Cast Iron Skillet-The King Of Kitchen Cookware

Cast-Iron-Skillet-Recipes

A cast iron skillet is also commonly referred to as a frying pan and is standard cookware that you can find in almost anyone's kitchen. It is a pan that has a flat bottom, and its primary uses are browning and frying foods. Pots come in different sizes and varieties.

The length of their handle also varies. Different metals go into making frying pans like copper, stainless steel, aluminum, copper core, etc. But the frying pan or skillet that we will be discussing in this article is specifically the cast iron skillet.

Cast Iron Cookware

Go to your kitchen and look around, you will find many utensils and cookware made out of different materials. Even though the various material cookware is efficient enough to do their jobs, they lack the edge that cast iron cookware has. 

What makes cast iron cookware so valuable is the ability to retain heat for more extended periods of time. Not only do cast iron cookware keep heat longer but they are inarguably the best when it comes to distributing heat evenly. 

First Cast Iron Cookware

It is not clear when people used the first cast iron cookware, but one thing is for sure, and that is China was using utensils made out of cast iron about 200,000 years ago. After finding out about the success of casting metal, multiple items got developed with the casting iron technique, and its fame spread throughout the world like wildfire. 

Cast Iron Factory

Europe was responsible for introducing modern techniques to cast metals; the Americans, later on, adopted these techniques. With cast irons evolution throughout the years, it is now impossible to perceive a kitchen without cast iron cookware.

Cauldrons And Cooking Pots Of The Middle Ages

Cooking has been prevalent almost since the beginning of time and has no chance of going away. However, cooking pots were apparently not as evolved as they are now but they were efficient enough when people used them initially. 

The fundamental purpose of a cooking pot used to be simple; it was a vessel that helped in cooking food and keeping it secure. The pans during the middle ages were shorter in height but were full; this was methodical as it allowed preparing the food more effectively.

As opposed to cooking pots cauldrons were mostly made out of iron and copper. These cauldrons were surprisingly fragile and used to make food for larger households.

Industrial Revolution

There were a lot of shake-ups in food during the time of the industrial revolution. Not only were there changes in diet, but in culture and methods of production as well. During the industrial revolution most of the men who had jobs used to prioritize on high energy foods like carbohydrates to have enough energy to last them for a full day of work. 

Food that was cheap to make was available to the working people; this was done to save money. It does not necessarily mean that the food was not nutritious; it only implies that there wasn't enough variety of dishes.

You might be wondering how the people during the industrial revolution used to preserve their food. Well, you will be surprised to find out that it was actually during the industrial revolution when cans became famous. The same plastic jugs that we have lying around in our kitchens filled with fruit and other various edibles.

Contrary to what people might think, the industrial revolution was responsible for contributing a lot of positive changes towards cooking. Kitchens that used gas and oil for fuel got popular during the time of the industrial revolution; this greatly benefitted the people who had the opportunity to cook with higher efficiency than before.

The only primary source of fuel before that was coal present in mines; it was cheap as well as readily available to everyone. Suffice to say, the industrial revolution even though a terrible period in history proved to be an essential period for the people reaping its fruits.

Modern Cast Iron

It is no secret that cast iron has immensely evolved throughout the year. Some people think that there isn't any difference between vintage casting iron and new casting iron. Well, let us tell you that there is. Old casting irons were smooth and surprisingly light, and it is a delight to cook in them.

Making Cast Iron Skillets

Modern casting irons are slightly bulkier than their vintage counterparts. They are non stick and distribute heat pretty evenly, which in most people's opinion makes it a much more viable option. The advantage that makes new casting iron far superior to the old casting irons is the ease in seasoning it provides due to its comparatively rougher surface from the old metal.

What Is Cast Iron And How Different Is It From Ordinary Iron?

For the people who want to know what a cast iron is explicitly and what makes it better than other metals, here is a comprehensive summarization that will help you better understand cast iron. The content of carbon in the cast iron is higher than two percent. What makes it really in demand is the fact that it has a melting temperature that is on the lower side. 

