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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Reasons to Use Cast Iron Pans

(My favorite cast iron pans)
This past year I was looking to replace some of my non stick pans. While I use mostly cast iron I do still have some non-stick pans. Non-stick pans have been known to cause problems. Many of you may have heard that you needed to be careful using non-stick pans in households with birds as they give off a gas that can cause birds to die. Canary in the coal mine, anyone?IMG_7522
When I decided to replace non-stick pans I turned to cast iron. I had several already, and I must admit they are my favorite skillets. Still not sure why I had that pan In the picture above, never mind used it way past its prime
Cast Iron once well seasoned are such a kitchen essential, that I often give cast iron pans at wedding showers. Everyone needs to have at least one in their house.
Why should you use Cast Iron?
  1. Properly cared for they last forever. I do not have any that belonged to my grandmother, but some of my have belonged to someone’s grandmother.
  2. They are fairly inexpensive, yes you can pay a lot for a fancy enamel coated one from France, but you can also find them at yard sales and in flea markets for as little as $1. Yes, I have found them for that price.
  3. They are easy to clean up – you can’t wash them in the dishwasher but you don’t want to either, as they will absorb soap and detergent. To clean them simply scrub with a stiff brush and some water.
  4. Using cast iron may be more energy efficient, since cast iron retains heat you may not have to cook for as long.  I can attest to this as I have a vintage (1960’s) cast iron stove, while it takes longer to heat up it stays hot longer than a new or stainless steel oven.
  5. Well seasoned, a cast iron pan is as non-stick as any Teflon coated pan.
  6. Cast Iron is perfect for cooking outside, whether over an open fire, such as camping or on the grill. I once roasted a Thanksgiving turkey this way.
  7. Cooking with cast iron can help boost your iron levels, especially when you cook acidic foods like tomatoes.
  8. You may be able to cook with less oil, because cast iron are non stick..
  9. There are no adverse effects to cooking with cast iron, unlike Teflon that can give off harmful gases, cast iron is toxin free.
  10. Most cast iron sold in the United States is made here (80%) by Lodge Logic.
I have slowly been replacing all my pans, but I am still looking for some sauce pans. Do you use cast iron pans? Do you have a favorite one?

this post has been shared at Frugal Days Sustainable Ways


Susan Barber said...

I too, love my cast iron! :) I have the basic set, plus a HUGE dutch oven and a flat skillet. The Dutch Oven is my favorite and I use it all the time, and have for many years. When my girls get married I plan to get cast iron for both of them. :)

Anonymous said...

I have three cast iron skillets plus a round grill. When I was single, the smallest would have been my favorite. These days, even as a vegetarian, I primarily use a "chicken fryer" because it's deep enough for a large round loaf of bread I make often. That's another benefit to cast iron--it can go in the oven while other pans may not be suitable for oven.

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

I have several as well, my dutch oven is great

I too love baking bread in the cast iron, it makes the best bread ever.

And for tomato sauces it is wonderful. I like to pan roast everything to make my veggie sauces.

Sara said...

I applaud the idea of creating a safer home, and because there's so much misinformation out there about the Teflon® brand, I'm not surprised that you are concerned. I'm a representative of DuPont though, and hope you'll let me share some information with you and your readers so that everyone can make truly informed decisions.

Regulatory agencies, consumer groups and health associations all have taken a close look at the Teflon® brand. This article highlights what they found -- the bottom line is that you can use Teflon® non-stick without worry.

I'd truly be glad to share additional information about it if you are interested, and appreciate your consideration of this comment. Cheers, Sara.

Anonymous said...

Love my cast iron skillet and my enamel dutch ovens! My skillet is a hand-me-down from my mom, 30+ years old. Good source of iron, too.


Debbie said...

I love my cast iron and stainless steel pots and pans. I now use pyrex in the oven. I have not used none stick in over 10 years. I love your posts.

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

Thanks Debbie, and Jen, I still have some non stick stockpots that I need to replace so I am searching for replacements for them.

Anonymous said...

Do I have cast iron!?! Maybe. A little. Actually I have 8 skillets, two size 3s, two 5s, a 6, an 8, a 10 and a 12... plus an un-enameled dutch oven, an enameled dutch oven and an enameled chicken roaster... plus a little square egg fryer, a 3 1/2" sample size (which was actually supposed to be an ashtray, of all things!) that I use under my pepper mill to keep the counter clean and an old mini 2 1/2" decorative skillet that I set a small bottle of olive oil in, for the same reason... plus two griddles and two cornstick pans. I used to have a #9 that did belong to MY grandma. I feel totally blessed. When I inherited it it was cracked on the side but I continued to use it, as had my grandma, until one fateful day when a drop on the floor split it entirely in two. I cried for a moment. I have had another skillet crack, then split as well, so they are not entirely indestructible. I used to have a chicken fryer too but it was the casualty of a loan... it never returned. Which is o.k. I have given duplicate skillets to grown children who did not revere them as I do and who knows where those pans are now. That's o.k. too. Like you said, they can be found for super cheap and that's honestly how I've acquired most of mine. Except the enameled dutch oven. That was a bit spendy. Oh, and the chicken roaster from France. Yeah, you can imagine. But I use my pots and pans daily. They bring me joy and they produce superior results that my entire family and circle of friends (and then some) have benefited from. Totally worth it. And that last pot is almost paid off now. ;)

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

Love it and I love my cast iron pots and pans. They are simply wonderful. I don't think mine ever get put away, they simply stay on the stove because I will use them again later in the day.

Southern Ladye said...

I, too, have stopped using nonstick cookware for about six years now and cook stricly with cast iron and stainless steel. My cast iron was given to me by my husband's mother when she move in with us because she very seldom cooks anymore and it belonged to her mother and mother in law so I have some that belonged to his grandmothers. It is used daily and I don't think grilled cheese sandwiches taste good unless they are made in cast iron! My son is getting married in three weeks and one of my gifts to the bride was a five piece set of cast iron. Maybe one day, it will be passed on and a tradition will continue.

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

You are absolutely right about the taste, a well seasoned pan makes all the food taste better, and a bonus you use less oil.I know that I will continue to add to our collection of cast iron pans. I say our because I too plan to pass some on to my children. If I don't they will not know how to cook, having learned to cook on cast iron.

Theresa said...

I love cast iron!! I have always had low iron levels so I do almost all my cooking with cast iron. I don't have any enameled as i prefer the basic Lodge logic pans. I have a dutch oven that I couldn't live without as I can start my veggies with a bit of olive oil n garlic then add the chicken cover n back all in the same pan with no worries. I also have an enormous cast iron pan for the grill or fireplace that's great in the summer.

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

Aren't cast iron the best? I am so in love with mine.

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