I am not a big fan of cast Iron but my mother is.
She used to cook everything in a cast Iron pan, so I researched why people are so crazy about cast iron utensils and should we are actually not compromising our health by using it.
Let’s check it out in this Blog.
What is Cast Iron?
Cast iron is a rust protection, lightweight, and nonsticky material composed of Iron, Carbon, and minor quantities of manganese, sulfur, phosphorus, and silicon. Cast Iron is produced by a process known as “casting” under which molten Iron is poured into molds which then cool and solidify thus producing cast Iron.
Cast iron has a wide range of industrial applications.
Cast Iron has a porous molecular structure which is why cast iron can have exceptionally high strength and high capacity to retain heat.
Due to its highly Porosive nature and non stick surface, it is widely used in manufacturing cooking surfaces like cooking pans and kadai.
Difference between cast Iron and carbon steel
Cast iron is made up of iron and carbon where as carbon steel has various components of carbon.
Hard nitride cast iron is much more durable and long last than carbon steel cookware.
Cast iron is heavier than carbon steel cookware.
cast iron uses a nitriding heat treatment process while carbon steel is produced by an old steel-making process.
Different Types of Cast Iron
Traditional and hard cast iron are two of the most common kinds of cast iron. Traditional cast iron has good heat retention and is perfect for cookware, but hard cast iron has exceptional strength and abidance and is constantly used in heavy ministry and artificial operations. These distinctions meet different requirements.
Traditional Cast Iron
Due to the addition of graphite flakes in its microstructure, traditional cast iron, generally appertained to as slate iron, displays a distinctive slate shade. This material’s exceptional castability makes it easy to pour into molds for a range of operations.
This type of cast iron has high damping capacity, or capacity to absorb and dissipate climate, which makes it invaluable in sectors like automotive assiduity, where it’s used in machine blocks. Traditional cast iron is a favored material for pipes because of its continuity and resistance to erosion. Due to its capability to retain heat and cook unevenly, it’s also a favored material for cookware in the kitchen. Traditional Cast iron cookware is non-stick and requires seasoning to keep it from rusting.
Hard Cast Iron
White cast iron, also known as hard cast iron, is distinguished by its distinctive microstructure, which contains crystalline cementite( iron carbide), giving it an identifying white look. Because of its structural makeup, it has extraordinary hardness and remarkable wear resistance, making it a popular choice for operations taking reliable durability.
Hard cast iron is used by diligence because it can endure tough circumstances and dragged use and is used for ministry factors exposed to extreme stress, bruise, and impact. In addition, its hardness provides effective and durable performance in procedures like ore crushing and grinding. It makes a popular material for grinding media.
What is Nitriding Cast Iron?
Nitriding is a heat treatment process where heated metal like cast iron and stainless steel are heated and introduced with a nitrogen-rich gas in a specialized nitriding furnace to make them hard and more rust-resistant
In the Nitriding process, hard cast iron is heated at 540° C to 600° C and exposed to a nitrogen-rich gas like ammonia gas or sodium cyanide. In doing so, nitrogen atoms are diffused on the surface of the metal thus making it more hard, durable, and insulated.
Nitriding increases a material’s wear and tear resistance, hardness, erosion resistance, non-stick properties, rust resistance, and scratch-proof.
Hard cast iron naturally has high strength and the Nitriding process gives it extra durability which makes it an excellent choice among seasoned chefs.
Cast iron that has experienced hard nitriding is useful in a variety of industrial applications including manufacturing, aerospace, aircraft engines, and automotive assiduity where corridors are subject to high situations of wear and tear and stress.
Advantages of Nitriding
There are a bunch of benefits and advantages of nitriding hard cast iron, some of which we have listed below.
The materials like stainless steel and cast iron, resistance to wear and abrasion is improved by nitriding, which greatly raises the surface hardness of the material.
Improved Fatigue Resistance
The service life of nitrided components is increased due to better resistance to fatigue failure.
Nitrided Surfaces are less prone to corrosion, making them ideal for severe conditions.
Better performance in sliding and rolling applications is a result of the reduced friction qualities of nitrided surfaces.
Nitriding ensures precise tolerances are maintained by only slightly altering the size of the treated components.