Brittle in nature, the cast iron has a melting point that is incredibly on the smaller side, and does not deform when compared to other metals. It is not only used in cookware but has multiple uses, especially in the automotive industry and engineering.

A place in China known as Jiangsu is where archeologists discovered artifacts made out of cast irons and the suggested period of their existence dates back to around the fifth century. Cannons were also made using cast iron and were heavily utilized during the fifteenth century, which later on necessitated large-scale production.

Pig iron is the main component used in the production of cast iron. Pig iron can either be melted or re-melted for production.  A large number of unwanted elements are cut down during the procedure of making cast metal, and the main components include carbon, iron, limestone and also steel.

A blast furnace which is also called the cup can melt casting iron. However, in this day and age, electric arc furnaces are mostly used. It is also what makes cast iron so much different from other forms of metals.

There are more than one type of cast irons, each having their different properties and their pros and cons. These are the four most popular types of cast iron.

  • White cast iron
  • Ductile cast iron
  • Grey cast iron
  • Malleable cast iron

Why Consider Cast Irons In The Age Of Non-Stick Coatings?

As we have already established, that cast irons are the undisputed best when it comes to frying pans. We will give you back up these claims while also educating you about its superiority over skillets with non-stick coatings.

Making Egg In Cast Iron Skillet

Safety

We all know that cast iron skillets have been around for centuries and almost every household used to have cast iron skillets as part of their kitchen appliances. There must be a reason behind its popularity? 

Safety is the reason, for those of you who are still wondering. A lot of frying pans made out of other metals aren't as safe as the cast iron ones. There are several examples of dangers and health hazards that skillets with non-stick coatings pose. Some of them are as follows.

  • It is not safe to use spoiled Tefla coated pans, and with their tendency to get damaged in high heat spoiling is entirely possible
  • Any pot that has a coating of ceramic is a hazard to the people's health as the food is leached by the ceramic after the glaze of protection withers awa
  • Damage to the nervous system is entirely possible in lead pans even at tremendously low levels
  • Aluminum deposits found inside the brains found in Alzheimer patients brains has made people steer away from aluminum pans

Durability

Durability is what everyone looks for when they are about to invest in kitchenware or anything else for that matter. As far as skillets are concerned, cast iron pans are as durable as they come. Regardless of how rusty they get, cast iron skillets are good to go for hundreds of years. The weight and toughness of these cast iron pans are admirable.

The Absence Of Chemicals

You can find an uncountable amount of pans with non-stick coatings in the market, but the one thing they all have in common is that all of them contain various harmful chemicals that are dangerous for our health.

You don't have to worry about that with cast iron frying pans as they are all natural. These pans are the go-to choice for people who opt to eat 100 percent healthy food.

Non-Stick When Well Seasoned

Unlike pans with non-stick coating, cast iron pans don't need any chemically hazardous layer to become non-stick as they are smooth, to begin with, especially the vintage cast iron skillets.

The modern ones are comparatively rougher, but with a little bit of seasoning, they become as smooth as ice, as the seasoning proves to be fencing between the food and the pan making it non stick. It also means that you don't have to add too much oil to avoid the food from sticking to the skillet, a significant advantage if you don't plan to ingest too many calories.

High Heat Unlike Aluminum Or Teflon

As mentioned above most pans don't react well to high temperature and have the potential to get severely damaged. Cast iron frying pans come out as clear winners in this competition as well; their thickness makes it possible to heat the food as much as you want without any trouble of getting damaged.

Making Food In Cast Iron Pans Over Campfire

Heat Radiation Enables More Even Cooking

You will not find cooking more even than cast iron pans.  If you compare cast iron with stainless steel, you will soon discover that cast iron skillets are miles ahead when it comes to heat radiation.

It allows the food to be warm for a more extended period. It also gives the chefs ease as they do not have to continually look after the meal and worry about it warming unevenly.

Drawbacks Of Casting Iron

Even though cast iron skillets are the best choice for cooking, there are still some drawbacks that you cannot ignore. The main two concerns are the following.

