I was having a conversation with someone about cooking pans and I mentioned I only cook with cast iron. The response I got was “gosh that is a lot of work”, well that made me think about it for a minute. I suppose if you are used to simply putting your pans in a dishwasher it might seem like a lot of work to hand wash your cast iron. I have been using only cast iron long enough I no longer see it has a lot of work, but simply as a way of life. Something I choose to take the time and effort for because of the health benefits for myself and my family. So, I wanted to share with you the top 5 reasons I cook only with cast iron.
- The Mineral Iron
Cast Iron pans infuse our food with the much-needed mineral iron, eliminating the need for us to take iron supplements. Iron is important for the growth and development of our bodies. It is used by the body to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all part of our body, and myoglobin, a protein that provides oxygen to muscles. Iron is also needed to make some hormones (1). It additionally plays an important part in protecting our body from absorbing some of the heavy metals like lead and cadmium that are found in our food (2).
- Non-Stick Without Harmful Chemicals
Okay, now before you write me off as a liar because you have tried cast iron before, and EVERYTHING stuck to it. I promise, I am telling the truth! It does take a little time and patience to learn how to cook with cast iron so that it is non-stick. There are certain tricks that you can learn to make cast iron your favorite pan too. My number 1 trick is to add a little oil (olive, pecan, lard, or bacon grease) to the pan while it heats up. This is how I get around constantly re-seasoning the pan in the oven.
- They Last forever
Many of my pans I picked up from a flea market, they used to be cheap, but I guess more people have learned the secrets of cast iron, so they are hard to find for $20.00 anymore. That is okay though because they are worth spending money on. They will not have to get thrown away after a little scratch like Teflon pans. This makes cast iron better for the environment because the PFAS chemicals that make up Teflon non-stick are called “forever chemicals” because they never break down (3). Now after 1 scratch on Teflon it is no longer safe to cook with and ends up in a landfill where the chemicals leach into the ground. Buy 1 good cast iron pan and use it for your lifetime and pass it down to your children, because they only get better over time!
- Food Taste Better
Cast iron is known for its ability to sear a steak to perfection. That is not the only food it cooks to perfection though. Some of our favorites are eggs, potatoes, ground beef, pancakes, bacon and gravy. Just to name a few!
- Cast Iron is Versatile
Fry or bake in the exact same pan! No reason to worry about the pan getting too hot and releasing harmful chemicals into the air. Sear your steak and pop it right into the oven to finish it off. Or bake your favorite brownies in your skillet. The possibilities are endless!
These are just a few of my top reasons, cast iron has been one of the best and cheapest switches we have made for a healthier lifestyle. So, if you are looking for some affordable switches give this one a try. Just know you will go through a learning curve, but that if you are persistent you will learn how to do it! The easy way is rarely the best way.