Cooking With Cast Iron: Part 3

| 2/3/2015 1:34:00 PM

Of Mice and Mountain MenIn past episodes we have explored the history of cast-iron cookware, its strengths and weaknesses, manufacturers and availability, restoring and seasoning cast iron. Let’s press on now and put all that to good use in your kitchen.

Cooking With Cast Iron

Despite being a rather thick slab of metal, cast iron does not conduct heat as well as some other materials, so it is best to heat your pan prior to putting the food into it. Don’t turn the burner up full blast right away either, let the pan heat up over low heat, then ease it up. There is a possibility of cracking the pan by pouring cold liquids onto a hot pan, so use your head about how hot the pan gets before you start cooking.

Cooking in cast iron

Even re-heating leftovers is easier in cast iron because the material radiates heat upwards better than steel or aluminum bodied pans.

Another myth says that you can use only plastic or wooden utensils in your cast-iron cookware or you’ll scrape off your seasoning. Hogwash! If the seasoning is done properly it is polymerized to itself and to the pan. That means chemically bonded to the cast iron. If you seasoned the pan right side up in the oven and a puddle of oil formed, that will be a soft spot and will likely scrape out. Do it right: thin layers, and your seasoning will stand up to any reasonable utensil, even metal spatulas. To scrape out your seasoning you will need to be gouging into the cast iron as well.

2/4/2015 8:00:54 AM

Allan, I use my cast iron practically every day. Some times food does get crusty on the bottom after frying potatoes but I just put water in the pan after the potatoes are removed and let it boil a bit. The crusted on potato residue comes right out. A quick dry with a towel and a slight coating of oil when still warm re seasons it right up for the next time. I have inherited any pieces of cast iron cookware from families that are cleaning out estates after an elderly family member has died. Cast iron is not a fast instant cooking experience like so many people want these days but I enjoy working with the food, eating the food, and cleaning up the dishes afterward. It's a full bodied experience. But I am a retired person that has the time to enjoy eating and not hurry up and stuff food down the throat to get to the next thing. I have enjoyed your series about cast iron cookware. ***** Have a great cast iron cookware day.

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