Why Use Cast Iron Cookware?

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Cast iron cookware is so easy love. Whether inherited from a beloved grandmother or purchased brand new, once cast iron cookware makes its way into your home, it will soon become a treasured kitchen staple.

Once you start cooking with cast iron, odds you’ll find it’s your preferred kitchen tool. A true culinary workhorse, cast iron is able to go from cook top to oven to outdoor grill to blazing campfire with ease. No matter what’s on the menu, you know it’s going look, and often taste better, when you use your favorite cast iron cookware.

Why Use Cast Iron Cookware?

Versatile

Cast iron cookware is used in many different ways: on top of the stove, in the oven, under the broiler, on the grill, or even over an open campfire. This versatility saves you both time and money.   You don’t have to buy or wash a bunch of extra pots and pans.

For example, to make a big pot roast in a single pan, pull out your cast iron Dutch oven to brown the meat, then add the remaining ingredients before placing in the oven to cook.

Who needs a big roasting pan? Just take out your largest cast iron skillet and roast a whole chicken in it. You can also sear steaks on top of the stove.   Then put it them in the oven to finish cooking without dirtying another dish.

Pocket-Book Friendly

New or used, a basic piece of cast iron cookware is usually a steal. The simplest form, called ‘raw’ cast iron (the black color), is what you might envision on a campfire. There are also more colorful enameled varieties, but they tend to cost a lot more.

Fortunately, some well known lines of old-fashioned cast iron cookware have come out with their own enameled versions that rivals the designer labels.

If you want a good, solid piece of cookware without spending a lot, cast iron is the right place to start.

Sturdy

This old-fashioned cookware is nearly indestructible. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t damage the seasoned finish.  But even if you do, it can be fixed in most cases.

First, try cooking some bacon or other fatty food in it. If that doesn’t give the results you want, you can always re-season the pan to restore the finish to its previous luster.

Know you know why cast iron cookware is handed down for generations – it lasts forever!

Practical.

Have you ever started cooking a dish on your cooktop only to realize you need to pop it under the broiler to finish it?

If you have ever had to transfer food from one piece of cookware to another just to complete a recipe, you know what a pain that can be. If you are using a regular skillet, you need to worry about whether or not the handle will melt or if the whole thing will crack from the heat.

Unlike regular pots and pan or fancy specialty cookware, cast iron is no-nonsense. Which means you don’t have to think about anything but your recipe and gathering everyone around the table.

Cast Iron Cookware is Sentimental

Cast iron has been a mainstay in kitchens for generations. As a result, cast iron is often associated with warm, happy memories of delicious meals shared with close family and friends. Perhaps you have fond memories from your childhood. Or maybe you had the chance to hang a cast iron pot over an open fire while camping.

Whatever your personal memories of cast iron may be, chances are your own frequently used pieces will become a treasured part of your family’s history.  Which is truly something to love.

Skillets and More

A skillet is the staple cast iron cookware piece that every home chef should start with.  The beauty of cast iron, though is it doesn’t end there. There are many affordable cast iron pieces available that are just as wonderful as your favorite skillet.

Dutch Oven

No kitchen is complete without a cast iron Dutch oven. There are many choices available, especially now with the increasing popularity of the enamel finishes. Although the colorful designer styles can be pricey, you can still find the simple ‘campfire’ or ‘raw’ varieties of cast iron at a very reasonable price.

Both the designer and raw styles work extremely well.  After all, the quality is in the cast iron, not the color!

When you shop, choose a Dutch oven that is heavy.  Look for sturdy handles, and a tight fitting lid. A good cast iron Dutch oven can be used on top of the stove to make soups and stews.  It can also be used in the oven to make roasts and casseroles. You can even take a “raw” version on your next camping trip to whip up some delicious meals over your campfire.

Aside from your cast iron skillet, your Dutch oven will be among your most often used cookware pieces.

Grill/Griddle Combo

Although you may long for a stove with a built-in grill/griddle combination, it may not be a realistic option in the near future. However, you may be surprised to discover how easy and fun it is to cook with a cast iron version. Just heat up your cast iron griddle and you will feel like a short-order cook in no time!

Cast iron is so versatile. You’ll soon be frying up crispy bacon, golden brown pancakes, and perfectly done eggs.  No need to wash several pans or mess around with a bunch of specialty appliances. Plus, the grill side makes those nice grill marks that make everything you cook look so wonderful. For some reason, food that looks good seems to taste better, too.

Muffin and Loaf Pans

The best part of making cornbread in a cast iron skillet is the golden crust that forms around the outside of the pan. When you use cast iron muffin or loaf pans, you’ll end up with even more of that golden crusty goodness.

In addition, you can use cast iron muffin pans for all sorts of muffins and other individual serving size dishes. Plus switching to cast iron loaf pans for bread results in consistently golden brown crusts with no scorched bottoms.

Pizza Pans and Fajita Serving Platters

To re-create that restaurant-style sizzle when your fajita or steak comes to the table, you can’t beat individual cast iron serving platters. Just heat the platters in a hot oven. When your meal is ready to serve, carefully pull the platters from the oven.  Then plate them up for that mouth-watering sizzle everyone loves.

You can also find sizzle platters with heat-resistant carriers. All you’ll have to worry about is making enough food so you don’t run out when everyone asks for more!

Cast iron cookware pizza pans help you get a restaurant quality crust every time.  Whether you are heating up a frozen pizza or making your own pizza dough, you will truly notice the difference when you cook the crust on cast iron.


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Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an author and sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky. When she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s writing about country living and artisan culture.
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