I recently inherited several cast iron pieces from my great uncle who had more than he can use for just himself. Needless to say, I did not argue! I love my cast iron pieces. Even better that they are family pieces that have been passed down from my great-grandmother – and maybe even from her mother!
Taking care of them is a lot easier than people may think. Cooking in them is so nice and simple and I like knowing that they aren’t covered in any processed, manufactured, unknown-but-possibly-dangerous non-stick coating. And I REALLY like knowing that they will last until the day I die and I never have to spend money on replacing them. I like keeping the dollar signs IN the pocket. And so does Big Daddy.
So let’s talk about cleaning for a minute. If you didn’t cook something extremely greasy or spicy but something like, say, a grilled cheese sandwich or even a chicken breast, you could just simply scrub your skillet with salt. Uh-huh. Just wipe out what you can, toss in some coarse salt, SCRUB vigorously with the salt and a paper towel or cloth and rinse in very hot water. You’ll know you cleaned it enough if the towel you dry it off with doesn’t wipe off any black or brown residue. But maybe you’re not okay with that. Maybe it won’t feel clean enough for you if you clean it with salt. Okay.
Lately, I’ve been committing somewhat of a cast-iron taboo and washing them with *gasp!* soap. Duh-Duh-Duhhhh. I know, I know. EVERYBODY knows you don’t wash cast-iron with soap. Actually, I have learned from trial and error that it is okay to wash your well-seasoned cast iron with soap if need be (like after cooking greasy ground beef with spicy taco seasoning) and leave your seasoning fairly intact. After washing just rub a little more oil on with a dry cloth and store. On the other hand, it is not okay to SCRUB your cast iron with soap or otherwise. It’s the scrubbing that scrapes off the seasoning, not the soap. Steel wool = bad. Soap and washcloth = good. Go ahead; try it. I dare you. What’s the worst that could happen?
I’m not going to get into the whole ‘seasoning’ bit, I don’t want to bore you to tears. But here are a few good articles about seasoning, cleaning, caring for, and cooking with cast iron. Marvelous! I love it when the work is already done for me.
- The Irreplaceable Cast Iron Skillet
- Ever So Humble, Cast Iron Outshines the Fancy Pans
- Cooking With Cast Iron
Sound good? There’s one more benefit to cast iron that I forgot to mention. Cast iron is affordable. More dollar signs in the pocket! If you do need to replace a piece (you know, like if you lose one or something) or when building your collection to start, you don’t have to break the bank. And you can buy them one piece at a time. Me, I’d still like a few things to round out my collection. Like this 5 quart Dutch oven. And this reversible griddle/grill is definitely on my list. I wonder if I could use the griddle side for homemade pizza? Hmm. And I’d like this Aebleskiver pan. What the heck is aebleskiver? Apparently it’s a round, Dutch, pancake-like puff. But after Princess and I saw a commercial for this “as seen on tv” pancake puff pan, we both wanted one. She thought it was cool and I thought it would be a better way to make muffins, etc, and probably easier to clean than a muffin pan. I’m always up for easier to clean. And the last thing on my cast iron wishlist is a kettle. I’ve already mentioned how much I LOVE my tea kettle. But eventually they need to be replaced. So if I get a cast iron one when this one gets old, then I won’t have that problem anymore. Oh yeah, it’s all good.
Okay, okay, just one more thing. Cooking in cast iron increases the iron content in the food – varying depending on the food type and cooking time. Iron is beneficial, but limited in it’s sources. And if you have trouble getting your children to eat said sources, well, just cook their food in a cast iron skillet and problem solved.
Is it obvious how happy I am with my cast iron cookware? I hope so. I really am. It definitely works.
Works for Me Wednesday is hosted by Rocks In My Dryer.