There is an advantage to cast iron cookware in that it could be the last cookware set you ever need to buy. There are some cautions on the use of cast iron, but for those of us making the switch it’s a good change!
I’m not sure how many pan sets I’ve bought over the years. Some the handles didn’t hold up, while others the pans didn’t. The “non-stick” wasn’t durable enough. They didn’t take the abuse at being put on the outdoor grill during summer cookouts. So last Christmas with a gift certificate I bought a 12 inch good quality pre-seasoned pan. It not only has lasted but still looks great.
There are some important things to keep in mind. The pre-seasoned pans are ready to use, but you will probably need to change the way you handle this cookware. It’s heavy, so it’s important to keep away from ledges where it can drop on toes, pets and children. Additionally when cooking it gets HOT! Remember that the advantage of cast iron retaining heat also means that 20 minutes later it may still be hot. If there is food in the pan it continues cooking because of this fact.
The other important thing to keep in mind is a difference in cleaning. Rinse, dry and let it be. No soap, no dishwasher, no soaking…exposure to water means rust. The good thing is if this does happen you can sand the rust off, re-season and you still have a good pan.
It’s durable! Put it over a campfire, make meals over a woodstove or keep for emergency survival as well as using every day these are pans that are modern and long ago at the same time.
“Seasoning” refers to the oil – a pre-seasoned pan has already been treated. If you get one not seasoned spread oil on it and stick it in an oven at 300 degrees, some say up to 500 degrees. The important thing is let that oil ‘cook’ into the pan – this is what makes the dark, slick surface of the pan. For this reason too you don’t have to worry about leaving oil in the pan as with some other pans.
Cast iron options vary from small to large sized skillets, Dutch ovens, pizza pans, tea kettles and many other options including muffin tins and cornbread skillets.
Cast iron is a durable option but do remember to keep it dry to prevent rusting. This is a big factor. In many ways it is a “carefree” wipe down maintenance that a little oil when cooking just continues to maintain the pans as well as cook your food.
For those wishing to support USA businesses companies like Lodge cookware has been an American standard since 1896. They aren’t the cheapest pans but after a year of “abuse” they are the most durable. This makes them the best value for the money too.