The many benefits of using cast iron pans

Cast iron pans and dutch ovens are very economical since they will last for generations when properly cared for.

Cast iron pans and dutch ovens can be used for frying and baking foods to perfection. When properly seasoned they are terrific for non-stick cooking on top of the stove as well as baking in the oven. Cast iron pots are heavy but it is worth the extra muscle power it takes to use them. Besides most of us could use the exercise and build our arm muscles.

Here are some facts about using cast iron pans.

  • Cast iron is tough. There's a reason why there are old cast iron pans at yard sales and antique shops. It is very difficult to completely ruin them.
  • Once cast iron is hot, it stays hot. So cast iron pans are great for searing meat.
  • Cast iron is great for keeping food warm since it holds heat for a considerable length of time. Michigan State University Extension suggests that you check to make sure that the food that you are keeping in your pan or dutch oven doesn’t get below 135 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours.
  • Every time you cook in your cast iron pans you are making them better by seasoning them.
  • During the cooking process a small amount of iron is absorbed into the foods.
  • Cast iron skillets and dutch ovens display your food beautifully. This is especially true when they are used for breads or pies.

The Pop & Sizzle Test

When cooking on top of the stove in your cast iron pans it is best to preheat it. You can do this by using the pop and sizzle test.

Place the pan over a burner and let it preheat for five minutes or so, rotating it now and then. Always set a timer so that you don’t forget that you have it on the burner. To test for readiness drop a couple of drops of water in the pan. The water should pop and sizzle. If the water immediately evaporates the pan is too hot. You can also heat cast iron pans and dutch ovens in a hot oven for 20 to 30 minutes, again setting the timer.

When you bake in a cast iron pan it is not necessary to preheat it.

Every time you cook in your cast iron pans, you are actually seasoning them. The more you use the pans, the smoother the surface of the pans becomes. However keep in mind that using your cast iron cookware to prepare tomato-based foods or other acidic foods containing lemon juice or vinegar can deteriorate the nonstick surface, and as a result, the cookware might require additional seasoning.

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