Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Why Cast Iron? Part III

We've talked about the health and eco-benefits of using cast iron, but maybe you're still thinking "ya, but its still a pain in my bum to take care of". Oh no, that's where you're wrong my friend.

There really aren't any hard and fast rules when it comes to using cast iron cookware. However, there are a few things I recommend avoiding to get the best results.

I mentioned that I reach for a cast iron pan 9 times out of 10. So what am I cooking the other 10% of the time? If I'm cooking anything that contains tomatoes I use a stainless-steel pan and the same goes for boiling a pot of water (to cook pasta, etc). But like I said, these aren't concrete rules, so you'll find folks who do cook tomato-based dishes and, in fact, swear that by doing so they are leaching extra iron in their diet. While that is another health benefit of cast iron, I'd still recommend against it because all that leaching is also removing some of your finish.

Wait! I can think of one absolute rule: do NOT take your hot pan from the stove and stick it in cold water. It could break. Oh, and standing water is the devil. That's two.

So, what about when dinner is done and its time to clean up?

There are two schools of thought here. Some people are firmly on the No Soap side while others aren't averse to a little suds.

I've rounded up a couple links for your reading pleasure.

Well, the first one might not titillate you. Its a pretty straight-forward presentation of caring for your cast iron including why its OK to use soap. And it is, but you will never experience cookware nirvana if you do.

I suggest reading this post over at One Particular Kitchen titled Cast Iron Care: Not for the Germaphobic. First, the title made me chuckle and I was happy to find information that outlined the old-school way of caring for cast iron, while keeping it simple. Plus, its a great read because the author is friendly, witty and gorgeous *waves at Erin* (actually, I've never met her, but I'm sure she is stunning).

So go read the One Particular Kitchen post and I'll say ditto. But I would like to add one more thing: I have good luck cleaning my skillets with grease. What? No, really. I'm not that great at remembering to clean the pan when its still warm so if I find something gunking up my pan, I put it on a burner to warm, add a little butter/oil/whatever is handy and let it melt into the gunk. Then it scrapes off easily and the pan can go to the sink for a little hot water swish, it works just like deglazing a pan.

I couldn't think of a recipe to share with you today, I'm just too worn out from trying to bring you all over to the dark side my way of thinking.

So, have a great weekend and I will see you all back here for The Big Giveaway on Monday.

And if you come here for craftiness and you're thinking "just sew something already, I don't want your stinkin mitts". Relax, I made something yesterday and took tons of pictures. Watch for a tutorial next week that is a great beginners project!


  1. LOL! Yes, I am STUNNING! Especially caked in flour standing over the stove with a three year old attached to my knee. ;) Thank you!

  2. I love the pant leg hangers. My girls come to the kitchen when they smell food and hang off my pants whining and moaning like they're starving. But then put it on a plate in front of them and the oldest looks at it like I went out into the yard and forked up the first thing I found.