Friday, October 7, 2011

Cooking with Cast Iron

I used to be anemic.  I would go in to donate blood and, more often than not, I was turned away because I was too anemic to donate.  The worst times were when I was pregnant.  My hemoglobin count would hover around 10 (ideally, it should be around 12 or so).  During one pregnancy I was actually on a prescription prenatal vitamin plus 2 iron pills every day!  That wreaks havoc on your digestive tract.  No fun at all.

I was talking to a friend of mine about it, and she said, "You need to cook in cast iron.  I cook in cast iron, and my family is never anemic because of it."  She then gave me a cast iron griddle and skillet.

(Here's the two-burner griddle she gave me and a smaller one we have since purchased.)

Not only am I no longer anemic, I'm currently pregnant, and my hemoglobin count is still over 13!!!  Plus, I LOVE cooking in cast iron!!  It's very non-stick, easy to cook in, and doesn't give off any of the dangerous fumes that non-stick cookware gives off (so your pet birds will be safe and happy, too!)

Many people don't cook in cast iron, simply because they don't know how.  The thought of having to "season" it scares them off, but it's so easy!  And the myth that you can't wash cast iron with soap scares others.  But it's just that--a myth!

Wash your pans however you want--with soap and water or simply with water and a scrubber, or even scrub it with salt.  Once rinsed, dry it.  Put it on the stove on low-medium heat and heat it up to warm, then spray with oil (I use safflower--it has a higher flash point than olive).  Let stay on heat for another minute, then turn the heat off.  Let your pan cool and store it, and it's seasoned and ready to go next time you want to cook!  Over time, it will get more and more seasoned and will soon be just as good as any "non-stick" pan!

Cast iron pots and pans can be bought new at Wal-Mart, Bass Pro Shop, or many other stores.  You can often find older ones at flea markets and garage sales.  Below is the smaller skillet given to me by my friend as well as a larger one we purchased new at the store.

You may remember me talking about this cast iron pot that I found in my grandma's stuff in the barn.  It was full of old, rusty nails and sludge when I found it, and is now used regularly in my kitchen.

My hubby recently saved this skillet from a pile of garbage at the side of the road.  With a little bit of steel wool and some seasoning, it'll soon be as nice as the pans pictured above!

Have any of you found cast iron treasures in off-the-beaten-path places?
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  1. I have never cooked with cast iron myself but my mom has lots of cast iron and I have been contemplating buying cast iron. You have just sold me on them. Thanks!

  2. Interesting, I have never heard of that before! I actually have 2 cast iron pans but don't use them regularily. I think I might start, thanks!

    Coley @