We have a confession: we. love. cast. iron.
And we have a lot of vintage cast iron cookware in the shop – all the top brands, from Griswold to Wagner to Lodge and a few others as well. If you’re looking for a solid cast iron skillet or pan, vintage is the way to go. If the pan is rusty or greasy, buy it anyway! As long as it doesn’t have any cracks or nicks, you can easily clean it, season it and use it for years to come.
WHY CAST IRON
1) Cast iron cookware heats evenly & can transfer from stovetop to oven
2) It is affordable
3) Cast iron lasts a lifetime (literally) with proper care
4) It’s a great way to cook fat-free
5) Cast iron cookware will not warp
THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF USING CAST IRON COOKWARE
Believe it or not, you actually use less oil when cooking with a cast iron skillet. If you are using a well-seasoned pan, it will be rendered virtually nonstick. Which means there’s no need to use a ton of oil to brown your food.
Another benefit to cast iron is that it does not contain the harmful chemicals found in most nonstick pans. However, it will leach some iron into your food – which is actually a good thing, as iron deficiencies are quite common, especially in women.
SEASONING CAST IRON
Many people claim to dislike cast iron because “everything sticks to the pan.” Actually, if food is sticking to the pan, this simply means that it is not seasoned properly.
To season a cast iron pan means to create a slick coating by baking on several coats of oil (to protect against rust and to create a nice, nonstick cooking surface). Here’s how you do it:
1) Rub your pan with a thin coat of extra virgin olive oil
2) Wipe off the oil with some paper towels
3) Place a sheet of aluminum foil in a 450-degree oven and set the pan upside-down on the foil
4) Bake it for about 30 minutes
5) Pull the pan from the oven and let it cool completely
6) Repeat the above steps 3-4 times
A well-seasoned pan is like a good wine – it only gets better with age and will last for many years!
COOKING WITH CAST IRON
You can cook almost any food in a cast iron pan or skillet, using any method: deep frying, searing and even baking. Use it on the stove top, on the grill or in the oven.
Pro Tip: always pre-heat your cast iron pan BEFORE using it.
CLEANING YOUR CAST IRON COOKWARE
Never, ever put cast iron in the dishwasher! Here are some quick steps for cleaning:
1) Let your cookware cool.
2) Wash it with dishwashing soap and water (never let it soak!), rinse thoroughly and dry it with paper towels.
3) Place the cleaned pan on a heated stove burner for a couple of minutes to ensure it is bone dry. Then, apply a very light coating of oil to the inside of the pan and spread it around with a paper towel.
4) If your pan gets rusty, just scour the rust with steel wool until it’s all gone. Then, repeat steps 1-3 above.
You know what they say: once you go cast iron, you never go back!