Let’s talk about sex baby. Let’s talk about you and me. Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be. Let’s talk about sex. Nope. Let’s not. But now that I have your attention (and probably have you reminiscing about the 90′s) let’s talk about my love affair with cast iron cookware.
Cast iron has been around for centuries and seems really daunting to some people. Some people think it takes too much work to care for it and I’m going to tell you it really doesn’t take as much work to keep your cast iron in good shape as you may think…just a little finesse. If you show your cast iron some love it will love you right back in ways that will leave your taste buds wanting more. A beautiful sear on your meats (I’m talking a mouthwatering crust here people), a deep dish pizza, a rustic apple galette, reheated pizza, pancakes, breads. I could go on forever here but I won’t….or will I??? Yup I will give you 6 reasons to love your cast iron and more importantly to pull it out from the dank corners of your cupboards if you have it and aren’t using it, or to get some cast iron if you don’t have any.
1. Life span – cast iron can last a lifetime.
Food smells and tastes have the amazing ability to transport us to a memory. This cookware will be a memory for your children and their children that will survive you. A lady at a local antique store recently told me that long ago her mother managed to break her grandmother’s old cast iron pan in half (don’t ask me how) but you know what she did next? She took it to a welder and had it welded back together. Can you see any of your other kitchen ware surviving that long. Make food, make memories and share.
2. Durability – it can take some real abuse
As mentioned above cast iron can definitely last a lifetime and be passed on from generation to generation and the reason is that it is so strong and durable. The one that cracked in half is the exception not the rule. I’ve never put so much as a dent in mine since I got it 9 years ago. With love and seasoning your cast iron may even look better as time goes on I know mine does. The antique store near me has some from the 1800′s and they are beautiful. If your cast iron gets a little rusty (and mine has) you need to do nothing more than give it a good scrub with some oil and rock salt and re-season it and it’s good to go again.
3. Cooking Benefits and Health Benefits
You can use it at ANY temperature, no fancy instructions to remember there. Cast iron will stay hot for a long time and cooks evenly. Even cooking? Enough said. It’s non stick without the nasty coating of chemicals like other pans. As time goes on your cookware will become more nonstick so don’t be discouraged if you have some sticking in the beginning…like a nice bottle of wine it improves with age. As I mentioned, you can avoid toxic chemicals like PFCs (perfluorocarbons), a chemical that’s linked to liver damage, cancer, developmental problems and even early menopause. Avoid the potential dangers of cooking with aluminum. Did you know that they aren’t even allowed to sell aluminum cookware in some countries? You can use regular utensils to stir, flip, etc. because it won’t scratch so no need to own or purchase special tools. You can boost your iron intake by cooking in cast iron. You’ll have huge guns – “which way to the beach?” you’ll joke while flexing huge biceps. I joke but seriously they are heavier than other pans so you will have some strength from daily use.
4. Versatility – it can be taken from stove top to oven.
Oven to table for a rustic presentation that will keep food warm for a long time. It can be used over a campfire and travels well. It’s a conversation piece and decor as well as cookware. They look beautiful. Give me a rustic wall in a kitchen showcasing some beautiful hanging cast iron and I’m in awe. I love looking in antique stores at all the different cookware from over the years and talking to store keepers about their history and origins. There are many to collect. There are some really great finds out there. Scalloped muffin tins, corn bread molds, and more. Have fun scouting them out. They come in all shapes and sizes and you can collect them from other era’s. Learn their stories and make your own history right in your kitchen.
5. Affordability and Sustainability – you can afford this.
You can get a cast iron skillet for $30 and it will last forever – that’s a great return on your investment. Plus it can perform in so many capacities that you can replace or just don’t buy some other cookware. You can easily make a pizza in a 12′ skillet so you can get rid of the pizza stone or pan. You can pick one up second hand at antique stores, second hand stores, yard sales and kijiji so you can easily find a great one while reducing your carbon footprint.
6. Easy Clean – cleaning is really a cinch.
You can easily clean your cast iron after cooking in it with a scrub brush and hot water. Dry it out and then rub it with some an oil (coconut, olive oil, avocado oil). Oiling it after using keeps it feeling loved (well, seasoned). You can use a tiny bit of castille soap or other dish soap (I am being very literal with the word “tiny” they don’t really recommend it as it erodes the seasoning but if you must then do it with caution knowing all along that you don’t really need to).
How to Season Your Cast Iron
I keep using the word “season” and you may be wondering what the heck I’m talking about. It’s really quite simple and when you think about it making your cookware last forever you’ll know it’s worth it. So, to season your cast-iron skillet, put a spoon full of ghee or oil in your pan and let it melt over low heat. Once the oil has melted, take a paper towel and rub the oil all over it and stick it in the oven upside down at 400 degrees over a pan to catch the drips and let it sit in there for an hour. Turn the oven off and let it sit until it cools. That’s it. There you go. One beautiful loved piece of awesome.
I hope I’ve convinced you to start using your cast iron if you haven’t been showing it any love and if you’re still uncertain about what to cook in it then stay tuned and we will be posting some awesome recipes soon that should convince you.