Cooking with a Cast Iron
First of all, how does a cast iron differ in use than other pans? One major benefit is that a cast iron pan stays scorching hot. This makes the cast iron an excellent choice for cooking foods that require higher heat. The heat in aluminum pans may fluctuate which doesn’t make it an ideal choice for keeping foods warm compared to a cast iron.
Before your first use
When using your cast iron for the first time, give it a few coatings of seasoning as a base. Rinse it, heat it on the stove, oil it and gently blot around the plan to make sure no area is overcrowded with oil. Let it cool to room temperature and repeat 2-3 more times.
What to cook in a cast iron
Steaks or roasts that don’t need to be scorched but just browned, cook beautifully in a cast iron. The surface of the meat will appear to have a dark brown color without producing burnt black bits. Stir fries are also a great option because it will cook up in minutes attributing to some crunch in your food because the temperature does not drop when food is added. Eggs will also fry well in a well-maintained pan. Scrambled eggs or frittatas may cause sticking if the pan is not properly seasoned. Baking dutch pancakes, lasagna or omelets are all also great choices!
What not to cook in a cast iron
Thin, delicate cuts of fish is not a great option in a cast iron because it will flake into pieces. Thicker pieces of fish with the skin-side down would be a better option. High acidic foods such as pasta or tomato dishes may be too harsh on a cast iron. Vinegar and wine both shouldn’t be used because it may cause damage to the pan as well as metallic tastes to the food.
Cooking in a cast iron
When preheating your cast iron, do it gradually because cast irons will get extremely hot. Start with low heat and slowly move it up to medium to high heat. Make sure you always wait for the pan to heat up evenly before adding anything into the pan or else it will stick. The bonus to a cast iron is that it is oven-safe. It can go from the stovetop into the oven for several minutes of broiling to create a nice golden brown top.
Cleaning and storing a cast iron
Never wash a cast iron in the dishwasher or use bleach to clean. Mild soap is the best option. Avoid metal scrubs because it can remove layers of the protective seasoning. Just like when you first received your cast iron, seasoning your pan should be part of the cleanup process. Use around 1-2 tsp of flaxseed oil for a 10-12 inch skillet. Don’t allow water to soak into the cast iron. After washing, dry it immediately.
Cast irons are durable, efficient & extremely useful to have in any household. Although it does require more maintenance, it’s benefits are well worth it. Cast iron pans are more beneficial than nonstick pans because you avoid the harmful chemicals. Cast irons are naturally nonstick and aren’t coated with synthetic materials, meaning you can prepare your meals with less oil. Being extremely versatile, you can saute vegetables, sear steaks, deep fry chicken or bake pancakes according to your mood. They are made with a strong base material that will guarantee your purchase to last a long time.