The Benefits of Cooking with Cast Iron Pots and Pans

There are so many different pot and pan options to choose from these days. Non-stick, stainless steel, and aluminum pans are some of the most commonly used cookware today. As popular as these pans are, they also have some disadvantages to your health. One durable cookware option that has been used for thousands of years is cast iron pots. Cast iron is durable, easy to cook with, and very safe. If you have been considering switching to cast iron cookware, read on. In this article, I'll go over the many benefits of using cast iron pots and pans, as well as how to use them. Let's get started.

Benefits of Using Cast Iron Pots and Pans

1. Cast Iron Pots Are Much Safer Than Other Modern Cookware

Much of the modern cookware that people use today are considered unsafe. For example, non-stick pans cannot handle high heat. Most nonstick pans are coated with polytetrafluoroethylene, also known as Teflon. Because non-stick pans can easily become scratched, it is easy to ingest some of the Teflon on the pan.

Another unsafe modern cookware is aluminum pans. It is very easy to absorb aluminum, which can be harmful to your health. What's great about cast iron pots and pans is that they are generally safe to use. Although iron can react with acidic food, the seasoning on the pan acts as a barrier between the food and the metal. Besides, absorbing the iron can be beneficial to your health. Cast iron pots can handle the high heat, making them completely safe for cooking your favorite dishes.

2. You Will Also Absorb Iron

Another huge benefit of cast iron pots is that you will absorb iron. Cooking in a cast iron pot can add significant amounts of iron to your food and into your body. In addition to eating more iron-rich foods like meats, beans, and spinach, cooking in a cast iron pot is an easy way to boost your iron intake. Iron is needed to carry oxygen from the lungs to tissues throughout the body. About 20% of women, 50% of pregnant women, and 3% of men do not have enough iron in their body.

A deficiency can be caused by excessive bleeding, inflammatory conditions, not enough iron intake, and pregnancy. Iron deficiency can impair your physical work capacity, reduce your mood and cognitive function, put a pregnancy at risk, and lead to anemia. If you are suffering from iron-deficiency or are trying to prevent it, you should definitely switch to cast iron pots. As the name suggests, cast iron pots are made from iron and therefore allow your body to absorb the iron.

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3. Cast Iron Pots Are Durable

Because cast iron pots are so heavy, they are also extremely durable and tough. Even though they can rust if left unused, they should continue to work for hundreds of years. Unlike non-stick pans, it is difficult to scratch and damage cast iron pots. Even if you happen to scrub it too hard, you can always re-season it. If you are looking for a durable pan that won't let you down, a cast iron pan is the way to go.

4. Cast Iron Pans Require Less Oil

When you start using cast iron pans, you'll probably notice that you don't need to use as much oil. When cooking with cast iron pans, all you need to do is heat the pan and spread a small amount of oil on the pan. A thin layer of oil all over the cooking surface is all you need to cook the food evenly without burning it.

5. Cast Iron Can Handle the High Heat

If you have ever cooked with non-stick pans, you know that you cannot use it over high heat. Otherwise, the surface will become damaged and toxic vapors may be released. With cast iron pots, on the other hand, you don't have to worry about how high the heat is. This makes them ideal for deep and shallow frying, searing meat, and quick sautéing of vegetables that leaves a roasted layer on the outside without making them mushy inside.

6. Cast Iron Pots Cook Food Evenly

One of the most common pans available today is stainless steel pans. As nice as stainless steel pans are though, they lack some of the benefits that cast iron pots have. One such disadvantage of stainless steel pots is that it cannot cook food evenly. Even if the pan is hot to touch, the food on top will not be affected by the heat. Cast iron pots, however, can heat several inches of food of above its surface. This is why cast iron pans prevent the food from burning. All of the food is cooked at the same time, making it less likely to burn.

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7. You Can Use a Cast Iron Pot Multiple Ways

Some pots and pans are only designed for one type of cooking. What makes cast iron pots unique is that you can use them for many different types of cooking. You can use your cast iron pots for roasting, sautéing, grilling, broiling, shallow frying in a small quantity of oil or deep-frying in plenty of oil. They are good for water-based cooking like poaching and boiling. You can also use cast iron pots for baking.

