What Are the Benefits of Cooking on Cast Iron Cookware?
Professional and home cooks rely on cast iron cookware for its durability and versatility. Cast iron is heavy-duty and requires "seasoning" to prevent rust. To season a cast iron pan, coat it with oil and heat it for a few hours. Well-seasoned cookware allows even heating and retains heat well. Aside from being durable and versatile, cast iron offers flavor and health benefits, making it a cherished cookware material.
Cast iron cookware adds flavor and texture that other cooking materials cannot match. Because cast iron evenly distributes heat, food remains juicy and develops a flavorful coating without burning. Rick Mansfield of the Cooking in Cast Iron website notes that the flavor and texture of cornbread cooked in a cast iron skillet is unmatched.
Cast iron cookware is durable. Transfer it from stove top to oven and back again. Cast iron is a favorite material for camping cookware. It withstands the hot temperatures of a campfire without warping, cracking or peeling. Cast iron is available in pans, pots, skillets, casseroles, woks and more, so cooks can create any dish using the versatile material.
Cast iron cookware offers health benefits that other cooking materials do not. Foods cooked in cast iron add trace amounts of iron to a diet, and because well-seasoned cast iron provides a nonstick cooking surface, it does not require additional oils, making it a heart-healthy way to prepare food. The material is not safe for the few people who suffer from too much iron in the blood, but for the majority of healthy individuals, the benefits of cooking with cast iron far outweigh the risks.
Cast iron can last for generations. Other nonstick surfaces flake and wear out, while cast iron surfaces only improve with regular use. In her book "Cooking in Cast Iron: Yesterday's Flavors for Today's Kitchen," Mara Reid Rogers reminds users to wash and dry cast iron after each use, and apply a thin layer of fat to maintain the integrity of the nonstick surface. Do not put cast iron in a dishwasher. With proper care and maintenance, cast iron cookware can last for decades.