Cleaning

A significant drawback of cast iron frying pans is the difficulty in cleaning them. The reason why it is so difficult to clean cast iron pans in because they tend to get too rusty at times and it takes a lot of toils to get the dirt and the rust off it. Now even though it is not impossible to get the rust off the pan, it can be an extreme struggle.

Lack of seasoning, not enough fat and too much sugar can sometimes prove to be a thorn on the side of these pans, and even though they are non-stick, there are times when their surface gets sticky. So even with all of its perfections, the cast iron is not without its vulnerabilities, as are so many other things.

Seasoning

Being naturally non-stick is what makes the cast iron skillets so much famous. But there are a select few occasions where you have to be careful before cooking anything because especially the modern cast iron frying pans are notorious for getting some layers stuck on their surface. A lot of people propose the idea of seasoning the food, but sometimes even that goes all, in vain.

First of all, when a person enters the kitchen to cook food, they want to prepare food and not take extra steps to ensure that their food doesn't stick. As if the process of cooking was not already lengthy, now there is the added task of seasoning it, what if someone was in a hurry?

What Is Seasoning And Why Is It Required On Cast Iron Skillets?

I am sure that many people have no idea of what seasoning is. Even though it can be a lengthy and challenging task for some, but the seasoning is the defining factor that distinguishes between a beginner and a professional chef. It gives the food savory flavors that make them tasty and easy on the taste buds.

You can do seasoning through a variety of things; it can be a mixture of sauces, powders, spices, toppings and many other things. But you should be very careful with the seasoning combinations as the wrong one can make your food instantly unappetizing.

Seasoning Cast Iron Skillet

The best time to add seasoning to any meal is before entering them in their separate cooking utensils or let's say a skillet. Some foods have to be seasoned way earlier than usual so because they take too much time to absorb the flavors inside them, especially mutton and beef.

For skillets to be utterly non-stick a lot of seasoning is required, however, it is not easy as it sounds and some critical steps are vital to making sure that you are seasoning your food correctly. The primary step to take is oiling

What Type Of Oil To Use?

You can use almost any kind of oil in cast iron skillets but the best option is to use that would be the least sticky are soybean oil and flaxseed oil. Canola oil is also a good option of oil to use in a cast iron frying pan and would not stick too much.

How To Season A Cast Iron Skillet?

There are some ways that one can season cast iron skillets. Here are a few things to keep in mind when seasoning a cast iron skillet.

Be Sure To Wash It

Whether you are using an old skillet or an entirely new cast iron frying pan, always use warm water to clean the skillet and be sure to use soap as well.

Dry It Up

You should take extra care of making sure that your cast iron skillet is dry, the best way to do this is placing your pan on your stove and turning on the heat on for a few minutes and then turn it down and allow it to cool down.

Grease It

To make sure that your non-stick pan is non-stick, a little bit of coconut oil can take you a long way. Instead of pouring the oil down, rub a few drops of it with a piece of tissue paper.

Baking

This might come off as a surprise to you, but putting your fillet in an oven can help you in removing the gooey dirt that is impossible to clean off from the skillet.

How To Clean A Cast Iron Skillet?

It doesn't matter how much you season the cast iron skillet; cleaning is essential as well. It is advisable to clean the skillet as soon as it cools down so that too much food doesn't stick. People seem to make a fuss about cleaning a cast iron skillet and make it out to be an impossible task.

Using Paper Towel To Clean Cast Iron Skillet

But the fact of the matter is that it's straightforward, and a paper towel is sufficient enough to do the trick. If your pan appears to be extra greasy than a few drops of vinegar or dish soap can come in handy. If you are looking to wash the rust and gunk off the skillet, then use fine steel wool and clean it with water followed by drying it out. It is that simple

Conclusion

Cast iron skillets are the number one choice of kitchenware in most households, and it is impossible to find anything that is a better-suited replacement for it. Even with its drawbacks which are far and few, the pros outweigh the cons, and with efforts being made to eliminate the few problems cast iron skillets have, you can quickly get one for yourself without any hesitation.

It was a comprehensive guide about cast iron skillets that will answer any and all cast iron related queries. We have provided you with a complete buying guide that will help you make the best decision in cast iron skillet shopping.

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