8. Cast Iron Pots Are Inexpensive

While it may seem like this high-quality pan would be very expensive, it is actually cheaper than many other pan options. For example, stainless steel pans can often cost $100 or more. While it is possible to purchase stainless steel pans for around $20, these pans are often cheaply made and don't last long. Cast iron pans, on the other hand, are inexpensive (usually costing about $20 to $60) and last much longer than other pan options. While cheaply made pots and pans will need to be replaced often, cast iron pots can last for hundreds of years.

9. Cast Iron Pans Are Non-Stick

If you are worried about food sticking to the pan, worry no more. Cast iron pots are non-stick, making them just like non-stick pans but much healthier. As I mentioned earlier, you only need to use a small amount of oil to prevent the food from burning.

10. Cast Iron Cookware Is Easy to Clean

While some people believe that cast iron is difficult to clean, the truth is that it is easier to clean than other cookware. They rarely require soap to clean, and the food lifts right off the pan. Just be careful when washing them that you don't allow water to sit in the pan, as this can lead to rusting.

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Are There Any Disadvantages of Cast Iron Pots?

Now you know the benefits of cast iron pots, so you may be wondering if there are any disadvantages. While there are a few drawbacks, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Here are a few minor disadvantages of using cast iron pots.

1. The Handles Can Get Really Hot

One minor con of cast iron cookware is that the handles can get really hot. As a result, you may burn yourself. You must be very careful when cooking with cast iron pans since they are so hot. While the heat is what cooks the food so quickly and evenly, it can also cause some injuries. Always have a potholder or oven mitt nearby when cooking with a cast iron pot or pan.

2. Cast Iron Pots Are Heavy

Another disadvantage is that cast iron pots are heavy. Caring one can be difficult, even when there isn't any food in it. Once there is food in it, it will be even heavier to carry. It can be especially difficult to carry when it is hot because you can't support the bottom of it with your hand.

3. Cast Iron Can Rust

Unfortunately, cast iron is prone to rust. If you use your pot for boiling water, or if you wash the pot and leave water in it, your cast iron pot may rust. This can be prevented by not using it for boiling water and to always be careful when washing it with water. Also, try to use your cast iron pot often. Not using a cast iron pot can cause it to become rusty.

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How to Season Your Cast Iron Cookware

Before you can start cooking with your cast iron cookware, you must season it first. To do this, scrub the pan well in hot soapy water. Dry it thoroughly. Spread a thin layer of melted shortening or vegetable oil over the pan. Place it upside down on a middle oven rack at 375°. You may want to place foil on the lower rack to catch the drips. Allow it to bake for one hour, and then let it cool in the oven.

Things to Cook in Your Cast Iron Pan

As I mentioned earlier, cast iron cookware can be used for cooking lots of different foods. You can use your cast iron pots for roasting, sautéing, grilling, broiling, baking, shallow frying in a small quantity of oil or deep-frying. If possible, try not to cook with acidic ingredients. Acidic ingredients, like tomatoes, vinegar, or wine will react with the iron in a way that creates a metallic flavor. This isn't dangerous, but it can make the food not taste as good. Also, keep in mind that cooking food that has a strong smell could make the food you cook next smell like it too. For example, if you cook fish in your cast iron pot, you shouldn't plan on baking sweets with that same pot afterward. It is recommended to buy two cast iron pans so that you have one for sweets and one for savory foods.

How to Wash a Cast Iron Pan

To wash your cast iron pan, use a sponge, warm water, and a bit of soap until it's clean. If you're having trouble removing crusty bits, add coarse salt and warm water to the pan and scrub it gently with a towel or sponge. Wipe it down with a paper towel until it's completely dry, or set it over a low flame until all the water has evaporated. Never leave water sitting in a cast iron pan because it will rust.

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Final Thoughts

I hope this article has answered all your questions about the benefits of cast iron pots and pans. In this article, I went over the top ten benefits of cast iron cookware, as well as how to use cast iron pans. While there are a few drawbacks to using cast iron pots, the benefits definitely outweigh the cons. I hope this article has helped you understand the many benefits of cast iron cookware and why you should switch to it today.

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Mariann Foster
 

Mariann lives with her daughter, Maria, managing Big Horn Mountain Alpacas in Wyoming. She enjoys living simple and making a small footprint. She loves running everyday and being outdoors when she isn't writing. Mariann hopes to inspire others to live a low maintenance life and to take care of the environment and all the creatures living on earth.

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