With all the new cookware available, it’s easy to forget about cast iron. But here I am to jog your memory. Cast iron is a noble yet humble cookware. It’s affordable and actually does a great job. Sure, it’s not fancy. You’re not even supposed to wash it with soap.
There are quite a few benefits to ironware. First, you’re not cooking non-stick surfaces into your foods. Though research is mixed on the effects of non-stick surfaces, I’d rather not… With cast iron, you’re actually absorbing iron. That’s a good thing. Second, cast iron distributes heat more evenly than most cooking surfaces. Third, cast iron saves energy because it retains heat so well.
I was thrilled to find a NYTimes article that agrees with me and also chose the term, “humble,” to describe cast iron:
Cast iron is heavy and needs to be seasoned. But neither is a problem for me and I’m a busy gal. One of the nice things about cast iron is that when it is seasoned, it’s as great as a non-stick surface. Fried eggs come out beautifully.
You can often find great cast iron pans at thrift stores. I’ve purchased a number of enamel coated cast irons too, which I love for cooking sauces. Cast iron can also be purchased brand new for much less that most cookwares. I bought a set from K mart many years ago for $25.00. I’m still using all of the pieces.
I’ve found that rinsing or possibly scraping the pan after it has cooled is all I need to do between cooking. You can’t let it stand with water in it or it will rust. If it does, use a little steel wool and then cook a bit of oil in the pan in the oven. There are more detailed directions for seasoning, but I find the more I cook with my pans, the better the surface. I never use soap. I hang my cast iron to dry.