The modern kitchen, elegantly showcasing its granite countertops, wooden cupboards and stainless-steel appliances, contains one item that appears out of place. The cast-iron skillet may be a heavy, seemingly outdated tool; yet, it’s nearly indestructible, long-lasting, easy to clean and a versatile piece of cookware well worth the investment. As a definite staple in every home, whether newly purchased, a vintage find or secondhand, cast iron continues to have a fan club!
Good for Health
Who would think cookware could have a positive impact on health? Research indicates there are increased levels of iron found in foods cooked from cast iron cookware. Especially noted are vegetables high in acid, such as tomatoes, that can transfer slight amounts. The National Institute of Health claims, “Cast-iron pans transfer small amounts of iron into food while cooking, which may help infuse your dish with the hemoglobin-producing mineral. Iron produces the protein hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to red blood cells throughout the body.” While the added iron will not hurt you, there’s no way to know how much metal the body will absorb.
The Consistency of Even-Heat
Cast iron requires pre-heating to ensure its temperature-regulating power provides an even and consistent surface, whether you’re cooking one item or several. Make sure the burner well-suits the size of the pan. Heat rising from the center will slowly travel toward the edges. Another option is the oven! Due to the weight of the cookware, it stores more thermal energy, taking time to reach a hot temperature and cool down!
Benefits of Cast Iron:
- Use it on multiple heat sources, including a campfire.
- Fantastic for searing meats and slow-cook recipes.
- With proper seasoning, food is less prone to sticking.
- Cleans in seconds!
- Use your cast iron pans frequently; it prevents rust!
- Maintains its shine and beauty indefinitely with regular care and only store when scrubbed and dried!
Seasoning and Washing
Before committing to any kitchen appliance or tool, the first question is, “Does it require a lot of time and special instructions?” Yes! Cast iron, while slightly hot, needs only chain mail and water to clean. After drying thoroughly, consider whether it needs seasoning. An easy process! Simply add a few drops of oil to the base and coat, including the edges, with a paper towel. With the oven set on high, allow the oil to absorb into the cast iron. Repeat until a shiny appearance is visible. Washing with soap and water is a mistake; yet, seasoning resolves all problems!
With most pans, a heavy squirt of oil initiates the cooking process. Due to seasoning, cast iron cookware doesn’t require it! Heating beforehand allows food, such as eggs and bacon, to start cooking without any additional steps!
- The most flavorful steaks, roasts and chops are as a result of searing on cast iron!
- Most types of cookware lack versatility. On the other hand, cast iron is ideal for roasting, sautéing, frying or baking. Stir-fry vegetables to cornbread and cobbler!
- Due to the nonstick coating, it’s advisable not to use metal utensils; instead, keep on hand plastic spatulas or Polycarbonate pan scrapers.
Which Cookery is for Me?
It’s a vital question!
- Dutch ovens are ideal for stovetop or oven baking to make stews, casseroles and soups. The weighted lid prevents moisture from escaping, ensuring slow-cooked meats are tender while added vegetables retain their natural flavors.
- Dislike the black coloring of the pan or Dutch oven, brand names have a line of colors, such as red and blue, orange and green, or striped. In addition, outlet stores often have “seconds,” implying the cookware has an imperfect marking and is discounted.
- With a large surface, the 10.5-inch cast iron griddle accommodates foods that consume a large area, such as pancakes, quesadillas or preparing food for numerous people.
- Flea markets, yard sales and people willing to surrender their cast iron at an exceptionally low price are possibilities. Even a rusted pan can return to its original, pristine condition with time, an oven and vegetable oil.
Will you be the individual who tosses all of her Teflon pans in exchange for a collection of cast iron cookware? Go ahead! And, when you need the ultimate gift, consider cast-iron! The one kitchen tool that improves with age!