The Resurgence of Cast Iron Cookware

The Resurgence of Cast Iron Cookware

My article discusses the history of cast iron cookware, as well as the many uses of, and care of the cookware. I also talk about the newest types of cast iron cookware, such as enameled cast iron, the kinds of pieces you could find, as well as the vast array of colors they come in. There is so much more available in cast iron cookware than my grandmother had available back in her day! I say that cast iron cookware has had resurgence in use and popularity, not because people ever actually stopped using it, but because we are using it more than ever before. Cast iron cookware is available in a vast variety of item types: camping cookware, tea kettles/tea pots, Dutch ovens, trivets, fry pans, crocks, round French ovens, grills, griddles, skillets with cast iron flat iron flat presses, fondue sets, deep dish lasagna bakers, pizza pans, round griddles, covered casseroles, gingerbread house molds, corn bread pans, Moroccan tangines, and the list goes on.
One item that has intrigued me recently is the cast iron tea kettle. There are different types and brands of tea kettles from different from countries; besides American made tea kettles, Japanese kettles and Old Dutch kettles seem to be the most readily available. I noticed that the Japanese cast iron tea kettles are made in different weights of cast iron; I have seen them in 10 oz., 24 oz., 32 oz. and 45 oz. weights. The Old Dutch tea kettles I have seen are comparable in weights to the Japanese kettles. These tea kettle weights in ounces of cast iron are 28 oz., 34 oz., 38 oz. and 48 oz. Because these tea kettles are the heaviest (and thickest) of the tea kettles made (in comparison to glass tea kettles, stainless tea kettles & copper tea kettles) its good to know they can be found in various sizes and weights. It should be easy to find something you prefer in both style and weight.
Types of American made cast iron tea kettles include hobnail – small & large hobnails – tea kettles, hand-painted enamel cast iron (many depicting scenes of the old farming countryside), pre-seasoned cast iron kettles, which should not rust because of the pre-seasoning (though it may need to be re-seasoned sometime down the road) and cast iron kettle humidifiers.
Rust can be a problem for these tea kettles, but if the rust can be kept from these kettles, they will probably be the most durable of tea kettles (also compared to the other types I listed above). When boiling water using cast iron tea kettles, sort of protective coating of minerals will establish on its foundation overtime. With this coating, these kettles won’t easily develop rust.
If, by opportunity, your tea kettle will develop rust (to avoid rusting, preserve your cast iron kettle dry out whenever you can, and take out remaining drinking water directly after boiling), you can test the following process to treatment it: boil in it some drinking water blended with baking soda and lemon juice.
So far as colors and styles move, the Old Dutch tea kettles appear to have the most selection of styles. They have a listing of names for their varieties of teapots: Prosperity, Nobility, Symmetry, Mythology, Purity and Tranquility. Each design has its shape, colors and intricate styles on the sides of the teapots – the colours being rather gorgeous: pale blue, mustard, dark, chestnut brown and red. In fact, japan cast iron tea pots are very colorful and beautiful as well, but I believe I fell for the titles of the Old Dutch designs! Much like anything else, personal choice is as they state, “beauty is in the attention of the beholder.”
History
Bare cast iron cookware might have been first found in China around 513 B.C. and later in 12th hundred years England. Originally, the pots stood on three hip and legs because cooking was completed over an open up fire. When stoves with smooth tops began to be created for common utilization in the 1700’s, the recognition of cast iron cookware improved.
By 1776 Adam Smith, in his publication, The Wealth of Countries, could remember that the actual prosperity of the country was not its gold however in its manufacture of pans and pots. Cast iron cookware was extremely valued in the 18th century. George Washington’s mom thought so a lot of her cookware she produced special take note to bequeath her cast iron in her will. Within their expedition to the Louisiana territory in 1804, Lewis and Clark indicated that their cast iron Dutch oven was among their most important devices.
One important reason for older fashioned, cast iron cookwares recognition and comeback is that regardless of how uneven the kind of surface on which it really is placed, on a stove top, an open grill or higher a campfire, could it be will cook meals evenly. About the only spot to avoid placing cast iron cookware can be in the microwave or a cup electric stove best (the cast iron can scratch the top).
Is Cooking food in Cast Iron Best for Your Health?
We have been surprised to learn over and again that cooking food in cast iron may greatly increase our dietary way to obtain iron by leaching smaller amounts of iron in to the food we eat. Those who are anemic, or possess other iron deficiencies, may reap the benefits of this effect, though people that have excess iron problems (i.e., people who have hemochromatosis) may suffer unwanted effects.
This finding appears to be particularly true when cooking foods saturated in acid, such as for example tomato based sauces, and the frequent stirring of food could also raise the amount of iron in foods cooked in cast iron. As you may expect, foods that spend additional time in the pot, skillet or Dutch oven will lend even more iron to your body (instead of foods that are quickly fried in a pan/skillet). Foods cooked in this manner can often provide all the iron that a body requires.
Extreme iron deficiency could cause anemia. Women are even more prone to iron insufficiency because of the increased loss of bloodstream through menstruation. Because iron may also be dropped through perspiration, athletes may also be at the mercy of low iron. Additionally it is known that the excessive usage of coffee or tea can inhibit the absorption of iron by your body. I question what’s considered excessive these days, what with a coffee shop on almost every corner – yikes! That might be a small exaggeration, but I imagine we probably consume more coffee and tea than ever before.
