What is the Science Behind Why Boiling Water with Cast Iron Pots Works?
Water molecules are much smaller than the molecules in most food particles, so they require less time to heat up. In cast iron pots, larger amounts of water can be heated more quickly and evenly. When the water reaches a boil, the longer-than-usual exposure to higher temperatures is thought to have killed bacteria and released chemicals that may have contributed taste and odor. [EurekAlert, 10/20/10]
A pre-World War II study by a South Carolina chemist found that the addition of iron to boiling water had a significant effect on reducing contaminants in the water—from mustard gas, dinitrotoluene (DNT), hydrogen sulfide and other substances. The scientist who conducted the study (from Clemson University) then said that although he had been unable to determine exactly how the iron binds with such chemicals, he suspected it was somehow related to their high-energy properties. Iron is thought to be deactivated by the bacteria and decomposition products in water. [New York Times, 5/22/09]
Iron is known to oxidize (combine with oxygen) at a much faster rate when it is in contact with water, which may account for its killing power against microbes. [Washington Post, 5/20/09]
How to Heat Up Your Old-fashioned Cast Iron Pot Pour Over or Stovetop or Instant Pot for More Efficient Boiling
There are a few ways to boil water in a cast iron pot , such as: over a campfire, with a small propane burner, or on a stovetop. This article will focus on the latter two methods.
A stove-top method is perfected when the pot is placed on a burner on medium heat. You will pour water into the pot and let it come to a boil for about 10 minutes. With this method, you should be able to save about 30% of the energy used in boiling compared to using an electric burner or hot plate.
To use a hot plate or electric burner, you place the pot on top and plug it into the socket. Once turned on, it will immediately begin to boil water. It is ready for use when hot but not scalding.
Tips for Heating Up Your Cast Iron Pot Pour Over or Stovetop or Instant Pot:
How Much Do You Need for What Type of Cooking?
Water should always be added to the cast iron pot slowly. This prevents water from boiling over. The amount of water needed depends on how much food you are cooking and how big the pot is; 12 cups of water boils down to about 4 cups in a 10-inch pot so 3/4 inch of water or less is enough. A larger pot would require more water.
How Much Water Do You Need to Boil Corn on the Cob?
Corn on the cob should be boiled in water and salt. The amount of water needed depends on how much you want to cook. The more corn, the more water is needed. After covering with water bring to a rolling boil and then lower down to simmer. Cook for 10 minutes or until tender and then drain off the water.
How Much Water Do You Need to Boil Pasta?