookware are mostly carbon steel cookware with a porcelain enamel coating that provides stick resistance. In India however, they are predominantly aluminium cookware with PTFE coating that has a granite-like appearance. So, essentially, it is just the same old nonstick coating that you have been trying to avoid- just that it looks different.
Carote, Prestige, Wonderchef, Cello are some of the brands that sell so-called Nonstick Granite cookware.
Let us now compare different aspects to see how they differ from each other.
One of the biggest advantages of ceramic cookware is that it doesn’t have fluoropolymers or PFOA which are found to have an adverse effect on human health. These cookware are considered a safer alternative to PTFE coating. However, you should keep in mind that ceramic cookware hasn’t been through immense scrutinization like non-stick. So, we never know what new researches may find. But, as of now, they are deemed as a safer alternative.
Granite cookware available in India, on the other hand, is PTFE coating. As we have mentioned in our previous articles, the cookware industry isn’t regulated well enough in India. So, we have to take the manufacturer’s word that they are free of PFOA, as we can’t ascertain it for sure.
A major disadvantage and health hazard of using granite cookware or nonstick coating is that when heated to 260 C or above, they emit toxic fumes. Inhaling it causes flu-like symptoms known as Teflon flu. It can also be harmful to birds. And this temperature is not quite hard to achieve. In our tests, we found that nonstick cookware touched 260 C when heated for less than 3 minutes.
Ceramic cookware on the other hand is a lot more tolerant to heat. They don’t break down up till 425 C. And that temperature is hard to achieve on a regular stovetop. So, you needn’t worry about overheating them.
Though ceramic cookware have many advantages, they are not as durable as PTFE coating. While most nonstick cookware with PTFE coating wears off within 2-4 years, ceramic coatings have even less durability. They flake off within 1-2 years of use and are quite prone to chipping, cracking and scratches.
So, they need to be handled quite carefully without ever using metal spoons. You should also take care to heat them gradually, else the surface could develop a grainy texture, which then flakes off even faster.
When you compare new cookware, granite and ceramic are both satisfactorily stick-resistant. But as mentioned above, ceramic cookware’s coating flakes off more quickly than granite cookware. And when chipped or flaked, ceramic cookware has quite poor stick resistance.
Overall, though ceramic cookware are safer than granite cookware, they are not that durable or stick-resistant. However, many ceramic coated cookware are inexpensive compared to nonstick. So, if you are quite concerned about the safety and don’t mind changing the cookware every 1-2 years, then ceramic cookware would be an apt choice. If on the other hand, you are careful not to overheat and buy granite cookware from a reputed manufacturer, granite cookware would be ideal for your needs.