Cast iron is ideal for frying and baking because it holds heat much longer than aluminum pans. Food in contact with the pan will brown nicely, while food above it will cook through radiant heat. This is possible because of the high melting point of the cast iron material. In order to make a pan, cast iron cookware manufacturers must heat the cast iron to over 2,200° F! Here are some of the advantages of cast iron cookware.
You can purchase a quality frying pan for $15-20 at most local home improvement shops. Cast iron retains and gives off as much heat as some of the most expensive cookware, making it an accessible and cost-effective way to take the quality of your dishes from good to better without adding too much expense.
Cast iron is a very durable piece of kitchen equipment and with proper care, it will last a lifetime. Cast iron seasoning is chemically bonded to the metal and is therefore very resilient. However, acidic food is one thing to avoid when cooking with cast iron, as any unseasoned specks on the skillet can leach the metallic flavor into the food.
The heating properties and capacity of cast iron cookware are unparalleled - which means it gets very hot and stays very hot. This is important for a number of reasons, especially when grilling meat for delicious char, making delicious mashed potatoes, or pan-roasting chicken and vegetables.
Cast Iron Stir Fry Pan with Wooden Handle
Cast iron skillets can be used for frying, sautéing, searing, baking, braising, broiling, roasting, and many more cooking techniques. Pro tip: The more your cast iron skillet is seasoned, the better it will taste in any food you cook, from cornbread to chicken. To learn how to season (and re-season) it, read on.
Cast iron skillets shouldn't be cleaned with soap (unless you're re-seasoning them). For lazy home cooks like me, this is good news. To wash, simply rinse with really hot water while scrubbing with a stiff-bristled brush. For stubborn food that sticks to the pan, boil water in a frying pan and leave for 10-15 minutes. Then rinse again. Another note: Never let cast iron drip dry - you should dry it immediately with a towel to prevent rusting. After patting with a clean towel, you can also leave the cast iron on the cooker on low heat to dry completely.
You'll know it's time to re-season a cast iron frying pan when the food starts to stick together or when the once shiny black pan starts to turn a dull color (which means the food will probably start to stick soon). The method is as follows.
Simply preheat the oven to any temperature between 350° and 400°. Line the bottom with foil. Clean the pan with hot soapy water and a brush and dry it. Apply oil to the entire surface of the pan (inside and outside). Place the pan upside down on the top shelf and bake for one hour. Turn off the oven and allow the pan to cool completely in the oven.
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