Perks of Cooking with Cast Iron

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Cast iron cookware has been in use since 513 BC when it was first introduced by the Chinese.  Known for its immense health benefits, cooking in cast iron utensils is making a huge comeback amongst the health conscious.  Apart from the obvious health benefits, cast iron cookware is sturdy and easy to maintain and has the ability to withstand the abuse meted out to utensils of everyday use in a busy kitchen.

These utensils are very long lasting and can be very easily seasoned and reused irrespective of its age.  So, if you find your mothers or grandmother’s cast iron utensils lying around gathering dust, don’t throw them away.  Seasoned cooks claim that food that is cooked in cast iron utensils always tastes better than the one cooked otherwise.

One of the biggest health benefits of cooking in cast iron is the ability of this metal to increase the source of iron in the food.  Iron as a dietary supplement is important to generate proper blood flow and circulate oxygen.  Iron deficiency in the human system can lead to a number of health issues such as anemia, headaches, a general lack of energy and tiredness.  Cooking with cast iron is a great way to increase the source of dietary iron in your food.

Not only is cooking in cast iron good for your health but research shows that non stick pans that are used instead of cast iron tend to release fumes that are harmful for birds.  Cast iron is the healthiest option available for less or zero oil cooking, and with a little care your cast iron utensils can easily outlast you!

These sturdy cooking mediums are easily recyclable and are low on maintenance.  They can be cleaned using a basic dishwashing soap, hot water and a scrub.  You can rest assured that the surface won’t crack or the handle won’t fall off during a rigorous cleaning schedule.

Turning a cast iron cooking utensil into a chemical free non stick utensil is very easy.  Most of the new breed of cast iron cookware that is readily available is already pre seasoned.  However, if you feel that you are stuck with ancient cast iron cook ware that needs to be seasoned, then you don’t need to worry.  Following a few basic steps will ensure that your cast iron cookware is seasoned with ease and ready for use in a jiffy.

In order to season your cast iron utensils begin with cleaning your utensil thoroughly with soap, hot water and a plastic brush.  After you have rinsed and dried the vessel completely proceed to apply a thin, even coat of vegetable oil or vegetable shortening to the vessel surface.  Pre heat your oven to a temperature of 300-400º Fahrenheit and place your cast iron vessel upside down on the oven’s top rack.  Ensure that you put in aluminum foil to catch the oil drippings.  Bake your utensil for an hour and leave the utensil in the oven to cool.  Your cast iron cookware is now seasoned with a natural non stick surface and is ready for use.

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Comments

  1. jeff nolan says:

    Most of the newer cast iron skillets come pre-seasoned and only require occasional touch up. It’s really important not to wash a seasoned cast iron skillet with soap, doing so removes the seasoning layer. Just wipe out the skillet when you are done using it, or with some plain water and a sponge if it needs something more thorough. BTW, you can use vegetable shortening to season cast iron cookware but by far the most effective fat for doing so is lard… when baked into the pores of the cast iron it forms an impenetrable super smooth layer for cooking on.

    Lastly, Lodge Cast Iron Cookware is a U.S. based manufacturer of cast iron skillets and pots, they have been around for over 100 years and I would not be surprised to find their original skillets are still being used. This is a great company to support not only because they are a family owned U.S. based business but because they are universally recognized for the quality of their cooking products.

  2. Michele says:

    you forgot to mention that after the cast iron is seasoned, you should not use soap to clean it- just a stiff brush and hot water, or salt to scrub. Then after each cleaning, apply a very thin sheen of canola oil or vegetable oil to the surface to keep it non-stick.
    You should also re-season the pot about once a year.

  3. Gavin says:

    I’ve got one and I find it hard to clean without soap a lot. If you fry eggs among other things it tends to stick to the pan quite a bit and to get it off, I find a bit of soap helps

  4. I love cast iron especially because how well it cooks food. People are often turned off by the fact that you have to season it every so often. That’s no reason keep from getting a cast iron as they are easier to clean.

  5. I’m always thrilled to see sites that praise cast iron pans/woks. I’m a huge fan of cast iron too. I was introduced to cast iron woks by my mother and now teach wok cooking.

    Seasoning is the most important procedure to set up your cast iron pan/wok for life. But it’s not as easy as it sounds and when people do it incorrectly, food end up sticking or rusting. The scrubbing stage has to be done carefully so you don’t take it down to bare metal but if you don’t take off enough, the wok keeps discoloring. So, it’s a delicate balance. That’s why I decided to “preseason” the woks for my students so they wouldn’t have to make those mistakes. People really appreciate it because it’s time consuming and dirty work. But once you use it, you’ll really notice the texture and flavor it brings to your food. You can cook most anything in it. I keep telling them the more they use it, the better it becomes.

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