Ecojustice08’s Weblog


The Joy of Cast Iron Cooking by Stefanie
June 25, 2008, 9:12 am
Filed under: Easy to Do, Stefanie

Things have been going pretty well at the ol’ homestead and I want to share a recent success with you.

We purchased cast iron pans. Yeah, they weigh a ton, but wow, do they ever cook things up nice! My husband and I have used nonstick pans for years–skillet and griddle that is, we have copper bottomed pots. We made the switch to a cast iron griddle and skillet a couple months ago for a few reasons. My husband is hard on nonstick pans and even though he doesn’t use metal utensils on them, the coating would inevitably get worn and start flaking and then we’d have to throw out the pan and get a new one. Cast iron is virtually indestructible. We will never have to throw out these pans thereby saving ourselves some money and not adding another pan to a landfill.

There is also some question about the safety of the chemicals used in the coating of nonstick pans. PFOA, the main chemical used in Teflon, has been classified as a carcinogen by the EPA and companies like DuPont that produce it have been asked to voluntarily eliminate the chemical by 2015. PFOA has been found in drinking water and in the bloodstream of 9 out of 10 Americans and most newborns. The chemical also does not break down in the environment.

Cast iron, it turns out, is highly energy efficient and diffuses heat evenly making for better cooked food. Cast iron cookware is also non-toxic and healthy–the cookware leaches small amounts of iron into the food, a nutrient we all need. Cleaning is also a snap, and after the pan has been seasoned it really is nonstick (and you can buy pre-seasoned pans).

We like our pans so much we will eventually get a dutch oven. We also have our eyes on a stove-top waffle iron.

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7 Comments so far
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I have a Le Crueset dutch oven that I love. It was very expensive for a pan, but I love it. The ceramic coating on the iron is probably not necessary, but I do like it. I use it frequently, even when a dutch oven isn’t needed. One of the wonderful things, imo, about cast iron is that it can be used either on the cooktop or in the oven. Very versatile.

Comment by Cam

My husband has been on me forever to switch over to cash iron and I think you are the one to convince me (shh, don’t tell him that) – you know, i never thought about the effect of throwing pans away since ours will just be passed down to my sister in law, but that is an excellent point. Great post!

Comment by Courtney

Great post on switching from teflon to cast iron. I heartily agree. I’ve linked this post on our “Cast Iron Around the Web” post at http://www.cookingincastiron.com

Comment by Rick Mansfield

Ahhh, an excuse to go out and buy more cast iron. I love my frying pan. And here’s a tip: you CAN cook with them on your flat-topic electric ranges, despite what the range directions say. Just don’t slam them around on top of the stove. Who slams around cast iron anyway?

Comment by Emily Barton

We’ve switched from teflon to copperware, and we are very happy about that too. The key to lasting non-stick properties is not to wash the pans with soap nor scrub them. I know it is hard for people who have been brainwashed into putting everything in the dishwasher, but hot water (+ time if needed) and cloth make miracles. Obviously, a little soap is desirable if you have to cook apples after sardines, but otherwise not.

Comment by kristen

OK, so I was logged with my wordpress account, which I also use for other wordpress blogs I am managing, and for which I should use my real name and not Mandarine. And wordpress.com does not allow different nicknames across different blogs, hence the name in the above comment. But you guys know me as Mandarine, so I guess I will have to create a different wordpress.com account.

Comment by mandarine

It would be the best choice for you. Cast iron pots is also available in bare iron with enamel coating. Now you have knowledge of all kinds of kitchen utensils so it is time to go shopping.

Comment by Cast iron cooking utensils




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