Cast iron cookware is making a coming back; more and more home cooks and professional cooks are turning back to traditional cast iron cookware as their go-to pots and pans.
There are many reasons why cast iron pans and cast iron skillets are becoming the preferred cooking vessel with many cooks. Besides being excellent heat conductors, cast iron is durable, inexpensive and will last a lifetime or even several lifetimes if properly maintained and cared for.
For the health conscience, cooking with well seasoned cast iron pots and pans requires no oil and is a great way to cook fat-free.
Who Makes The Best Cast Iron Cookware?
When it comes to purchasing cast iron cookware sets there are only a handful of manufacturers that make some of the best. Lodge is one of the best makers of cast iron pot and pans and they are regarded as being one of the best brands.
You will also find Cuisinart as well as Calphalon cast iron sets in the market which are of the same caliber but not as popular with consumers. It really boils down to personal preference as to which cast iron cookware manufacture you prefer but any of the above brands would be a good choice and money well spent.
Cooking With Cast Iron Cookware
Cast iron cookware is readily available in many different styles from cast iron skillets to almost any type of pot and pan you can imagine. You can use cast iron for just about any cooking task such a roasting or frying a chicken, stir-fry vegetables, searing meat, or even baking a cake, you name you can probably cook it on cast iron.
Cooking on cast iron is really an old-fashioned method of cooking. Apart from being able to cook fat free and without any oil, cast iron cookware will allow even the stickiest of foods to slide straight out of it just like nonstick cookware.
NOTE: never pour large amounts of any cold liquid directly into your hot cast iron cookware as this can cause the cast iron to break.
It can go directly into your oven, on a stovetop, just about anywhere, and will not warp or bend like other cooking materials. The best cast iron cookware will get better with age and will last more than one lifetime. So if you have any old cast iron skillets left lying around from older relatives now is the time to dust it off and put it to use, it will still be as good (if not better) that the first day it was ever used.
Professional chefs swear by cast iron cookware, simply because they provide precise cooking temperatures allowing food to be cooked evenly and without any hot spots. An aged, well seasoned cast iron pan is always a chef’s go to when cooking omelets.
How to use Cast Iron Cookware
One of the most common mistakes when buying cast iron cookware is not correctly seasoning the pots and pans. Seasoning or sometimes referred to as curing helps to fill in the natural pores in the cast iron which provides a smooth, nonstick surface.
If this is not done everything you cook will stick, cast iron is a natural nonstick surface but initial seasoning of the cookware is required. The better you season your cast iron, the more non-stick it becomes.
Cooking on cast iron cookware is really no different to other cookware sets as long as you follow the below tips you should have no problems.
- Always season your pots and pans; even if they are pre-seasoned when purchased it doesn’t hurt to do it again.
- Always pre-heat your cast iron grill pan before frying any food in them.
- To test the temperature drop a few water droplets into your pan, it should sizzle, and then roll around the pan – this is the perfect temperature. If the water just sits and bubbles the pan is not hot enough but if the water droplets disappear immediately after being dropped your pan is too hot.
- The trick to ensuring cast iron lasts for years is all down to the seasoning or curing of the pots and pans. If done correctly food will never stick to the surface of the cookware and will not rust.
- If your cookware is not seasoned or cured correctly or even if this protective coating starts to wear-off your pots and pans need to be cleaned properly and then re-seasoned.
- When buying a new set of cast iron cookware make sure you wash the pans and pots thoroughly as many manufactures ship the cookware with a wax coating.
Cast Iron Cookware Reviews Some of my Favorites
If you don’t already own any cast iron cookware it is well worth the time and money to invest in a good set of cast iron pots and pans or at the very least a cast iron skillet. Below I have handpicked some of the best that I feel deserve a place in your home kitchen so you can enjoy it for a lifetime of fat free cooking.
Lodge Pre-Seasoned 5-Piece Cast-Iron Cookware Set
When anyone talks about cast iron pots and pans the first brand that will always come into conversation is Lodge. Lodge is renowned for making some of the best cast iron cookware and this pre-seasoned 5-piece offering doesn’t disappoint.
It consists of a collection of pots and pans that every home cook needs allowing you to cook and prepare almost any dish.
Because they are all pre-seasoned you can get to cooking straight away and they are perfect for all cooking surfaces such as grills, electric stove tops, ovens, and they can even be used on campfires.
Le Creuset 5-PieceCast Iron Signature Cookware Set
The latest must have for any kitchen is enameled cast iron, it’s colorful, long-lasting and the hard exterior is durable and resists chipping and cracking.
The Le Creuset 5-piece enamel cast iron signature cookware set is one of the best cookware sets you’ll find. It consists of a 3-1/2-quart round French oven, one 9-inch round skillet, one1-3/4-quart saucepan as well as 2 tight fitting lids.
The interiors of the pans and pots features a sand-colored enamel which makes it easy to monitor food as it cooks helping to prevent burning and sticking.
The pots are fitting with which makes removing the lids a lot easier when they are hot. The composite handles are heat resistant up to 500 degrees F, so placing in the oven should not be an issue.
With the range of colors this cookware set is available in finding a collection of pots and pans to fit in with your kitchen décor should not be too difficult. If you are stuck for gift ideas for a wedding this set makes the perfect gift!
Calphalon 12-Inch Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet
If you are not quite ready to buy a full set of cast iron cookware a good starting pan is this 12-inch cast iron skillet by Calphalon. It is perfect for traditional and slow cooking techniques and comes pre-seasoned so you can start cooking straight away.
It has been made to heat steadily and evenly and will hold heat so that your foods stay hotter for longer while serving. The over-sized handles ensure safe and secure lifting whilst moving around the kitchen.
It doesn’t matter what stove top you have as this skillet is versatile enough to go onto almost any cooking top such as electric, gas, induction stove tops, as well as directly in the oven and broiler.