There is a lot to love about cast iron cookware. It’s durable, versatile, low cost, healthy and even collectible. It’s been a favorite in China, Europe, and in the U.S. for many years.
Some of the earliest references to this type of cookware go as far back as the Han Dynasty in China in 206 BC. It has definitely stood the test of time!
Even modern foodies appreciate this terrific cookware because it fits in nicely with green living.
It’s safe, nontoxic and easy to use. In fact, it is one the most recommended for those who want to eat healthy.
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Here’s some good reasons to use cast iron cookware:
Cast iron pots and pans are almost indestructible. Of course, the seasoned finish can be damaged, but no problem. They can always be re-seasoned.
You can start cooking a dish on your stove top and simply pop it in the oven to finish it whenever needed. Just make sure to use pot holders for safety! Various types of cast iron pieces can be placed on stove top, in an oven, over an open fire or on a grill top. They’re useful anywhere, anytime.
This type of cookware is one of the healthiest to cook with since cast iron is completely inert, and there is no chemical finish or coating added during production. Also, it is unique in that it can actually add dietary iron when you cook with acidic foods.
This cookware is relatively inexpensive and can even be picked up a piece at a time at yard sales or flea markets for very cheap, if you’re into recycling used housewares.
There are two types to look for:
- Raw cast iron, which is the typical black version that can be easily used for both indoors or outside.
- Enameled cast iron, which has a colorful enameled coating on the outside. This type is generally more expensive, unless you’re able to get a bargain somewhere. Some people prefer this designer look to the old-fashioned, black versions.
Years ago, people used cast iron dutch ovens or other large pots to cook a combination of foods all at once, or to simply cook one food, then dump other foods in after that one was removed.
The case is still true today, and some cooks have made it an art form to use only one or two cast iron pans to cook complete meals. Again, this really comes in handy for outdoor use.
It may seem strange to find that cast iron pots and pans are actually collectible, but really…they are. In the 1950’s, the largest cast iron cookware companies, Griswold and Wagner Ware, went out of business.
Today, the Lodge Company is the largest source of quality cast iron kitchen products.
However, if you can pick up a Griswold or Wagner Ware at a flea market or yard sale, you may have a valuable find.
The company stamp will be on the bottom of each piece. Plus, you can still use them, no matter how old they are!
Yes, that’s right! There’s even a sentimental value to some cast iron pieces, because they have been passed down from one generation to another.
It’s not unusual to find great-grandmother’s skillet or dutch oven still in use at family gatherings. If you are fortunate enough to have a piece of your family’s cookware, you may want to pass this down to your budding chef when he or she is old enough to appreciate it!
The use of cast iron cookware is definitely a tradition that is here to stay, because there are so many good reasons to use and treasure this iconic cookware.