It should be noted that it is also possible to consume too much iron; toxicity levels begin at about 45 milligrams per day. In an average diet it is very unlikely that cooking with cast iron will bring a person to this level. Low iron is more likely to be a problem, and cooking with cast iron can be less expensive and more fun (at least more hunger satisfying!) than taking iron health supplements. If you do use cast iron you should consult your doctor before taking additional iron supplements.
Cast iron is much beloved by serious chefs, and lasts nearly forever if you take care of it. Seasoning cast iron cookware is necessary to ensure a non-stick surface and to prevent the pot or pan from rusting. If seasoned correctly your cookware can last a lifetime and more.
Steps
For crusty cast ironware that you inherited or picked up at a garage sale: Your cookware may have some combination of rust and solid crackly black crud. It can be restored fairly very easily to good as fresh condition! First place the cookware in a self-cleaning oven and run one cycle OR place in a campfire or directly on a sizzling charcoal fire for 1/2 hour, until dull reddish. The crud will become flaking, falling and turning to white ash. Then, after allowing to awesome a bit to avoid cracking your cast iron, use the following steps. In case you have more rust than crud, try using steel wool to sand it off.
Wash your cast iron cookware with tepid to warm water and soap using a scouring pad. In case you have purchased your cast iron cookware as fresh then it will be coated in oil or a similar coating to prevent rust. This will need to be removed before seasoning so this step is essential.
Dry the cookware thoroughly; it helps to put the pan in the oven for some moments to make sure it is really dry. Oil needs to be able to soak into the metal for a good seasoning and oil and water don’t mix.
Coating the pot or pan inside and out with lard, Crisco, bacon fat, or corn oil. Ensure that the lid is also coated.
Place both the lid and the pot or pan upside down in your oven at 300F for at least an hour to bake on a “seasoning” that protects the pan from rust and provides a stick-resistant surface.
For best results repeat methods three and four and five.
Ongoing care: Each and every time you wash your pan, you must season it. Place it on the stove and pour in about 3/4 teaspoon corn oil or additional cooking excess fat. Wad up a paper towel and spread the oil across the cooking surface, any bare iron surfaces, and the bottom of the pan. Turn on the burner and warmth until smoke starts to appear. Cover pan and turn warmth off.
Second Method
First, if you find your cast iron needs to be stripped down and re-seasoned do not fear. All you have to do is definitely place the utensil in on your own Cleaning Oven on the shortest cleaning cycle (usually 3 hours on most models), and it will come out looking like the day it came out of the mold. Allow it to cool overnight. Wash the residue off with WATER ONLY in the sink using a stiff abrasive pad. Make certain NO DISH SOAP comes in contact with the utensil during this process. If it does you will have to start over!!! Dry the cast iron utensil off with a paper towel, and IMMEDIATELY place BACK in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or so.
Next, take the utensil out from the oven after the 10 minute drying time is total, and lightly brush the utensil with a paper towel coated with Crisco or additional solid cooking oil. Liquid vegetable oil will do in a pinch, but it is better to save the liquids until AFTER your initial seasoning. It is important in this step only to lightly coating the cast iron with a light, thin coat of oil until it only glistens. Do not allow any puddles or pools of liquid as this will cause problems at a later time.
Then, place the Cast Iron in the oven set to 500 to 550 degrees Fahrenheit with the COOKING SIDE FACING THE BOTTOM OF THE OVEN. This allows for any excess oil to drain off to the sides, and prevents pooling during the seasoning process. The higher heating temp allows for the oil to truly ‘cook’ as it should as opposed to just ‘gumming up’ at lower temps. Cook undisturbed for 1 hour.
Please note: During the previous step it will be best to turn off any smoke alarms in the immediate region as it may smoke quite a bit. Ceiling fans also assist in ventilation.
Finally, after your cast iron is completed seasoning for 1 hour roughly, take it from the oven and Instantly wipe it straight down with another extra – light coat of Crisco. Let it completely cool.
Tips
If food burns, just high temperature a little drinking water in the pan, and scrape with a set metal spatula. It may imply that re-seasoning is necessary.
If you are washing it too aggressively (for example with a scouring pad), you will regularly scrub off the seasoning. Wash more carefully or repeat oven-seasoning method frequently.
If your pan develops a thick crust, you are not washing it aggressively more than enough. Follow “crusty pan” instructions.
If storing your Dutch oven for just about any length of period, it will always be best to place a couple of paper towels among the lid and the oven to permit for air flow.
Also, after cleaning after every use it is always better to place it back the oven in 350 degrees for ten minutes or so to make sure all drinking water has vaporized and still left the top of cast iron.
Warnings
Usually do not cook tomatoes and various other acidic foods in your cast iron cookware unless it’s been well seasoned (your cookware, not really the food!)
Washing pans with detergent once they have been seasoned can breakdown the seasoning. Either clean without detergent (if you are cooking equivalent foods with the pan, that is fine) or repeatedly oven-period your cookware.
Enameled Cast Iron Cookware
Enameled cast iron cookware provides been stated in the United States because the end of World War II. Enameled cast iron is known as pre-seasoned (meaning you don’t need to go through the guidelines of seasoning that I outlined above). The vitreous enamel (the transparent glossiness of the enamel) is totally hygienic and impervious to tastes and odors, and it’s really perfect to carry foods that are marinating or for keeping foods (raw or prepared) in the refrigerator or freezer.
Todays enameled cookware originates from many different producers, and comes in so many colors, you are sure to look for something available which will be equally in the home in your kitchen since it will end up being on your dining area table. It is an extra bonus that you can move from fridge or freezer to oven to desk, especially with the stunning look of this present day cookware.