WHY CAST IRON?
Cast iron cookware has been around for hundreds of years, so it’s no surprise that this versatile cookware is so desirable today. And for those who are novices, there’s much to learn about the strength of this classic. For durability, return on investment and versatility, cast iron can’t be beat!
THE REAL DEAL
If you have any doubts about the efficacy of cast iron cookware, look no further. Here’s the real deal:
You have to work pretty hard to put a dent in a piece of cast iron cookware.
You won’t find janky screws or joints welded together – this isn’t a marriage of component parts. This cookware was cast from a mold into a single piece of metal. Once you have it seasoned, it resists rust and can stand up to utensil scratches. You can work cast iron cookware pretty hard: use it under the broiler, cook at high heats on the cooktop, and you can even cook with it while camping – it holds up.
Cast iron cookware, particularly vintage and antique cast iron was built to last a lifetime. Ask around, you’re likely to find friends and neighbors who are still cooking with their great-grandmother’s cast iron, which was passed down through the generations. Go to your local antique shop, check Etsy or even look around on eBay, not only does cast iron last, it can pick up value with age.
There’s no doubt cast iron cookware can take a while to heat up due to its density and it tends to be uneven as it heats up – you’ll find hot spots if you heat up on the cooktop. On the flip side, cast iron works beautifully at holding its heat when warmed up in the oven. The heat in the cast iron stays nearly constant in the oven.
The variety of meals you can make in cast iron is remarkable – there are countless cookbooks to prove it. From the traditional cornbread I grew up with to biscuits or even pizza. Breakfasts ranging from bacon and eggs to shakshuka. When it comes to dinner proteins, this cookware can meet your needs from frying chicken to searing meat or seafood. If you have a sweet tooth, crisps, cobblers, cookies, cakes and pies are all within your reach.
NATURAL NONSTICK COATING
Through the process of seasoning, you cause the molecules of oil to break down and reform into a new layer that sticks to the pan, which creates an amazingly smooth, nonstick surface that rivals Teflon and without the chemicals.
Like anything on the market, you can pay as much or as little as you want to for cast iron cookware. From thrift stores to big box retailers, you can find a contemporary, non-collectible piece of cast iron for less than $30. While I will strip and refinish the newer stuff, nothing beats the vintage, collectible cast iron, which comes at a price because quality costs money. But, compared to the high-end cookware available today, cast iron is an exceptional value.