Cooking With Cast Iron

There are many benefits to cooking with cast iron cookware ranging from more
evenly cooked food to improving iron in diet. The following are a few reasons to
consider switching to cast-iron cooking.

Chemical free nonstick cooking vs PFC coated cookware

PFC’s, perfluorocarbons, are part of the chemical constituents of nonstick pots
and pans. PFC’s are released when treated cookware is heated or scratched while
cooking. So, what’s the big deal? PFC’s are linked to cancer, liver cirrhosis and
mental disorders. Cast iron pans are free of these synthetic and health damaging
PFC’s and can be just as effective as nonstick pans when properly seasoned.

Infusing food with Iron

When cooking with cast-iron, a small amount of iron is imparted to your food, thus
increasing the nutrient content of your dish! Research from the Journal of American
Dietetics Association found that foods cooked in non-enamel coated iron cookware
increased the iron content of the food by 90% of its original iron content. Actual
amounts of iron imparted into food varies based on cooking time and the acidity
of the food. Longer cook times and increased acidity of foods cooked consistently
showed higher amounts of iron content.

With iron deficiency more common than not, especially in females of menstruating
age, cooking with cast-iron is an easy passive way of increasing iron in the diet. It
should be noted that too much iron can have ill effects on the body including liver
and heart damage. Cooking in cast iron can impart anywhere from .5mg-9mg of iron
to food. Comparatively, one cup of cooked spinach contains about 6.5mg of iron.
The amount of additional iron from cooking in cast iron should not be enough to
create ill health effects, however, checking your iron status at routine doctors visits is always a good idea.

Everlasting Ability

Cast-iron cookware never goes bad! Even the most rusty piece of cast-iron cookware
can be restored and cook, forever! Not only is this good for your wallet, it is good for the environment as well! Whether you hit your local rummage sale or order new,
adding a cast iron skillet as a staple cookware piece is a healthful choice!

Maintaining Your Cast Iron Cookware

The key to keeping your cast-iron cookware in mint condition starts with
“seasoning,” the term used for the treatment of cast-iron with oil and heat to create
a smooth nonstick cooking surface. A well seasoned cast-iron pan will have a shine
to it, not to worry, the pan is meant to look and feel slightly greasy. After cooking,
cleaning a cast-iron pan does not include soap. Hot water and a good scrub brush
can do the trick, in addition to thoroughly drying the pan immediately after being
washed. Applying a thin layer of oil to the cookware after drying done to preserve
the “seasoning.”

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