Monday, January 7, 2013

Turning Up the Heat- Cooking with Cast Iron

So whatchoo cookin' in these days?

Back in the dark, dumdum college days, my fella and I were cooking up our grub in (GASP) non-stick cookware. YIPES! 

(PLEASE tell me you're not still cooking in that nasty teflon crud, people. Please. If you are, check out this EWG article and dump the funk tonight. Seriously. Lose it.)

Once we got our heads straight, we dumped anything with a non-stick coating and upgraded to all stainless steel Calphalon cookware, which we've used for years with no complaints. But then...

The big chef in our family asked for a cast iron skillet for Christmas. Soon the conversations began and we learned why cast iron is, undoubtedly, the way to go!
Lodge cast iron
We grabbed these super handle mitts here.
Aside from the completely affordable cost, crazy longevity and virtual indestructibility, cooking with cast iron has awesome health benefits-  the most obvious being that you'll be adding iron into your diet by cooking in these bad boys, so you'll boost your immune system and maintain higher energy levels. 

What? You think I'm blowin' teflon up your wazoo with all this info? Pffft. Check out 3 Health Reasons to Cook with Cast Iron from Eating Well to rub it all in. And this article from the New York Times really seals the deal if you're thinking of making the switch. 
Image Credit
Bonus? If anyone shady comes atchya while you're cooking...WHAM! Cast iron ain't messin' around when it comes to self defense. 
Lodge cast iron
Lodge is THE cast iron cookware company in the United States, and you can pick up their products just about anywhere. We actually purchase from our local hardware store!

We bake bread and keep food warm in our dutch oven, and use our skillets daily. Best. Cookware. Ever!

Clean-up ain't no thang. We simply use water and a scraper to remove any sticky stuff and then hit it up with a designated sponge that we use only for the cast iron cookware. To prevent rust, we always dry immediately after cleaning- using a soft washcloth. 
Lodge cast iron
Gently scrape off sticky residue and wash with water to clean. Don't use harsh steel wool, as it will remove your seasoning.
To keep our "seasoning" ideal, we spread a light coating of oil on the clean, dry cooking surface. 
Lodge cast iron
Season with oil- the best non-stick coating of all!
Since we've started using cast iron cookware, our more expensive, snazzy stainless steel has been staying stored in the cabinet. We absolutely prefer the convenience, ease and health benefits of cooking with cast iron.

The ONLY cons to using cast iron cookware are the incredible weight of the pieces (good grief- don't drop these suckas!), hot handles (grab some handle covers to solve that one) and the minor effort of keeping the cookware seasoned. Little stuff though- don't let it deter you. The pros DEFINITELY outweigh the itty bitty cons.

So turn up the heat, friends! Get cookin'! Use cast iron on the stove, in the oven, HECK...over an open fire! Then carve your initials into the dang things and hand them down for generations to come. They'll be around long after you're "ashes to ashes"- that's for sure.

What's for dinner, folks?
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

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6 comments:

Veritas, Pulchritudo et Amor said...

We LOVE cast iron amd I refuse to use anything else! Food is so much better in cast iron! Funny story...when Mark and I first moved to oír apartment we didnt have any household tools. I wanted Mark to hang some curtains and it was too late at night to go and but tools. A brilliant idea popped in his head...cast iron. Yep, he uses oír frying pan as a hammer. we now call them hammer pans. :)

Veritas, Pulchritudo et Amor said...

Ahh! Typos!
*our
*buy
*used
sheesh!

Cally Graham said...

I LOVE that, K! My daughters are gaga over Disney's "Tangled" so it's probably only a matter of time till they're ready to start fighting using skillets. If you haven't seen the movie yet...you've gotta! You'll see what I mean! :)

Sara Rawitz said...

Lodge rules. Cast Iron rocks. Iron is good for you.

mattylew said...

Hi Cally. I love this blog about the benefits of cooking with cast iron, and I agree that it is superior to all other cookware, but I must play devil's advocate a little. Teflon is bad to cook with, but I doubt too many of your readers actually use it anymore. Most "non-stick" cookware not purchased at a dollar store is actually hard-anodized. Hard anodized is usually an aluminum pan/pot with aluminum oxide(dark outer coating) on the outside. It looks like the old teflon coated junk, but is not the same at all. This stuff is safe according to the EPA, WHO, NIH, and the Alzheimer's Association (Alzheimer's patients can have abnormally high aluminum concentrations in their bodies). So I would recommend looking up your "non-stick" cookware to find out if it is teflon or hard anodized before chucking it.

More advocate stuff: Cast iron cookware can add iron into food, especially acidic foods (http://whatscookingamerica.net/Information/IronCastIron.htm). Too much iron is bad for you, but good up until certain levels (http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/supplement-guide-iron?page=1).


Veritas, Pulchritudo et Amor said...

Totally saw it! TOTALLY LOVE IT!!!