Benefits of Cast Iron Cookware

ImageI love our cast iron skillets.  We use our pans just about every day and they are so EASY to clean!  I love the versatility they provide as they can go from stovetop to oven and be used for almost any kind of food.

Did you know that there’s some real benefits to using cast iron cookware?

Even Heating for Precise Cooking Temperatures

No more hot spots to avoid!  Cast iron retains heat and spreads it evenly throughout the pan.  Just remember that the handle will also be hot so make sure to have pot holders on hand.

Cast Iron is Non-Stick Without Chemicals

A well-seasoned pan has a non-stick surface.  The oil that is used to season the pans, works into all the tiny pits in the metal’s surface and creates a coating that is smooth and naturally non-sticking.

Commercial non-stick pans have a coating that contains PFCs (perfluorocarbons), a chemical that’s linked to developmental problems, liver damage, and cancer.  When non-stick pans are heated at high-heat, they release the PFCs that can be inhaled.  They can also be ingested when the surface gets scratched.

To Season Cast Iron:

Make sure to check your pan for any rust.  If there is rust present, simply clean it with steel wool until the rust is gone.

-Rub the pan with a neutral food-grade oil, such as: Shortening (Crisco), Sunflower oil, Canola oil, Coconut oil, or Lard.  Make sure you only apply a light layer.

-Place your pan, upside-down, on a rack in your oven.  Make sure you lay a sheet of aluminum foil on the rack below or the oven floor to catch the oil that may drip.

-Heat the oven to 350˚ and let the pan “cook” for about an hour.  After an hour, turn off the oven and allow the cast iron to cool down to room temperature in the oven.

You can repeat the seasoning process several times if needed.

Fortify Your Food with Iron

I have struggled with having low iron for years.  Using cast iron cookware has been a great way to get some extra iron into my diet.

Iron can leach from the skillet into your food as you cook.  Cooking acidic foods, such as tomato sauce, in cast iron can increase food’s iron content by as much as 20 times.

Cast Iron Gets Better With Age

As long as there are no cracks or nicks, you can always clean up and re-season a pan to last you for a lifetime.  Actually for several.  Many people find that their mother’s or grandmother’s skillet works just as well for them today.    The more you cook with your cast iron, the better it gets!  Each time you cook, the pan gets re-seasoned.

How to Care for Cast Iron:

– Make sure you NEVER pour a large amount of cold liquid into a hot pan.  It can cause your cast iron to crack!

-Clean the pan by scrubbing with a scrubbing brush or sponge and plenty of hot water.  (Don’t tell my husband, who is a die-hard cast iron fan, but if I need a little extra cleaning power I do use a tiny amount of dish soap on my sponge!)  Most of the time, the pan cleans up so easily that you don’t need to scrub much.

-Thoroughly dry the cast iron and set it on your heated stovetop burner to warm the pan a bit.  Lightly grease the pan with your oil of choice (neutral food-grade) and then wipe off the extra with a rag or paper towel.

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5 Comments

  1. Susan and I have half a dozen skillets of varying sizes, a dutch oven, a round griddle, and a corn bread pan… I really love my cast iron!
    Another great way to clean a stubborn spot on cast iron is with a little bit of coarse salt (clean sand will work in camping conditions) and an old potato. The salt scrubs the surface and the potato provides a convenient “handle.”

    Also, if you’re ever in eastern Tennessee, there’s a Lodge outlet store in Sevierville.

  2. Okay, you’ve convinced me to seek out our cast iron pan that we usually only use for camping to use more regularly!

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