Cooking On Cast Iron – Have You Tried It Yet?

So if you know me, you know I love to travel! Besides my bobcat, Basil, I usually end up missing my cast-iron skillet the most when I’m gone for longer than a few days.

Cooking on cast iron

I happened upon cast iron cooking by accident. One of my husband’s friends, and executive chef, came over to cook dinner for us one night. Outside on our brick wall was an old rusted out cast-iron skillet hanging for decoration (or so I assumed…who uses those anymore??) He asked me if he could use it and I immediately started laughing thinking that he was joking. Well, he wasn’t and he made the most outstanding steak I have ever had in it – I was hooked!

As always, I had to do my research and make sure that cooking on cast-iron was healthy for me and this is what I found:

Cast irons actually leach iron into your food… And that’s a really good thing. Iron deficiency is quite common, especially in women. I read that 10% of American women are iron deficient. And check this out, cooking your food, especially something acidic like tomato sauce can actually increase the iron content by as much as 20x’s.

I don’t know too many people that don’t like their food browned. But in order to brown most food, you have to use a good amount of oil to do so. For me, I have a well seasoned cast-iron skillet and I always just spritz it with butter or olive oil before adding my food. Most well seasoned pans are virtually nonstick and you can cook anything in them. I can make the perfect over easy egg with just one spritz of olive oil.

You might’ve read ‘nonstick’ above and thought, “Well, I have a nonstick pan so I’m ok.” But nonstick pans have harmful chemicals in them. The repellent coating that keeps the food from sticking contains PFC’s and that’s been linked with liver damage, cancer and developmental problems in kids. I remember as a new mom being broke and noticing the lining of my nonstick pan coming off, but I didn’t think twice about replacing it back then. I wish I knew then what I know now.

I do get asked a lot about how to season a cast-iron. It’s actually very easy. Just follow the steps:

1. Cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of kosher salt and a half inch of a healthy cooking oil (coconut, olive, tallow or butter).
2. Heat the oil until it starts to smoke.
3. Pour the salt and oil into a bowl ( very carefully) and then use a ball of paper towels to rub the inside of the pan until it is smooth.

Never use soap to clean your cast-iron, just simply scrub it with a stiff brush and hot water and make sure you dry it completely.