I got inspired when I heard Dain talking about cast iron on this podcast (go to 6:40 to hear the cast iron segment, and be prepared: Dain is a little hyper!).
Dustin bought me my first cast iron skillet while we were on vacation in the mountains a few months ago. It is made by “Lodge,” and we actually found it at Walmart! It was only about $13! A few weeks later, one of my downstairs neighbors messaged me because she had seen on Facebook that I’d been wanting some cast iron. She had found a skillet in the back of one of her cabinets, and asked me if I wanted it. Score!! Thanks Tiffany!
So now I have two skillets, and I use them all the time. What do I love the most about cast iron?
1. It heats quickly and cook evenly. You probably will not have to turn your stove above medium settings with cast iron. The entire pan will get hot in no time! Have you ever been frustrated because the food directly over the stove burner (in the center of the skillet) cooks more quickly than the food on the outer edges? You will not have that problem with cast iron.
2. It lasts forever. The pans that my mom has used in the past have belonged to grandparents! As Dain says in the podcast, you can find cast iron cookware at garage sales, or in your grandma’s basement. Just wash it, season it, and use it!
3. It’s CHEAP! As I said above, my skillet was only about $13. Not a bad deal.
4. It is heavy and sturdy. You can even use your cast iron for baking in the oven.
5. There are health benefits! Did you know that cast iron will leach out iron into your food? Too cool!
A few tips:
*You will hear on the podcast that it is smart to season your cast iron. This is so important, as it provides a non-stick surface. I forgot to season mine after I used it the first time, and it got pretty dried out. When I cooked in it after that, the food definitely stuck to the bottom more. But I just seasoned it after I finished cooking that dish, and it went right back to normal.
I season my cast iron with coconut oil. Just put a dab in the bottom of the skillet, and wipe the entire interior with a paper towel to spread the oil around.
*Do not pour cold liquids into a hot cast iron pan. It may cause it to crack.
*Also, be sure you use a pot-holder to lift your hot cast iron. I always forget that the handle gets hot too! Ouch.
*And Dain is right… it is definitely easiest to clean when it is still hot. Be sure that you do not use soap, as the iron can sometimes retain the soap’s flavor. Just use HOT water and scrub it clean.
Let me know how you use your cast iron!