Disadvantages of Nitriding
Limited Depth of Hardening
Nitriding typically affects the surface layer of materials, hence it might not give enough hardness for thick components.
To reach the desired final dimensions on nitrided items, further machining may be necessary, increasing manufacturing time and expense.
The specialized process of nitriding necessitates exact temperature and gas environment control, which can be difficult and expensive to accomplish.
Not Suitable for All Materials
Only some alloys can be nitrided successfully because nitriding works best on materials that have an adequate amount of alloying elements.
Although nitriding increases surface hardness, it may also increase brittleness, reducing the material’s impact resistance in specific applications.
Is Cooking in Cast Iron Pans Safe for You?
Cooking in a Hard nitride cast iron pan is totally safe as after the nitriding process cast iron becomes non-sticky and scratch-resistant thus metal will not chip off in food while cooking.
Due to low oil requirements, cast iron cookware also encourages the use of less oil while cooking, resulting in more healthful meals.
Hard nitride cast iron pans are the safest options for cooking pans as metal won’t chip off in it, it is rust-proof and it has lifetime durability if properly cared for.
I don’t find any side effects in it, also find it very useful for cooking low-oil food, just limitation is that every time you wash these cast iron pans or kadai reseasoning cast iron with oil is mandatory to maintain its non stick surface lasts long.
Where Can You Buy Hard Cast Nitride Pans?
You can also order it online through e-commerce sites like Amazon or eBay. Since they have a wide range of products on their website, you may need to look especially for vendors who sell hard nitriding cast iron cookware.
How to Clean Hard Cast Iron Pans
Hard cast iron pans are generally easy to clean. After cooking, allow the pan to cool a little before giving it a warm water rinse. Any food residue should be removed with a coarse salt, soft brush, or soft sponge with mild dish soap as it has non stick properties.
You can also use boiled water and soak the cookware in water, this will remove the sticky stubborn residues of the food and seasoning layer thus maintaining its non-stick coating long-lasting.
Avoid using hard abrasive sponges or soap since they can harm the surface layers.
To stop rust, thoroughly dry the pan and smear it with cooking oil. Keep it in a dry location. Seasoning your pan regularly will help it stay non-stick and last longer.
What Are the Disadvantages of Cast Iron Pans?
Cast iron pans have a few noticeable downsides despite being well-known for their heat retention and excellent durability. Their weight can make handling difficult for people with weak muscles. Seasoning to prevent rust and avoiding aggressive detergents that can remove the seasoned layer are essential components of proper maintenance.
Cast iron’s reactivity to acidic ingredients can change their flavor and appearance, which may not be preferred in some recipes. They require patience when cooking because they take longer to heat up than certain other pan materials. While cast iron has many advantages, these factors emphasize the need for caution and awareness when using it.
Is It Okay to Use Cast Iron Every Day?
Cast Iron cooking pans or cast iron skillets are safe to use for everyday cooking, but keep in mind that always buy a cast iron cooking utensil of a reputed brand because local brand’s pan quality can’t be sure to be good for cooking.
Using cast iron cooking utensils can also decrease iron deficiency as cast iron pans or cast iron skillet release iron in food while cooking, which is good for health as well.
What Are Two Benefits of a Cast Iron Pan?
Excellent Heat Retention
Hard-nitrided Cast iron cookware is the best option for jobs like searing and frying because they are excellent at dispersing and holding heat evenly. They demonstrate the capacity to keep a constant temperature during the cooking process, enabling uniform cooking, caramelization, and browning, which can improve the flavor and texture of foods.
Durability and Longevity
Cast iron pans are recognized for their exceptional toughness and lifetime. They can endure years, even centuries, of use with minimal wear and tear if properly cared for and seasoned with a layer of oil. They are the popular choice in the kitchen due to their robustness, which guarantees an extended lifespan and exceptional value for money.
Using cast iron cookware is quite easy and durable, its unique properties make it popular among professional chefs and housewives.
Hard nitriding Cast iron cookware is a useful asset to any kitchen despite some downsides, similar to their weight and reactivity with acidic foods. They also retain heat well and are long-lasting and durable. These classic pieces of cookware can last you numerous times if used regularly and maintained daily.