Chances are you have a family member who swears by cooking in a cast iron skillet. You may actually be that person. Once you start cooking in cast iron cookware, you are a fan. With the versatility, durability and reasonable prices, you can’t go wrong with this centuries-old favorite. Keep reading to learn more about this kitchen staple.
The method of creating cast iron cookware has changed very little since its origin in 6th century China. A cast iron skillet is created by pouring molten iron into a sand mold. Once the pan has cooled, the sand mold is broken apart which allows the pan to emerge in one piece – handle and all. The big difference in the modern methods of casting the iron is the use of machinery to pour the metal instead of a human being. Due to the fact that the metal can reach up to 2500 degrees, this is probably a good thing!
Cast iron cookware has benefited from a renewed interest in the last century. During the mid-1900s, aluminum cookware became a popular, cheaper alternative to the heavy cast iron. Cooks enjoyed the affordability, nonstick surface and the less-intensive maintenance requirements.
Fortunately, cast iron has staged a comeback — for many reasons. One of which is the concern over the non-stick coating on the aluminum pans. Tests were done and showed that the coating could be toxic when it came off of the pans and got into the food! Keep reading to learn some of the benefits of cooking with cast iron.
Benefits of Cast Iron
There are many benefits to having and using cast iron skillets and cookware. Many people swear that the food just tastes better when it’s cooked in these versatile pans. Here are some other reasons you should have one in your home kitchen and your rig.
It Gets Better With Age
Cast iron skillets and cookware are probably the only thing you use in the kitchen that actually improves with time. As you repeatedly cook in it, your skillet will develop what is called “seasoning”. This is simply a coating that creates a natural non-stick surface.
Cast Iron Holds the Heat
While your cast iron doesn’t always heat as evenly as we’d like, it does hold the heat. Once your skillet gets hot, it stays hot! This is great news when you’re wanting to bake cornbread or an apple pie. Even better if you’re searing a steak. That high heat allows you to brown that steak quickly while keeping it tender and juicy.
Durability and Longevity are Key
It is not uncommon to find families who are still cooking on their grandma or even great-grandma’s cast iron cookware. When properly maintained, these skillets and pans will last several lifetimes. Even if they aren’t treated as nicely as they should have been, cast iron is forgiving. It can usually be restored fairly easily.
Adaptability and Versatility Also Rule
Cast iron skillets can easily go from stovetop to oven to campfire. They are made to last and are designed to be a one-pan/pot arsenal. You can cook almost any dish in a properly seasoned cast iron skillet. Once you’ve built up a nice seasoning or non-stick patina, it’s easy to create an entire menu with the one piece of cookware.
So do you have a cast iron skillet of your own? If you don’t, what are you waiting for?