Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday: Cast Iron

Once again, I'm joining Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer for "Works for Me Wednesday."
Today, my tip is simple: cast-iron pans!

I'm always amazed that more people do not use cast-iron pans. They heat fast and evenly, are naturally non-stick, and they add iron to the food cooked in them. I always had excellent iron levels during my pregnancies. Something I attribute to the cast-iron pans as much as the pre-natal vitimins. Two of our pans (a 9-inch and 12-inch skillet) are over fifty years old and still going strong. We also have a 17-inch skillet that's truly huge and a new grill pan.

I'm not sure who made the older pans. There used to be more manufacturers but today most cast iron pans are made by Lodge. Even better, Lodge has developed a way to "cure" the pan for you, so they are ready to use without curing (done by repeatedly heating oil in the pan until it develops the proper non-stick patina). Our new grill pan was pre-cured by Lodge and it works just as well as the older pans.

So avoid the flaking teflon of non-stick pans and try cast-iron. Works for me!

15 comments:

Eagles Wings said...

I love my cast iron skillets, especially for making cornbread in the oven. I use "Jiffy" brand and just follow the directions...best cornbread you'll ever eat!

Maria said...

I love love love my cast iron!! They typically stay out on the stove most of the time

Amy from Ezekiel's Garden said...

I love my cast iron as well. It breaks my heart that I can't use them on my new stove. However, we still use them about twice a month (more, if I can remember). I bake in the oven with them, so at least they are getting used! They are great for tamale casserole (polenta, beans, cilantro, shredded meat if desired, and cheese), dutch baby oven pancakes, and cornbread, to name a few. :)

Umm 'Skandar said...

Yes, I should have mentioned how well they go in the oven as well! Thanks for reminding me!

The Roaming Southerner said...

I LOVE MY CAST IRON! I actually only have a small "egg" pan from my great grandmother. It is maybe 4' around. Perfect for eggs. It is the best cooking too ever. I am still trying to bargain my mom for one of her BIG cast iron pans...you could call hers an obsession-collection. Thanks for the post.

Amy from Ezekiel's Garden said...

For those who are curious about my stove...

We have a flat cooktop. I think it's ceramic. You can use Le Creuset on it because it is enamelled porcelain, but that kinda defeats the purpose of using it as another source of bio-available iron.

So, I use some nice stainless steel pans and skillets instead and get it nice and hot before putting food in it - almost as good as cast iron in the non-stick category.

Susanne said...

I love my cast iron fry pan and use it all the time!

Amber said...

thats what I use too...ever since my iron was low during my last pregnancy and I couldn't take the iron pills..since I started cooking in them my iron has been great!

Shereen said...

Hi, sorry, this has nothing to do with the cast iron pans, but I saw your name over on the WFMW list, and I remembered the last I heard from you was that you ordered your lunch boxes. Have they come in yet. I'm so excited for you. YAY!!

Umm 'Skandar said...

Yes, Shereen, so funny you asked!
The lunchboxes came in today!

They look fantastic. Thanks again

Eric said...

I thoroughly enjoy cast iron pans as well. Remember folks: Never use soap when cleaning your cast iron pans. Plain steel wool and water only. Dry with paper towels and finish off by coating with a small amount of cooking oil...

Umm 'Skandar said...

Yes, Eric you are exactly right with your cleaning tips! I should have included that in the original post!

erinys said...

LOL! This brought back memories. Immediately post-school I had cast iron, which I would spend hours curing and smoking up the house with lard, repeatedly. The reason for the repeatedly was that my roommate of the time Jen Simon always seemed to think 'cured' was 'dirty,' and scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed them til they were bare, then left them to dry and rust.

Anonymous said...

Put me in a kitchen without my gas stove and CAST IRON PANS and I wouldn't be able to function! Cast iron is the ONLY way to go...the original "non-stick" pan. No buying a new set of cookware every 4-5 years because the Teflon/Silverstone is peeling off into the food you are cooking or the handles are coming loose. I think Lodge is the only American company still making cast iron cookware/bakeware and they offer a large variety of items. And, now many come pre-seasoned so no more stinking up the house "curing" them!
Lots of imported pans out there, but quality not as good. If looking for cast iron, check Lodge Web site or eBay...they have all kinds of cast iron skillets, waffle irons, corn bread and muffin pans, etc.

I LOVE CAST IRON!

An umm 'skandar fan in San Jose.

TrudyJ said...

My great-aunt recently gave me her small cast-iron pan, which she says she remembers her mother using when she was little -- as my aunt is 91, that means my pan could be nealy 100 years old! It is FANTASTIC ... my first experience with cast-iron and I would definitely like to have a larger one. I'm so sick and tired of Teflon. I didn't know about the iron-absorbing advantages of it. We make omelettes in the oven in ours as well as stovetop cooking.

Wish I could add a comment as knowledgeable to all your posts about the Middle East, but I am reading and learning a lot from you.