6 Benefits of a Cast Iron Pan
Cast iron pans are a natural, non-stick cooking solution.
Cast iron bakeware becomes naturally non-stick when properly seasoned. Unlike other materials, seasoned cast iron eliminates the need for using oil or butter on the cooking surface, making your foods lower in fat.
Most commercially-promoted, non-stick pans made are made with a chemical called teflon, which is not a healthy choice. When heated to high temperatures, and especially when the pan is dry (like when you’re preheating a pan before searing meat or stir-frying), they release chemicals into the air called perfluorinated compounds (PFCs). Scratched non-stick releases even more PFCs into your food.
Studies link certain PFCs, namely PFOA and PFOS, to numerous health problems relating to hormones, liver dysfunction, and brain health. PFCs are particularly important for mothers to avoid, as it passes through breastmilk.
Cast iron pans are easy to clean and maintain.
When I got my first cast iron pan, the first thing my grandma said was 'don't use soap on it!' I looked at her with wild eyes...how was it going to get clean?
Well, now that I have become a total cast iron advocate, I'll be the first to say that cast iron is some of the easiest to clean. Once seasoned, food comes off easily when scraped with a spatula.
The most important part of maintaining a cast iron pan is making sure it is completely dry. Iron naturally rusts. The importance of 'seasoning' is that it creates a natural layer between water and the iron pan to protect it against rusting.
What is seasoning for cast iron?
Cast iron pans fortify food with...iron.
Research published by PLoS One confirms that cast iron pans do in fact infuse small amounts of iron in prepared food.
This is especially useful for women who are menstruating or pregnant and need a boost of iron in their diet.
Cast iron pans provide an even cooking temperature.
Cast iron pans are weightier than more commonplace cookware, but this allows them to hold heat longer. This will serve you well whether you’re searing a steak at a high temp or simmering a stew on low.
Cast iron is like a fine wine in that it gets better with age.
And unlike a fine wine, cast iron is nearly indestructible. There is something beautiful about cookware that genuinely gets better with more use and love. Sometimes my cast iron pan looks a little worn, but a little use and a fresh layer of oil gives it a quick refresh and it looks good as new.
Cast iron is made to last and withstand anything in the kitchen. This is perfect for someone, like me, who is pretty hard on all of her kitchen equipment. Rest easy that you can use your cast iron pan on the stovetop or the oven at any temperature.
The other amazing piece is that investing (and it's less of an investment than other 'fancier' cookwares, trust me) results in less waste because cast iron truly will last a lifetime or more. In fact, my grandma gave me some of hers and I love the idea that something so utilitarian doubles duty as a sentimental heirloom.
Start investing in a timeless kitchen today, starting with your cookware.
Investing in a low-waste, high-quality lifestyle does not have to come with a large price tag.
In fact, many of the basics don't.