One of my favorite kitchen items is the cast iron skillet I’ve owned for years. Pots and pans which are Teflon coated and non-stick are taking over many kitchens, but they are certainly no competition for cast iron pans, and skillets-these are safe, naturally non-stick and long-lasting. I have also inherited a few cast-iron pots from my grandmother, who in turn used them for years.
Experienced cooks are aware of the value of a cast iron skillet as a useful tool in cooking and baking. However, if you are a novice cook, then a cast iron pan is something that I would consider essential for any starter kitchen. I use this heavy-duty cookware to make dessert, appetizers and main courses and really, there’s so much more. If you are just starting out on your cooking journey or have not explored cast iron cookware, here are my top 10 reasons why you should consider it! I have also included a mini guide on other features of iron skillets.
1. Cast Iron Skillet is oven safe
The most prominent proof purchasing an iron skillet is its versatility. It is useful in a variety of different cooking methods including on a gas stovetop and an oven. You can make an array of casseroles and pudding along with using as a frying pan to fry eggs.
2. Cast Iron Skillets are Budget Friendly
Cast iron pans are found at local kitchenware stores for about $15-20. At such a low price, they work as good as expensive utensils. Due to this, you will be able to improvise the quality of your dishes for a small price.
3. Cast Iron Skillets Ensure Safety
Since iron skillets and pans were invented 2000 years back, they use an age-old technology which ensures a degree of safety that is missing from modern cookware. For example, aluminum has been declared as unsafe for cooking food as it absorbs into food thereby causing serious conditions like Alzheimer’s. On the other hand, non-stick pans lose their Teflon coating which makes them useless. However, iron skillets are safe to use as they do not scratch and does not transfer too much.
4. Does Not Require Too Much Oil
When compared to aluminum or steel, cast iron pans requires less oil. Warm the pan, and then a thin layer of oil is spread around. This amount of oil is sufficient for any amount of ingredients. The surface of the skillet is smooth which ensures that the amount of oil used is minimal.
5. Can be Heated to High Temperatures
Cast iron pans can be heated to extremely high temperatures without any problems. Due to this, you can sauté vegetables, flambé fruit and sauté food with ease. It is extremely easy to add a crispy crust to the food which might not be possible with other types of cookware.
6. Cast Iron Skillets Prevent Food from Burning
Cast Iron pan is a slower conductor of heat when compared to many other metals which prevent them from burning the food. However, since they can be heated to high temperatures, they stay hot with uniformity, therefore, cooking food without charring it.
7. Cannot be Destroyed
Iron skillets are extremely heavy that and durable therefore they cannot be destroyed with ease. The iron contains a seasoning material which makes it even tougher. This is one of the main reasons that iron skillets last for generations.
8. Come with Health Benefits
Iron pans also come with various health benefits as some amount is transferred into the food. This is beneficial in increasing the iron content in your food thereby strengthening immune systems and increasing hemoglobin in the blood.
9. Easy to Maintain
Cast iron skillets do not need extensive scrubbing and scouring as that can strip off the coating of the pan which is necessary to keep rust away. Whenever, you use the utensil, rinse it with hot water and gently scrub it with a brush. If there is grime on the skillet, boil water in it and soak for 15 minutes. Scrub it clean with a wire brush, salt, and hot water- soap destroys the seasoning! Drying it on the stove or with a cloth is necessary since it can rust if left wet.
10. Multi-functional: Used for Different Cooking Methods
Cast iron pans have plenty of uses, and they can be used in a plethora of ways including grilling, shallow frying, deep frying, poaching, broiling and sauteing. For Chinese cooking, one can place a basket over it to steam food. To give finishing touches to your dish, you can also transfer the skillet from the gas stovetop to the oven directly.
Guide to Using an Iron Skillet
The following are a few things I discovered while using my iron skillet:
Is the skillet ruined after rusting?
The answer is no! If the pan is rusting, you can still save it by scouring it with steel wool to remove the rusty part. Additionally, a paste of coarse salt and water can also remove rust. Whatever, you use must be non- toxic so that the chemicals do not mix with the pan and mix with your food.
Can iron from the pan get into your food?
A small amount of iron is good for you, but acidic foods like tomato or lemon can deplete the coating and mix large amounts of iron in your food. This results in metallic tasting food.
Is it good to use soap to clean your iron skillet?
It is often said that cast iron pans should not be cleaned with soap to maintain a built-up coating. You will just need to re-season your pan if you wash with dish soap. To do this, coat pan with vegetable oil or shortening and keep it in the oven to bake at 350 degrees. This will also kill the bacteria thereby eliminating the need to use soap.
Overall, cast iron skillet pans are a must have in your kitchen since they are incredibly versatile and are best for multi-tasking. They are cost-effective, and they come with a string of benefits that make them worth buying!