Cast iron vessels have been used for cooking for hundreds of years.
In the early 19th century, meals were cooked in cast iron pots suspended over the fire in the fireplace. In the 1960s cast iron became less popular as teflon-coated non-stick cookware was introduced.
I have to admit I have both types, but am leaning toward going to cast iron cooking full time. I just got my Paula Deen cookware for my birthday, so it may be a gradual thing.
There are benefits in cooking with cast iron. For one, it is very durable and can last a lifetime. It can even be passed down to the next generation. Cast iron retains heat and evenly redistributes the heat. It’s even oven safe. I have my favorite 10″ skillet for baking buttermilk cornbread and the cornbread just slides out of the well-seasoned skillet.
Cooking in cast iron actually adds iron to your food while avoiding the chemicals that non-stick cookware adds. If it’s well seasoned, your food won’t stick. The more you cook with it, the better it gets! I even use it on my ceramic top stove. I just try to be extra careful.
Cast iron is relatively inexpensive. Most sets run around $100 and single skillets can run under $15. This is for something that lasts for a lifetime!
Also, it doesn’t scratch so there’s no need to use the rubber coated cooking utensils, unless you just want to. Sad to say, my large non-stick skillet is not looking too good, just after several months use.
It does get hot, so be sure and use a pot holder or handle mitt.
To clean and season cast iron, some people do not use soap. If my pan was real messy, I have used soapy water and immediately dried and oiled the pan to prevent rust. I have also cleaned with salt sprinkled in the pan and a scrubbie. This works for pans that don’t have a lot of leftover residue.
Sometimes when camping I’ve used scrunched up tin foil and some hot water. So there’s several cleaning methods. Just be sure to rub with a light coat of oil before storing. I love my Dutch Oven for baking biscuits when we’re camping. I’ve also fixed up a Beef Stew over the fire.
Lodge is my favorite cast iron brand. There’s lots more cleaning and seasoning information found here on their site.
So enjoy cooking in your cast iron and think about all the healthy benefits that comes with it. Pass some down to your children and grandchildren. Tell them the history behind it. Maybe generation after generation will benefit from your lovingly cared for cast iron.
Be sure and share any stories that you have of cast iron that’s been in your family, or how many pieces of cast iron you have. I’d love to hear them!
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