Many professional cooks and home cooks prefer to use cast iron cookware due to its excellent heat retention properties. This versatile kitchen tool can be used in the oven as well as on the grill. However, before you buy a cast iron pan you should read this article to know everything you do need. Check it out to know every single information about the cookware.
Table Of Contents
- 1 How to Choose the Best Cast Iron Cookware
- 2 Cast Iron Cookware Pros and Cons
How to Choose the Best Cast Iron Cookware
Choosing your favourite cast iron cookware is not an easy task at all. Check the following factors that need to consider when choosing your favourite pan for your kitchen.
- Size and Weight
Cast iron cookware products come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and can be purchased both new and used. Since cast iron cookware is heavy, the larger pan will be the heavier to handle. However, if you are not cooking for a lot, a smaller pan will be easier to handle on the stove.
- Handle and Knob
Cast iron cookware must have handles or knob that will make it easier to lift, drain, and maintain. During shopping for cast iron pots or pans, select the pieces that are small enough to hold easily, or that have handles on both sides.
- Bare VS Enamelled
Cast iron cookware comes in two different styles, bare and enamel-coated. Bare items come without any covering to make them inherently non-stick. Bare cast iron products are reactive to acidic foods and require proper seasoning and care. Enamelled cast iron cookware, on the other hand, is completely non-stick and nonreactive. Although the enameled product doesn’t need seasoning, however, they do require regular maintenance and care to keep the finish intact.
Price or cost depends on the quality and brand of the cookware but cheaper doesn’t always mean less effective. If you’re going to prepare acidic foods you may need an enameled pan that must be expensive than the bare one. If you don’t want to spend too much and happy with natural non-stick coating, bare cast iron is the perfect option for you.
Best Cast Iron Cookware Brands
There is a list of some of the best cast iron cookware brands available in the market. Check the following list to know details about these brands.
Lodge Cookware Company was founded in 1896 and it has its headquarters in South Pittsburgh, Tennessee, United States. The company is known to be one of the oldest cookware manufacturing companies in the world and in America. This American company is well known for its cast iron products that boast quality and features that stand second to none.
- Le Creuset
Le Creuset is one of the most well-known cookware company of France founded in the year 1925. The company has its own headquarters in Fresnoy-le-Grand, France. The company is well-known for its enameled cast iron cookware which is also known as casseroles or cocottes. This multi-national company also produce many other products including stainless steel cookware sets and many other cooking tools.
Another popular cast iron cookware brand of France is Staub was founded in 1974. They produce quality cast iron cookware using one-time-use molds similar to Le Creuset. They also produce high-quality ceramic cookware which is non-porous, although their ceramic cookware is made in China.
Tramontina is a Brazilian company that produces and market quality cookware and bakeware. The company was founded in 1911 and has its headquarters in the city of Carlos Barbosa, the Rio Grande do Sul. Tramontina is Brazil’s major cookware manufacturing company which have about ten separate manufacturing units in Brazil alone.
Cuisinart is an American manufacturer that was founded in the year 1971 and has its headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, USA. They manufacture and market home appliances and cookware both electrical and non-electrical. Cookware, bakeware, rice cookers, slow cookers, skillet, toaster, waffle makers are some of the products from this brand.
How to Clean Cast Iron Cookware
There is a simple and easiest way to clean your cast iron pan. Just follow the rule to clean your cast iron cookware properly.
Most often you can clean your cast iron pan by simply wiping it down with a clean cloth or paper towel. If your pan is well-seasoned, stuck-on food, bits of burnt will come right off. To clean stuck-on food, use a plastic spatula and scrape them off.
For deep cleaning of your pan, you can use a scrubber and some water. Place your cast iron pan in the sink, add about ½ inch or so of warm water. Now sprinkle a half cup of coarse salt and make a scrub with a nylon scouring pad. Rinse the pan thoroughly with water and place it in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes to dry completely.
Also Check: Best Stainless Steel Cookware Brands
How to Season Cast Iron Cookware
It’s important to season cast iron cookware before its first use and after cleaning with hot, soapy water. Seasoning makes the pan easy to clean, prevents rust, and keeps food from sticking. Here is a step by step rule of seasoning cast iron cookware properly, just follow it to do so.
- First of all, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Wipe 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil into the pan with a paper towel. Make sure to coat the entire pan with a thin layer of oil including the top, bottom, handle, and sides. Wipe excess oil thoroughly from the surface using clean paper towels.
- Now place the pan into the hot oven for one hour.
- After one hour, remove skillet from the oven by using potholders and let it cool completely.
- Repeat the process until the pan develops a dark, semi-matte surface.
Best Oil to Season Cast Iron Skillet
There’s a short list of some best oils for seasoning cast iron cookware. Check it out to select your needed one.
- Grapeseed Oil
Grapeseed oil considered to be one of the best oils for seasoning cast iron pan or skillet. It has a high smoke point which is important for slick and durable seasoning. It’s affordable and has a beautiful natural odor.
- Butter and Animal Fats
To season your cast iron pan naturally you can use butter and animal fats. This is an easy and classic option to season your cast iron skillet naturally. This easiest and simple way will save both of your money as well as time. Because you don’t have to buy any other seasoning oil or you don’t need to apply dozens of layers of seasoning.
- Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseed oil considered to be an odd choice due to its low smoke point. However, this oil is one of very food-safe oil which means it dries out naturally. The main downsides of this oil are rice, smell and precision. Compared to other common cooking oil, this oil is expensive and usually only found in pharmacies and health food stores.
How to Take Care of Cast Iron Cookware
There’re some effective tips for you so that you can take proper care of your cast iron skillet. Check it out to know more.
- Never put your hot cast iron pan or skillet into cold water since it can wrap your pan.
- Cast iron cookware is not dishwasher safe, however, you can use warm, soapy water for deep cleaning of your pan.
- Be sure to dry your pan as soon as you’re done washing them it will save the pan from rust.
- Do not leave your empty cast iron pan on high heat for long, it can damage your pan.
What Not to Cook in Cast Iron Cookware
There’re few kinds of foods that you should avoid to cook with your cast iron cookware.
- Acidic Foods
Acidic foods such as tomato sauces, vinegar, and lemon-based sauces can damage the seasoning of your cast iron pan. As a result, the taste of your foods will metallic especially it’s something that requires a long time to cook.
- Delicate Fish
While cast iron cookware seems like an all-in-one there is one food it cannot handle and that’s fish. The delicate nature of some types of fish fillets like tilapia and flounder are too flaky can stick to a cast-iron pan. This can make remove and necessitating a lot of hard scraping which can affect the seasoning of your pan.
- Sticky Foods
Avoid cooking sticky foods like eggs or pancake with your cast iron pan unless the pan is perfectly seasoned. Eggs can stick to the surface of your pan when you try to remove them.
Cast iron pan or skillet has the ability to pick up the flavour or smell of previous foods. However, it would best for you to buy a separate cast iron skillet that is specially created for making desserts.
Cast Iron Cookware Pros and Cons
Advantages of Cast Iron Cookware (Pros)
Cast iron pan is one of the great classical options to cook your healthy meals. There’re some useful sides of this cookware just given below.
- Natural Non-Stick Coating
A cast iron pan or skillet that is well-seasoned becomes non-stick naturally. You can even cook sticky foods on a seasoned cast iron pan. This makes cast iron cookware a great alternative to chemical-laden non-stick coatings. So, if you want to prepare healthy meals, you can start by buying cast iron cookware.
One of the most significant advantages of cast iron cookware is its durability. With proper take care, a cast iron pan or skillet can last for years. A cast iron skillet is made by filling a sand mold with molten iron that makes it extremely heavy and sturdy. It can withstand extremely high heat temperature compared to other types of cookware.
- Less Expensive
When compared to other metallic cookware such as aluminium or stainless steel, cast iron cookware is less expensive. You can get same quality cast iron saucepan for a fraction of the cost of a stainless steel saucepan.
- Even-Heat Distribution
Many cooks prefer to use cast iron cookware over other options because of its superior performance on the stove. With cast iron cookware, heat is distributed evenly across the bottom of the pan and maintained during the cooking process. Moreover, cast iron retains heat long after it’s taken off the burner which will keep your foods warm for longer.
- Dietary Benefit
When cooking with cast iron cookware, a little amount of iron will leach into your food. This can practically supply the human body with the 18 mg of iron that an adult needs as a daily basis. Just ensure that it is genuine cast iron cookware and not something covered with artificial material.
Disadvantages of Cast Iron Cookware (Cons)
With so many benefits, cast iron cookware has a couple of drawbacks also. Before buying a cast iron pan, you should have a look on its drawbacks.
- Requires Proper Seasoning
In order to make your cast iron pan naturally non-stick, you need to help it build-up a layer of seasoning. By seasoning your cast iron skillet or pan, you can ensure that it has a non-stick surface. So it’s important to season your cast iron skillet or pan before using it for the first time. And it’s also recommended that you should continue to season your pan occasionally to maintain its non-stick surface.
Compared to other types of cookware such as aluminium or stainless steel, cast iron is extremely heavy. Because of its weight, the pan could be difficult to handle especially for elderly cooks. Moreover, its extreme weight can create a problem when it comes to storage the pan.
- Cooking Limitation
You cannot use your cast iron skillet for cooking all kind of your favourite dishes. If you want to cook acidic foods such as tomato you will have to use other types of pot or skillet. Since iron is reactive to acid it can change the taste and colour of your foods.
- Poor Heat Conductivity
Even though a cast iron pan is good in retaining heat, however, it isn’t as good as conducting heat. The cast iron pan will not heat evenly if you’re using a burner that’s significantly smaller than the pan itself. To avoid the problem select the pan that will be perfect with the size of your burner, and give your pan enough time to heat it up properly.
Enamelled Cast Iron Vs Cast Iron
Cast iron cookware is extraordinarily durable which is made when molten hot iron is poured into casts that give them their shape. Since the cookware is made of iron it needs to be seasoned and maintained regularly.
Enamelled cast iron, on the other hand, is also cast iron which is covered with a coat of enameled paint. Unlike seasoned cast iron cookware, enameled cookware doesn’t need seasoning because the cookware comes with a non-stick coating on itself.
In conclusion, cast iron cookware is user-friendly and also a safe option for healthy cooking. First few days, your cast iron cookware can give you trouble with sticky or burnt foods. With proper seasoning, you can get an excellent cooking time with your cast iron cooking products in your kitchen.