Cooking with well-seasoned cast iron cookware is one of the more satisfying experiences for both beginner and experienced chefs. Cast iron cookware is reliable, long lasting, nontoxic, nonstick, and full of character. Your cast iron cookware can be used to sear a juicy filet mignon for dinner and then bake gooey chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Cast iron skillets can be intimidating to those who have heard the many warnings and fables about cast iron – “don’t wash with soap, don’t get your skillet wet, don’t do do this, don’t do that!” The truth is, as long as your cast iron is seasoned well and free of rust, you’ll be able to cook a wide variety of flavorful, delicious foods for many years to come.
Top 4 Advantages of Using Cast Iron in the Kitchen
Cast iron cookware requires little cleaning and maintenance after its initial seasoning. After you finish cooking, simply rinse the skillet or pan with water and be sure to dry it thoroughly. It’s a good idea to add another layer of vegetable oil for seasoning every once in a while.
Another great advantage of cast iron cookware is the relatively low cost. When compared to other pieces of cookware of similar material and quality, cast iron is typically a fraction of the cost. You can commonly find a high quality cast iron sauce pan or skillet for a very reasonable price.
Cast iron cookware offers an even heating area for cooking no matter what type of cooking surface you use. Produce perfectly crispy cornbread by cooking it in a piping hot cast iron skillet.
Cast iron bakeware becomes naturally non-stick when properly seasoned. Unlike other materials, seasoned cast iron eliminates the need for using oil or butter on the cooking surface, making your foods lower in fat.
Things to Consider About Cast Iron
Many people may consider seasoning cast iron cookware intimidating. In reality, seasoning is a straightforward process that doesn’t take much time at all. Keeping your cast iron well seasoned will ensure its durability for many years to come, making the process well worth the time and effort.
Cooking heavily acidic foods, like tomatoes or citrus juices, in cast iron can be tricky. The acid pulls iron from the skillet or sauce pan, causing your food to turn a darker color. Some people enjoy this because it adds iron to their diet and fortifies their food. It is very important to never leave foods, especially acidic foods, in a piece of cast iron cookware for extended periods of time, as this can break down the seasoning and lead to rusting.
Be careful when using soap on your cast iron skillet. It’s ok to use a mild dish soap in small amounts, but its best to just use hot water to avoid breaking down the seasoning.
Naturally, iron is highly susceptible to rusting. When a cast iron skillet is properly seasoned, the oil absorbs into the surface of the cookware and makes it impermeable to water. This means the iron will resist rusting and your food will not stick. Read all the details on using and caring for cast iron.
So the moral of the story is this: if you treat your cast iron skillet right, it can last a lifetime. Don’t be afraid of cast iron – try new things in the kitchen, prepare tasty food for loved ones, and most importantly, make sure to keep that thing well-seasoned!