I love my cast iron pans! They are used daily and sometimes more than that! I was originally afraid of using them because I had heard that they were finicky and hard to maintain, but I haven’t found that to be true at all! They are much, much easier to clean than stainless steel frying pans and cook better also. Not sold yet? Check out these other benefits…
You may have heard not to over-heat Teflon because of the toxic gases it emits at high temperatures. You may also have heard that you shouldn’t use Teflon if you have birds because overheating it can cause acute toxicity and kill them (maybe this should have been our warning not to use it in the first place?) But Teflon also contains chemical from a family of chemicals called poly-florochemicals or PFCs. PFOA being the most famous one.
Teflon, the non-stick surface produced by DuPont, has made news several times about its safety. In fact, in 2005 the EPA fined DuPont a record $16.5 million for its decades-long cover-up of the safety of a chemical in Teflon called PFOA.
“DuPont had long known that PFOA caused cancer, had poisoned drinking water in the mid-Ohio River Valley and polluted the blood of people and animals worldwide. But it never told its workers, local officials and residents, state regulators or the EPA. Eventually, research by federal officials, EWG and other public interest groups found that the blood of almost all Americans was contaminated with PFCs. And in 2006 the EPA confirmed that PFOA is a probable human carcinogen.” (source)
PFOA was banned in 2015, but the new chemicals that replace it may not be any better! (source)
There are also many non-stick pans that are made with anodized aluminum, but since any scratches in that surface may cause the aluminum to leach into the food, I’m not comfortable with any of those other alternatives either!
I stick with cast iron and stainless steel for my pots and pans!
YOU CAN USE LESS OIL
One of the health benefits of cast iron is that you can use less oil than you would with stainless steel. Initially, I tried cooking with stainless steel only. While I love my stainless steel pots, using a stainless steel skillet was a nightmare! And cooking eggs…let’s just not bring up those bad memories of trying to clean them off. The good news is that once my cast iron skillets had been properly seasoned, they were super easy to clean and I only had to use about a teaspoon of oil to cook eggs or brown chicken!
COOKING WITH CAST IRON ADDS IRON TO YOUR FOOD
One of the main reasons I decided to try cast iron was that my daughter was anemic. I was giving her an iron supplement (and I still am) but I figured that any additional amount of iron that I could give her in her food would be an added benefit!
IT’S SURPRISINGLY EASY TO MAINTAIN
- Don’t soak. After cooking with my pans I just leave them sitting until I’m ready to clean them. True, it’s easiest to clean them while they are still warm but sometimes life doesn’t afford that opportunity!
- Use soap if needed. One myth about cast iron is that you can’t use soap on it. I have found that just isn’t true. Most of the time I can scrape off any stuck-on food with a stiff brush. If not, I just use a tiny bit of dish soap to remove the food. If I use soap I just make sure that the next time I use them I cook with some oil to re-season the pan.
- Dry thoroughly. After washing them I towel dry them and leave them in the dish strainer to totally dry before putting them away. This seems to work because we are in a dry climate. I’ve also heard of people having success putting them on a low burner for 5 minutes to dry before putting them away.
Lodge is one of the brands that has been around forever. You can easily find 12″ skillets like this one for less than $40! Smaller ones are even cheaper.
CAST IRON IS LONG LASTING AND DURABLE
You can use metal utensils on it without damaging it, drop it on the floor, even neglect it for decades and then restore it! Cast iron will last decades. How many other products in your home are that way!?
What pans do you use in your kitchen? Have you found cast iron to be effective? Share below!