Friday, May 18, 2007

Frugal Friday- Cast Iron Cookware

Sometimes old fashioned things are the best things. Cast Iron cookware is one of those old fashioned good things.

When I first got married I wanted a fancy new set of T-Fal cookware. I was so excited when I got the set I wanted and started using them. I was also given a couple of cast iron skillets that sat in the back of my cabinet unused and dusty.

I knew my grandmother and mom used cast iron cookware but I thought that the cast iron was something old fashioned and wouldn't be nearly as nice as my modern cookware.

I sure had a lot to learn back then! My fancy cookware bit the dust long ago but my cast iron skillets are still going strong. As a matter of fact, so are my mom's and grandmother's after almost 70 years of use!

Cast iron cookware is still the cookware of choice of many professional chefs because it heats evenly and consistently with no hot spots and it is inexpensive. When seasoned properly, food slides out as easy as Teflon coated cookware.

There are a few rules to remember with cast iron:

1. Don't ever put cool water into a hot cast iron pan. It could result in a nasty crack in the pan.

2. Don't store food in cast iron. The acids and moisture aren't good for the finish.

3. Never put cast iron in the dishwasher. Always dry throughly before storing. I put a couple of paper towels in my dutch oven when I store it to absorb any moisture.

4. Heat cast iron cookware up slowly if you use an electric stove and keep heat to medium and lower. Cast iron can't be used on some of the flat glass topped stoves.

It is very easy to pick up cast iron pieces at yard sales or flea markets for just a few dollars. Don't worry what they look like if the price is right. Unless a piece is cracked, with proper treatment you can salvage almost any piece regardless of condition.

I got the Dutch oven pictured below for only $8. The after picture is a little dark but you can tell the difference. This is now one of my favorite pieces of cookware.

So if you don't own any cast iron , keep an eye out at the thrift store and yard sales or beg a piece off your mom or grandmother. I was lucky to have inherited a couple of my grandmother's skillets and a corn dodger pan that my grandmother used most of her adult life. With proper care they will be something I can pass on down to my children.

Before seasoning

After seasoning


Sherry said...

I love my cast iron skillets, and they get regular use. The only thing that doesn't cook well in it is tomato-based foods, as these draw out iron into the food, giving it a metallic taste.

Mrs. Brigham said...

I love using cast iron pans! We received a really nice set of non-stick pans at our wedding, but I have hardly touched them since finding some cast iron treasures in a thrift store. :o) Your post is most informative! I wish I would have known some of these things when I first started using cast iron. ;o) Better late than never, right?

Ewokgirl said...

Good advice! I've been meaning to buy a cast iron pan for quite some time, but I've been too intimidated to do so. Maybe I will now.

Elizabeth at A Biblical Home said...

Great post! I recently bought a cast iron pan and I just love it. By the way, I have a smooth top stove and it came with some very stern warnings that using a cast iron pan could damage it, but I have found that it's not a problem as long as I set it on the cooktop gently and don't slide it around. I don't know why cast iron is not more popular since (I think) it's better than the more expensive stuff.

Patty said...

Thanks for sharing about the joys of cast iron !