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Every good cook knows how important it is to have good cookware. There is a list of reasons a cast-iron skillet should be in every kitchen. No other cookware comes close to the durability, functionality, and versatility of a cast-iron skillet like the one our mothers and grandmothers used to do their cooking.
Most cooks owned cast-iron cookware at the beginning of the 20th century. Cast iron comprises only a small fraction of cookware today because cooking show hosts advertise their own brands of cookware, and viewers tend to buy what the chefs use. Therefore, the old fashion cast-iron skillets have a lot of competition.
There is still a list of reasons you might consider getting a cast iron skillet if you don't already have one.
1. Cast iron retains heat.
No other cookware has heat retention properties as great as cast-iron cookware. Cast iron has the ability to maintain very high temperatures. They heat up and maintain that heat until all the food in the pain is cooked evenly. That is especially important when cooking meats.
2. Cast-iron skillets are inexpensive.
Cast-iron cookware is inexpensive. A good-quality skillet can be purchased for as little as $15-20 depending on the size and brand you choose. The cookware is available in department stores and online. The cookware does the same job as expensive cookware. Therefore, you do not need to invest a lot of money into the expensive kinds.
3. Cast iron lasts forever.
Cast-iron cookware is durable and will last forever. When you purchase one, you will definitely get your money's worth. Some cooks use today the cast-iron skillet that was handed down to them from their mothers that had been handed down from their mothers. That's how strong and resilient the skillets are.
4. Cast-iron skillets are extremely versatile.
Cast-iron skillets can be used for all types of cooking including frying, sautéing, searing, baking, braising, broiling, and roasting. There is no food cooks cannot prepare in their cast-iron skillet.
A variety of dishes can be prepared in a cast-iron skillet. The beauty of the cast-iron skillet is that can be used on top of the stove as well as in the oven.
5. Cast iron has health benefits.
Some people are concerned that cast iron cookware might leach iron into their food. That is true, and it is a good thing. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, iron from the cookware is good for everyone and especially for pre-menopausal women who often don’t get the 18 mg of iron they need on a daily basis.
Cooking with a cast-iron skillet is also beneficial for those who are anemic and those with iron deficiencies. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association reveals that the pans add significant amounts of iron to some foods.
People with iron overload should avoid cooking their food in cast-iron cookware because they do not need extra iron.
6. Cast iron should be seasoned periodically.
Cast iron should be seasoned to maintain it. "Seasoning" or "curing" is the process of keeping the skillet in good working order. Seasoning cast iron cookware means rubbing the skillet with a light coat of oil on a paper towel or cotton ball. Then fill the pores in the metal with the oil or grease.
The more seasoned your cast-iron skillet is, the better your food will taste. Seasoning keeps your food from sticking to the skillet as well as keeping the pan from rusting.
It doesn't matter which oil you use. It can be a vegetable oil, such as canola or sunflower. It could be shortening like Crisco or lard. Some people have discovered that coconut oil and butter also work just as well as long as all the crevices are covered.
After rubbing, pace the lightly-oiled skillet upside down in a 450 to 500 degree F. oven for 30 minutes. Make sure you use a sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom to catch any drips that may fall. Let the pan cool and repeat the process several times to keep your cast-iron skillet well-seasoned much longer.
7. Cast-iron skillets are easy to clean.
Cast-iron skillets should not be cleaned like other cookware. Take extra care to clean cast iron so you do not damage the seasoning on it. To clean a cast iron skillet, simply rinse it in really hot water while scrubbing with a stiff brush. If food is stuck to the skillet, boil water in it and let it stand for about 10-15 minutes. Rinse again and towel dry it immediately to prevent it from rusting. You can also place your skillet over low heat to dry it completely.