Cast Iron Teapots
by Sue Talbert
When you think of a teapot, what do you envision? Do you see a practical ceramic teapot like a Brown Betty? Or do you see a hand-painted floral-ensconced bone-china teapot like Hyacinth Bucket sported on “Keeping Up Appearances”? Do you see a tea kettle and not a teapot?
Many wish for the durability of a tea kettle and the functionality of a teapot – something that is both beautiful and sturdy. In centuries past, tea kettles were passed from generation to generation – and not just the fine bone china that existed in wealthy homes. In farm homes and less-wealthy families, cast iron teapots were considered to be workhorses of the kitchen.
Of course cast iron teapots were used to brew tea for the family, but they were also used to boil water for cooking, for baths, and for other household purposes. And they were sturdy.
Cast iron teapots originated in China, although the precise point in history when they were created is unknown. The teapots symbolize strength and indeed provide workhorse-ability in kitchens all over the world.
In previous centuries, cast iron teapots were expected to oxidize (rust) internally, but the iron provided dietary nutrients that otherwise weren’t available in vitamin pill form. Today, cast iron teapots are enameled on the inside and have a durable finish, sometimes colored, other times, showing the natural finish of the iron and allowing it to age naturally and gracefully. The enamel tends to be a ceramic finish that prevents rusting and withstands a bit of scrubbing without flaking off and exposing naked iron inside the pot.
These teapots heat evenly and retain heat beautifully and don’t need a tea cosy to retain their heat. They can be used on a gas-stove (burner on very low), over a fireplace with a hook to suspend it over the flames, or on a warmer that uses a tealight candle to provide extra heat.
Most of these teapots also work well with tea-infusers; the small baskets contain the tea leaves you use to brew your tea and can make it easier to avoid bitter tea from over-steeping. Sizes range from 17 ounces to a whopping 85 ounces – from just a few small cups of tea to enough tea to allow a large family a cup and then some.
These teapots are definitely functional and beautiful, and can last for years – your children and grandchildren can appreciate the same teapot you did and marvel at its beauty and functionality.
Sue also blogs at A Mother’s Heart. Stop by and pay ‘er a visit!
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