Cooking With Cast Iron

When it comes to cooking I often think that modern is best. We have so many new things and gadgets. These items must be better than what cooks used to cook right, right? Well, I have found that I am often wrong and that we can learn a lot from how previous generations cooked.

My mother and grandmother cooked in cast iron pans all the time. So did many other people in past generations. My mom always said that cooking in cast iron was the best.

When I got married I had a cheap set of mix and match pans. Over the years I have been able to purchase nicer pans and they have worked well. I really did not see the need for any cast iron pans.

My mom and sisters disagreed with me though and thought cast iron pans were an essential part of a good kitchen. So, a few years ago they bought me a set of three cast iron fry pans for my birthday.  At first I was not very impressed with the gift, I did not think I really needed more pans. But oh was I wrong, once I started cooking in these pans, I realized how much better they cooked many things.

I now love my cast iron pans. Now I don’t use them for everything, but for many things there is nothing like cast iron. My mom always made the best hash browns and I could never make good ones. But once I cooked them in cast iron, I knew her secret. It was the cast iron pan that made them so good. Fajitas are also much better cooked in cast iron. If you want a nice crispy crust on your cornbread, cook it in cast iron. I could go on and on.

In the last few years I have added several more pieces to my cast iron collection. A few months ago I found a cast iron wok at Ross for really cheap. I almost passed on buying this because I do not really need another pan. But I went ahead and bought it and I am so glad I did. I love the cast iron wok. It is Emeril’s brand and works great for stir fry and fried rice. I even use it for cooking scrambled eggs, if I am making a large batch.

Another piece that I found and love is a cast iron bread pan. I bought the  Sante Cabin Kitchen Cast Iron Bread Pan. It cooks very evenly and gives you a really nice crust.

Cast iron not only cooks really well, but  it will last for ever, well not forever, but for a very long time. My mom has pieces that were my grandmothers. Cast iron pans are a good investment and will last you for years.

Do you like cast iron? If so what is your favorite piece?

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures

Comments

  1. I know people who swear by cooking in cast iron too. Do you have any tips for someone who’s never cooked in cast iron?

  2. Julie @ Life Domestic says:

    I LOVE cast iron! It also ads iron to your meal. After my c-section several months ago I had severe blood loss. As I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses I do not accept blood transfusions. One thing I was told besides to take my vitamins was to try cooking in cast iron. I told them I have been doing that for years.

    I want to thank you for your post because I haven’t seen a cast iron bread pan… going to check that out now.

    I also you my cast iron skillet to make corn bread in. It is the best! Nice crust on it and cooks so even!

  3. Loved reading about your affection for cast iron. We too love our cast iron..nothing quite like it. And it is hardy and will last forever. We have purchased a few pieces at an antique store. They are perfect for my husband who likes to cook everything on very high heat, and cut up food in the skillet.

  4. i adore my cast iron pans … i cannot imagine cooking any other way!

  5. I was under the impression that cast iron would damage the cooktop of the newer stoves. It looks like you have one though. Have you had any problems?

  6. I love cast iron too. I even wrote an article about it many moons ago LOL I check the thrift stores all the time. Sometimes I will find a gem. Recently I bought two mini cast iron skillets (6.5″) from the thrift store. One of them someone had made a craft out of it and glue felt onto it. After much cleaning and reseasoning it’s good as new. I made some mini upside down apple cakes that we terrific. Love my Dutch oven, nothing like it for braising in the oven :)

  7. I have two cast iron pans but I don’t use them. I really want to but every time I do the food tastes STRONGLY of iron. I don’t think I’m seasoning it correctly. How did you season your pans?

  8. I was also told by my mother or grandmother that it helps you to get the necessary iron in your diet when you cook with cast iron. Whether that is true, I don’t know? Anyone know? Love my skillets & wishing for a cast iron wok!

  9. I’ve been hesitant to use cast-iron because I’ve heard that you have to season the pan. What do you do to season the pan and how often would you have to do that?

  10. I love cast iron pans, the only thing I hate cooking in them is scrabbled eggs it is so hard to clean it after.

  11. Jenn Briggs says:

    Love them! The standard Lodge skillet is my favorite, but I’ve got a griddle, a smaller skillet, a dutch oven and some others. I buy ’em at flea markets and clean ’em up. THey make great gifts for newlyweds, singles moving from home, and seasoned cooks alike!

  12. Greta @ Mom Living Healthy says:

    I asked for a cast iron pan for Christmas this year, but haven’t used one yet. Let’s hope I get one!

