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Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Displaying Cast Iron Cookware

Some people use their cast iron cookware on a near daily basis. They are just tools to cook with. But, with cast iron, there is so much to know on how to season a pot, how to care for it and how to use it that you invest in your cast iron cookware and they become more than just cooking tools. My parents actually have a small collection of cast iron cookware. My Dad's mother used her kitchen wood burning stove to cook with more than she used the electric stove sitting across from it. So he was attracted to cast iron cookware because of his childhood. I've learned how to maintain and use my cast iron skillets but I still take them to Dad for seasoning. He and Mom know how to do it. I could do it but I get them to do it for me. We have 4 sizes of cast iron frying pans, a griddle and some large cast iron cooking pots. We use the frying pans all the time and the griddle occasionally. We rarely use the large cooking pots.

For more on the care of cast iron cookware check out my blog post on Cast Iron Cookware.

Pros of using cast iron cookware:
Cast iron is an excellent heat conductor, heating evenly and consistently

Cast iron can withstand very high temperatures, which makes it great for searing and frying. It sears better than anything else.

Cast iron pots allow precise and sustained cooking temperatures.

When cooking with cast iron heat is spread evenly throughout the pot; there are no hot spots; this makes iron pots great for slow cooking.

Has a non stick surface if well seasoned (but food can stick if you don't keep it well seasoned).

It lasts and lasts, you can pass it down to your kids, heck, your grandkids. It's durable! It's a classic.

Pretty inexpensive to buy considering how long it lasts.

Can go from stove to oven.

Won't warp.

Iron can leach into the food which can be good for you unless you have excess iron in your blood already.

Cons of using cast iron cookware:
You can't clean it in the dishwasher. You have to know what you are doing when cleaning so that you don't ruin the seasoned finish.

It's heavy! I have weak hands and this is a real problem for me.

You don't boil water in cast iron cookware as it melts the seasoning, the oil floats on top of the water and is lost. You have to re-season the pan if you do this.

Not recommended for glass top stoves as it can break it and scratch the surface. We use our cast iron skillets on our glass cooktop but we are careful and haven't had a problem. We don't use the heavier cast iron cook pots on the glass topped stove.

Can't cook acidic foods in cast iron as it ruins the seasoned finish and draws too much iron into the food.

It takes time to heat up. It takes time to cool down. You can learn how to use this to your advantage.

If you tend to just stack dirty dishes and wash occasionally, then don't use cast iron cookware. It needs to be cleaned as soon as you are finished with it. You never fill with water and let it sit (rust). Learn how maintain your cast iron cookware or you will ruin the finish. Rinse them out with hot water and a clean sponge or paper towel as soon as they are cool enough to be touched. Dry thoroughly, even sitting back on the warm stove eye to dissipate all water. Then wipe with oil or lard and store in dust free area (the oil finish can collect dust if you don't use it often enough).

Takes effort to season, clean and maintain. You have to learn what you are doing and how to keep it in good working condition.

How to display your collection of cast iron cookware? I did a Google search and found some wonderful ideas. Thanks to those who shared these for the rest of us! The main thing to keep in mind, when you are hanging cast iron, be sure you hit a stud because cast iron is heavy!

Here is how I store and display mine.

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To contact me, email me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com