Cast Iron Cookware

by candy47

The most versatile cookware you can buy. Cast iron cookware can withstand high heat on top of the stove or in the oven. Properly seasoned it will last forever.

I’ve been using my cast iron cookware for more than twenty years, and I love it! When I bought it, all those years ago, I was a little intimidated and unsure of how it can be used, cared for and maintained. So with cautious optimism I began my journey.
I found that cast iron can withstand extremely high heat settings. You can use it on top of the stove, in the oven, on barbeque grills and directly over a fire! (great for camping). It holds the heat longer than any other type of cookware and the heat is evenly distributed throughout. It’s great for casseroles too. You can saute your base ingredients on top of the stove in a cast iron casserole dish, then add your remaining ingredients and put the dish directly into the oven. Serve it on the table in the same casserole dish (careful it’s hot) and it will stay hot longer while it's on the table.
I always use my ‘grilling skillet’ when making steaks, chicken and seafood. First get the skillet really hot then place the steak in. It will cook perfectly and you will get grill marks so it looks like it’s been on a barbeque grill.
I’ve actually baked a pie in my cast iron skillet!
Then there is the added benefit of getting iron cooked right into your food!

photos by Candy Dorsey except Amazon products

Why is cast iron cookware different?

Cast iron is non-stick if seasoned properly. Most cast iron cookware comes already seasoned, but it does require occasional re-seasoning. That process is simply a matter of rubbing some sort of oil or fat (I use lard) on the inside AND outside of each piece, then placing it in the oven at a low temperature for at least an hour, or you can season it on top of the stove just as easily. When properly seasoned, you can fry sunny-side-up eggs and they will slide right out of the skillet.

Cast iron cookware needs just a little bit more attention than other types, but it’s worth it. It will last forever…really!

Seasoning your cast iron cookware

There's more than one way to do it - In the oven or stove top

There's more than one way to season cast iron cookware.  In the videos below, Martha Stewart shows us how to season in the oven, and America's Test Kitchen shows how to season on top of the stove.

Cornbread with red and green bell peppers

Red & Green Bell Peppers
Red & Green Bell Pe...
Baked Corn Bread
Baked Corn Bread

I coarsely chopped one red and one green bell pepper, then lightly sauteed them in a small amount of olive oil. Pour the cornbread batter over the peppers then placed in the oven until cornbread was done. The peppers will get tender while baking. Serve directly from the cast iron pan.

This is my cast iron set, the wooden handles are detachable.  I had a few bunches of fennel and lots of carrots so I decided to roast them with a little olive oil and fresh rosemary.

My Set
My Set
Roasted Carrots and Fennel
Roasted Carrots and Fennel

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Updated: 09/28/2017, candy47
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candy47 on 01/18/2016

You're so right Tolovaj about the pros and cons. The heaviness of cast iron can be a problem for someone with arthritis for instance.

Tolovaj on 01/18/2016

Cast iron has pros and cons. Among cons it's seasoning, which is really not a problem, if you know what and how to do it. The other problem is heaviness of cast iron cookware, what makes it a bit easy to manipulate, especially when cleaning.

I think pros definitely outweigh cons. You have already mentioned it lasts forevr and this is true. I have a pan more than fifty years old and it works like a clock. I also have a wok with quarter of century mileage and especially at wok i can mention the other important reason for using cast iron - it gives very specific aroma to your food, similar to outdoor grill.

Good apetite!

candy47 on 10/24/2015

Yes jptanabe, you do have to be careful of the handles!

jptanabe on 10/24/2015

I used to have a cast iron pot, not sure what happened to it along the way. But I do remember the handle got hot!

AngelaJohnson on 10/04/2015

I especially remember my mother making fried chicken and fried potatoes in cast iron skillets.

candy47 on 10/04/2015

I hope it wasn't a painful lesson, blackspanielgallery.

blackspanielgallery on 10/03/2015

The first lesson I learned was to not grab the handle of a hot pan, heat travels in iron.

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