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I love cooking with cast iron. Here are some reasons why:
- You don’t have to worry about scratching it (and therefore replacing it).
- It’s very resilient and can last for a very long time.
- Cleaning is easy.
- Food just tastes better after being cooked in it (my opinion).
- It gets better with age (and more non-stick).
- Can be used pretty much everywhere (stove top, grill, oven, campfire).
- It’s got that rustic feel to it. Heavy and sturdy.
For Christmas last year I received my first enameled dutch oven. I love it and use it all the time. This is the one I have. I eventually want to get a larger one and maybe in another fun color. There is a Le Creuset outlet store less than an hour away from my house and I’ve been meaning to get there. These pieces are a bit more expensive but worth it in my opinion since you will not have to replace them. (Although you may start collecting them!)
This year I bought this plain cast iron skillet for my husband. A little easier on the bank account but still high quality. I also got him this fun cookbook. Look for recipes posted on the blog as we try them out! (Confession: Maybe an teensy weensy part of me didn’t actually buy the skillet for him.)
I also have this cute little skillet that I found in a thrift store for super cheap.
If you have never cooked with cast iron, I would highly recommend it. Here are a few things you should know about this awesome cookware.
- Many pieces come already “seasoned” which just means they have had oil baked into them to start the super non-stick process. It doesn’t hurt to season your new pre-seasoned pieces. Just heat it up on the stovetop until smoking hot, rub a little oil into it, and then let it cool. Seasoning is not needed for the enameled pieces.
- Use a lower heat setting than you would normally use for other cookware. This is because cast iron has a high heat retention.
- To clean, all you have to do is rinse, dry, and lightly coat with the cooking oil of your choice. (You can use a little mild dish soap to clean it if you want.) Just wash the enameled pieces like other cookware. There are cleaners you can buy made especially for enameled cast iron but I have not tried them.
- If a piece becomes rusted from non-use, it can easily be revived and re-seasoned. (But why would this happen? You’ll be using it a lot!)
- If you have an enameled dutch oven, the handle on the lid is most likely the phenolic version (see below). I’ve read that it is good up to 375ºF if you want to use it in the oven. There is also a stainless steel version that you can buy to replace the phenolic one which is good for even higher temps, but I haven’t tried it yet.
- You can still use cast iron if you have a glass top stove (I do). Just make sure you pick it up to move it, don’t slide it.
- Don’t forget the entire piece will get hot, even the handles. I got these for my husband.
What do you think? Do you have/love cast iron? What are your favorite dishes to make in your cast iron?
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