Cast iron cookware has been used for cooking food since pre-historic times. It hasn’t changed much in all that time. Despite its long history of usefulness, many people still have myths and misconceptions about cast iron, especially when cleaning and cooking with cast iron cookware.
Equipping your kitchen with cast iron cookware is a great way to get started and experiment with new recipes. That being said, certain misconceptions exist with cast type of cookware. Caring for your cast iron cookware can ensure its durability and performance for years to come. You should ignore these myths and start cooking with cast iron:
Many believe you can’t use metal utensils on cast iron cookware, but this isn’t true. In fact, any utensil can be used with it. The cookware is exceptionally durable, so you don’t have to worry about damaging it. Plus, it’s easy to clean and maintain.
The best part about cast iron is that you can use it without worrying about losing your cookware. This is because you are allowed to use metal utensils. However, ensure you use them properly because you can cause damage to cast iron cookware.
Contrary to popular belief, you can cook acidic food on cast iron cookware. In fact, cast iron is an excellent option for cooking acidic food because it can help to neutralize acidity. Cast iron is a durable material that can withstand high temperatures, so you can cook your food at a higher temperature if you want to.
Finally, when you cook acidic foods in cast iron cookware, the pan will develop a non-stick surface over time. So while we’re debunking myths here, there are some very good reasons why cast iron is an excellent choice for those who like to prepare dishes with more of an acidic flavor.
Cast iron cookware is a great cooking option, but some myths about it can discourage people from using it. The other myth is that you can’t use cast iron cookware on induction cooktops. This is simply not true! You can use cast iron cookware on induction cooktops; you just need to be careful when doing so.
When doing so, observe these tips:
- Use a lower setting when cooking with cast iron on an induction cooktop.
- Be sure to use a heat diffuser between the pan and the cooktop.
- Cast iron cookware needs to be seasoned before use, so be sure to do that before cooking.
Contrary to popular belief, you can use soap on cast iron. In fact, soap is the best way to clean your pan after cooking. Just make sure to rinse it well afterwards. And don’t worry, your pan won’t rust. The seasoning will keep water from coming in contact with the metal.
The only downside of some cookware is that they claim to be made out of cast iron but only have a thin coating of aluminum over steel — which means you’ll never get the same benefits as with real cast iron. If you want to ensure you can clean your cast iron cookware with soap, it should be made of cast iron.
It’s true that cast iron rusts easily, but that doesn’t mean your pan is ruined. A little rust won’t hurt anything, and you can use it to your advantage. Rust creates a non-stick surface on the pan, which can be helpful when cooking. So don’t throw away your pan just because it’s got a little rust on it. You’ll want to scrub off any loose bits of rust and then coat the pan in oil before putting it back into storage. If the rust isn’t coming off or if there are large chunks of it stuck to the bottom of your pan, toss it out instead.
If you’ve been told that cast iron cookware heats evenly, then you’ve been misled. The truth is, cast iron doesn’t heat evenly at all but you can use it to cook various recipes. It’s one of the least efficient materials for conducting heat. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid using it altogether. Cast iron has a natural advantage over aluminum or copper pots in that its metal retains heat better than other metals. Aluminum conducts heat quickly but doesn’t hold onto it well, while copper conducts and holds onto heat equally well — but both are more expensive than cast iron.
For this reason, many chefs have found success with cooking recipes that require browning or searing before adding liquid. To make up for the uneven heating properties of cast iron, use an oven mitt to remove your food from the stovetop instead of grasping it by hand.
Sure, cast iron is durable. But that doesn’t mean it’s unbreakable. In fact, if you drop your cast iron skillet, it could easily break. So be careful with it. Don’t put cast iron cookware in the dishwasher because it will warp. Don’t use metal utensils in your cast iron skillet because they can damage the seasoning (the thin layer of protective coating). And don’t store it on a hot stovetop because this can cause moisture to build up and lead to rusting.
Cast iron cookware is durable, versatile, and easy to care for — making it a great option for busy cooks. Don’t be discouraged by the myths you’ve heard about cast iron cookware. With a little bit of care, your cast iron skillet will be a kitchen staple for years to come. The myth that you can’t use soap on cast iron is not true — so don’t feel guilty if it’s been a while since you scrubbed your pan. A quick wipe-down should do the trick most of the time. It’s also important to keep in mind that cooking oil will create an oily coating on your pan, so make sure you are washing away excess oil before storing or putting away your cooking utensils.