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Cast Iron Cookware – What I Wished I Knew But Didn’t !

Buying Guide Cookware Advice

Cast iron cookware tends to be quite thick and heavy. While slow to heat up cookware made from cast iron can retain and distribute heat evenly. This makes it a fantastic choice for browning, braising,stewing, drying, slow cooking and baking food items.

THE BASICS

4 BENEFITS

benefits of cast iron cookware
  1. Generally, this cookware is thick and dense which provides an even and higher heating capacity.
  2. ​It can release iron (important nutrient) into the food being cooked and this is not a bad thing for the body.
  3. Cast iron tends to retain heat after the heat source is turned off.
  4. This can be useful for slow cooking and keeping the food hot for an extended period of time.

RISKS

risks from cast iron cookware

Rusting is possible if the cookware is not managed well.

benefits of cast iron cookware

4 HANDLING TIPS

handling tips for cast iron cookware
  1. Keeping the insides of the cast iron cookware with unsalted cooking oil can prevent rusting.
  2. Do not use strong detergents or cleaning liquids when washing cast iron cookware.
  3. Wash in hot sudsy water followed by immediate drying and rinsing.
  4. Store the cookware in a dry cupboard.

COATING​ & SEASONING- 

cast iron cookware
  1. Cast iron cookware is usually available in either bare iron or enamel coating. For bare iron, the cookware requires being “seasoned” before its use.
  2. Seasoning can be done by thoroughly washing and drying the pan, gentle rubbing on the surface and baking in an oven at 300 degrees for roughly 60-75 minutes.
  3. The seasoning process gives the pots and pans a nonstick surface that lasts for a long time. However, once the seasoning is complete avoid soaking or washing with soap.

CLEANING


  1. Cleaning can involve ​wiping with a cloth. In fact, enamel coated cast iron can provide the benefits of cast iron cookware, and requires lesser maintenance i.e. easier cleaning.
  2. Cast Iron cookware is not recommended for dishwasher usage or glass top stoves or cooking surfaces.

FOOD ITEMS TO AVOID - 

  1. ​Acidic foods tend to have a reaction with cast iron cookware. Specifically, they can strip the coating from the cookware.
  2. If you do end up doing that, it can be remedied by seasoning the pan again and being careful with acidic food items in the future.​​

TAKING CARE OF YOUR CAST IRON COOKWARE AT HOME

best cast iron cookware
best cast iron cookware

LOOK AND FEEL

  • Ironware tends to give food a grayish color with a metallic taste unless it is seasoned well.
  • ​Typically, a seasoned cast iron pan or pot looks shiny black and not rusty.
  • New cast iron cookware will have a gummed label attached on it and this will come off when you put the pot or pan on a range and heat slightly.
  • This will help peel the label easily.

ADDITIONAL SEASONING TIPS​

  • Seasoning ironware will involve washing it inside and outside with a mild dishwashing detergent and then dry it completely.

HOW?

  1. Place in an oven at about 300 degrees fahrenheit for 2 hours and then remove it to cool and then wash it with a mild soap liquid, rinse and dry.​
  2. Follow this up by greasing the insides and outsides (also the lid) with unsalted fat or salad oil.​

ALSO

  1. Generally, try to avoid high temperature cooking, especially, water based cooking at high temperatures (steaming and stewing) as that can remove the seasoning. 
  2. Correct seasoning can prolong the life of cast iron cookware, getting better with use and can last a lifetime.​

​STORAGE 

  1. Ideally, ironwares need to be stored in a dry place. Covering it in storage can make the ironware sweat and rust.
  2. A paper towel or towels kept​ inside the cast iron cookware during storage helps absorb moisture.
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