Hail the cast iron pan.
These heavy duty pans have been kicking around for a while and there seems to be good reason for it. My number one reason for loving them is because they provide a safe method of cooking and re-heating your food. A lot of the convenience cookware on the market these days are made with a toxic non-stick coating. When this coating is exposed to extreme temperatures or scratched, they release the chemicals in the coating into the the food.
Cast iron is super easy is find. You might even get lucky to score an old, well seasoned pan at a garage sale or flee market – all 3 of ours came from the thrift shop. So keep your peepers open.
If your cast iron pan needs treating to provide a nice non-stick (non-toxic) coating, you can follow these very simple steps:
After purchasing a new pan or one at a garage sale that needs to be re-seasoned, slather it with a thin layer of butter or lard, and stick it in a preheated 400 to 500 degree oven for a couple of hours. As the oil cooks, it fills the pores of the pan, allowing a nice black charred looking finish. Don’t be alarmed if it smokes, just turn on your fan or open the window.
When cooking eggs or pancakes, make sure to melt butter or coconut oil on the pan first. These are my favourite fats for cooking at higher temperatures, as they have a high smoke point keeping them stable i.e. healthy!
Never, ever use soap to clean your cast iron and don’t pour cold water into a hot pan…it can crack. Use hot water and wipe out your pan with a non-abrasive cloth. You don’t want to scratch that seasoning off. If you have baked on food, use table salt and scrub off the sticky parts. The heat in the pan will kill any bacteria; soap will destroy your seasoning and cause your pan to rust. Wipe dry and recoat with a thin layer of coconut oil.
Your cast iron will store best in the open. If you must stack them, always place a towel in between the pans to absorb moisture and prevent scratching the seasoning.