With so many brands of cookware on the market today, it can be hard to decide which ones to buy. Especially since they are all claiming to have amazing properties, such as durability, non-stick, scratch-resistant, etc. However, when it comes to quality maybe we shouldn’t be looking at the modern cookware sets with the high price tags, but at the trusty cast iron pans from the past.
Cast iron pans can offer tons of benefits and, in fact, most chefs would recommend cooking with cast iron cookware over other types. If you are still a little skeptical about breaking out your mom’s old cast iron skillet for dinner tonight, here are some of the many benefits to using it.
*Sustains high heat stoves, ovens, and grills
*Maintains a consistent heat and cooks food evenly
*Can be a better non-stick utensil than those coated with Teflon (if seasoned)
*Can go from stove to oven to grill without ruining the pan
* Very inexpensive
*Can last a lifetime if cared for properly
*Adds iron to your food (many people don’t get enough iron in their diet so this is an awesome benefit)
Ok, so like everything in life, there are always a few downfalls. I do encourage the use of cast iron, but I won’t sell you on the idea without telling you the cons. First off, the pans are HEAVY. Much heavier than I am used to cooking with, but you can find ones with handles on both sides to make it easier to pick up (however, make sure to use a pot holder because the handles can get very hot!). Second, and the most important factor, is that there is some maintenance involved with using cast iron. We are used to cooking, washing the pan with soap and water (or in the dishwasher in some cases) and calling it a day. Well, with cast iron pans there is a little more involved in the clean up process.
Lodge cookware now has a whole line of seasoned pans that you can buy (this is the kind I use). However, if you have an unseasoned pan, are pulling out an old cast iron pan to use, or are not sure if yours is seasoned or not, it’s pretty simple to reseason them for use.
1. Cleanse the cookware with a stiff brush and hot water. Using soap is not advised. Scrub the pan with the brush and dry thoroughly.
2. Preheat oven to 350F while you warm the pan on low heat on the stove. (Never put a cold utensil in a hot oven or on a hot burner)
3. Using a brush or paper towel, spread olive or canola oil onto the pan.
4. Put the pan in the oven and bake for about an hour. Let cool in the oven.
That’s it! That’s how you season or reseason a cast iron pan 🙂
Now, for the upkeep:
*Never use soap on the product and never put in dishwaher
*Scrub with a stiff brush and hot water after use. Dry thoroughly and spray with a layer of oil.
*Product should not rust, but it if does, no worries. Just use the stiff brush to scrub off the rust and go through the reseasoning process. Your product will be good to use again.
I am so excited that I received my first cast iron skillet for my birthday (thanks Mom and Dad!). The maintenance might be the thing that keeps people away from using cast iron, but I think it’s well worth it due to the benefits and years of use you will get out of it.