Cooking in Your Apartment: A Guide to Cast Iron Cookware

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Cooking in Your Apartment: A Guide to Cast Iron Cookware

Staff Writer · Jun 14, 2010

Not as many people use cast iron cookware as part of their regular cooking regimen. It is very durable, however, and is the camper’s choice for open fire cookware. While it’s perfect for creating meals in the great outdoors, there are both benefits and drawbacks to using this form of cookware in your apartment.

Pros of Using Cast Iron Cookware

  1. Food does not stick to the cookware, as long as it is cared for properly
  2. Extremely versatile; you can cook a wide variety of things in it
  3. Very durable

Cons of Using Cast Iron Cookware

  1. Difficult to wash
  2. Have to season it to maintain it (see below)
  3. Cast iron is extremely heavy compared to other types of cookware
  4. Food can burn easily if you’re not careful
  5. Handles become very hot

Foods to Cook Using Cast Iron Cookware

You can make a wide variety of foods using cast iron cookware. If you wanted to make a whole day’s worth of meals, for breakfast you can prepare oatmeal, pancakes, scrambled eggs or biscuits; for lunch, you can have grilled cheese sandwiches, spaghetti casserole, small pizzas, fried potatoes or rice and a topping; for dinner, you can serve chili, tortillas with refried beans, soup or chicken and rice. You can even make dessert in a cast iron pot, whether it’s peach cobbler, chocolate cake or an upside-down cake.

Cleaning and Storing Cast Iron Cookware

The best way to clean your cast iron is to not dirty it in the first place. The way to do that is by wrapping the outsides of your cast iron pots with aluminum foil. When cast iron heats up from an open flame during cooking, it develops a black powder that rubs off on everything. Putting aluminum foil on the outside protects it from this powder. You can throw away the blackened foil and your cast iron cookware will stay clean. If your pot or pan is dirty, scrub it with a sponge and clean water. One thing to remember is that you should never use soap. It’s not good for your cast iron cookware. You also should not put cast iron cookware in the dishwasher.

Seasoning and Storing Pots and Pans

It is important to store your cookware in a dry area. Before storing, you have to season it. If you see your cookware turning into a dull gray color or your food is sticking to the pan, it needs to be seasoned. To do this, rinse the pot with hot water and dry. Coat the insides of the cookware with melted vegetable shortening or vegetable oil. Cast iron pots or pans should be re-seasoned like this after every use.

Cast iron cookware is a good choice. Some don’t think it works well, but with the right supplies and a little extra care, you can make your cookware look as good as new and keep it that way.

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