  13. I have some cast iron skillets but don’t use them because I have been told not to use them on a smooth top stove and that is what I have… I wish I had a gas stove because I would is my cast iron all the time!

  14. I have a smoothtop stove, too, and I’ve used my large cast iron skill on it without any problems for a long time. I just make sure that once I set the pan very gently on the burner, I don’t move it at all. No scratches or cracks, and it cooks beautifully!

  15. I have a standard skillet that I purchased new about 20 years ago. I also have a small skillet (egg size) that I found rusting in my sisters back yard. She was going to throw it away so I took it home and cleaned it. After seasoning and using it a few times, it works great. That was 15+ years ago.

    Only two things to remember about cast iron: 1) don’t put it in the dishwasher and 2) allow it to dry throughly and apply some vegetable oil to keep “seasoned” each time you wash. Simple.

  16. I can’t wait to read your follow up posts- I have one cast iron skillet but have never used it because I don’t know how to season or clean it properly.

  17. I love my cast iron pans! Last Christmas I picked a large and medium on sale for half price and I’ve been using them ever since. Home fries are amazing cooked in cast iron! I don’t do them any other way.

    I’ll be watching for your follow up! I have yet to master them completely so I’ll take any tips I can get!

  18. I have one Lodge skillet that I use for biscuits and cornbread, and also for pan fried steak and anything that needs a good, heavy duty pan. I also have a cast iron chicken fryer–similar to a dutch oven, but shaped a bit different. I’m really wanting a griddle pan and a dutch oven, too. Love my cast iron!

  19. This is embarrassing, but I do not have any cast iron and have been eying them for years. Hopefully this will push me “over the edge”. (I’ve been married almost 28 yrs.!)

  20. I have three cast iron skillets, and use them for everything!

  21. I would be VERY VERY interested in a post about how to care and use your cast iron. I LOVE my cast iron but sometimes it is high maintenance. Thanks for all your helpful tips! I’m a silent but regular reader (i use google reader).

  22. I like cast iron because it doesn’t have any non-stick chemicals on it, but I have trouble with things sticking sometimes (like potato). What’s your secret?

  23. I received a set of three cast iron skillets for a wedding present 25 yrs ago. I have just recently started using them after getting a canary and reading the warnings about using non-stick coated pans being toxic to senstive birds (remember canary in the coal mines used to detect toxic gases). I’ve had to season the pans again as the got a little rusty sitting in the back of the cupboard all these years but I really wish I had started using them sooner. I love the way they cook things and love the ease of browning things and setting them into the oven skillet and all to finish cooking.
    I am looking forward to your future articles!

  24. Michelle says:

    A year or 2 ago we started cooking with cast iron, and I love it! We use it for everything. I have 2 large skillets, a couple of small ones, and a 2 quart one we use for pasta.

  25. Kristen says:

    One question I have is how do you know if it is worth buying a used cast iron pan or not? I have seen several at yard sales, but always pass on them not knowing if they will be able to be cleaned up well or not. Are there good and bad types of cast iron or are they all the same? How do you know if it is a good deal? Thanks!

    • @Kristen, I prefer Lodge Brand cast iron. I have never had trouble with any Lodge piece that I have owned. On the other hand I have owned some cast iron with the label of some of the famous TV chefs and have trouble with them. They never season right, they are hard to clean, etc. So, if you are new to cast iron, I would say look for the lodge brand. As far as a good price for used pieces, I would say check the new pieces in your area to see what they would cost and then compare the used ones you find. Most places like Walmart or Target sell new pieces of the basic sizes for a good price. For me I prefer to start with new pieces and not have the trouble of having to remove rust and reseason a piece. However, I know a lot of people that buy used pieces all the time and clean them and reseason them. I think you can usually clean up and reseason older used pans, it just takes a little work. I have never had to do it, but I am sure you can search online for directions. I hope that helps.

  26. I love mine,but would really like to find a bread pan. Have never seen one.

  27. I love cooking in my cast iron Dutch oven ouside. I just bought me a Dutch oven table.

  28. When I bought a new stove a few years ago I didn’t even look at the smooth-top ones because I love my cast iron skillet so much. Mostly I use the 10-inch skillet I bought cheap from Wal-Mart 30 years ago. The best thing about cast-iron skillets is the more you use them the better they work, and the blacker they are the better the seasoning. I like that I can scrub them with steel wool and it doesn’t hurt a bit. But mine is seasoned so well now that it hardly sticks at all. Cleaning while it is still warm (but not too hot) really makes things easier, too.

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