Cast-iron cookware has taken a back seat to all the newest and supposedly greatest cookware that has become available today.
But, don’t sell cast-iron products short. It is still one of the best products available and better than ever.
Plus the price is right. Much more affordable than many of the so-called high-end cookware.
You can get started with a basic starter set that won’t set you back megabucks. Cast-iron cookware is very versatile and can go from the stovetop to the oven. You can braise with it, cook eggs and bacon, even do stews and soups.
Heavy duty skillets are a timeless addition for every kitchen. Also, great if you are into camping, perfect for campfires.
Today, many cast-iron cookware come already seasoned from the factory, making them easy to clean, keeping them non-stick and adds a lot of flavor to your recipes.
Cast-iron cookware is very versatile, in that it can be used on top of the stove, in the oven, under a broiler or even over a campfire. It can withstand heat up to 500 degrees.
Most can be used with induction cooktops. Just be careful of scratching the stove’s surface.
Cooking in cast-iron will increase the iron content in your food, which is a good thing, because we all need iron as a mineral supplement.
But, you do have to be careful of cooking acidic foods, like tomatoes and spaghetti sauce. The food can take on a metallic taste which is not appealing. So be mindful of that.
Even if you are a beginner in the kitchen everyone needs a cast-iron skillet or pan. They are considered a work horse in the kitchen, I know I go for my cast-iron skillet usually before any other pan.
If I had to downsize for a while and could only have a couple of pans, you know one would be cast-iron. Probably the skillet, it so versatile, you can cook a whole meal in that one pan, also stews or just plain eggs and bacon or eggs and steak.
Some folks claim that cast-iron is delicate, that it can crack, rust or chip. Well, I never found that to be the case. Maybe a little rust from lack of use. Just clean it and season it and you’re all set.
If your pans are seasoned properly, you shouldn’t have any problem.
Buying a cast-iron pan
Now, what kind of cast-iron do you want? Do you want traditional or enameled pans?
One advantage to purchasing cast-iron is that the pan is made in one piece. No worries about separation of the different parts where they are joined together.
Cast-iron is great at conducting heat and comes in many sizes to match up with all your cooking needs.
But, be aware, it requires a little more maintenance than some other types of cookware.
Always purchase the smallest size needed as larger sizes can be quite heavy, especially when filled with food.
When purchasing cast-iron be aware that traditional uncoated pans must be properly seasoned.
But, if you prefer to purchase pans already seasoned, prepare to pay more.
After a pan is seasoned, do not wash it with soap and water, or put in the dishwasher.
Scrape the residue out of the pan, wipe with a paper towel, add a little oil to coat and store where there is not any moisture.
Choose enameled cast-iron if you want a little less work in the maintenance department. Seasoning is not required and the pans can be cleaned and washed in the traditional way, with soap and water. Also, can be used to cook all foods, even acidic foods, like tomatoes and spaghetti sauce.
The downside of the enamel cast-iron is that the enamel can chip after time. I had an enamel Dutch oven that was great and never had any problems with it.
Gave it to my daughter-in-law when I downsized and she still uses it and loves it. The enameled cast-iron is more expensive, so I suppose it depends on how much you are in the kitchen and how much you enjoy cooking, how much you will use it.
Like anything else, good brands cost more but in most cases will serve you better in the long run.
What pans do you need?
If your cooking includes a lot of grilling, saute` or frying, your best bet is a skillet. It’s very muli-purpose. But if your cooking includes soups, stews, roasts, like pot roast, spaghetti sauce, you will definitely need the large size, like a Dutch oven.
If you are watching your pennies, you might want to check out second-hand cast-iron cooking pans. You sometimes can find them at estate sales, garage sales and flea markets. They might not look so good but with a little TLC, you can bring them back to life.
So don’t be afraid of cast-iron cookware, it can be a very versatile addition to your cooking products.
I have used cast-iron for many years and have done plenty of cooking for my large family from spaghetti sauces to lasagnas, plus plenty of casseroles in the oven and I always knew everything would come out good if it was done in a cast-iron pan. Plus, these pans will last forever, just give them the proper care.
So hopefully, I have given you some useful information on cast-iron cookware and the benefits of cooking with all the different varieties of this great cookware.
Don’t be afraid to try cast-iron for some of your cooking needs and good luck with all your cooking adventures. Thanks for reading this article and if you have any questions or comments, I appreciate them below, thanks again, Deanna