How to Care for Your Cast Iron Cookware

How to Care for Your Cast Iron Cookware

Over time, cast iron cookware develops a thin protective coating known as “seasoning” from the natural fats and oils associated with the cooking process. This coating fills in all the nooks and crannies inherent in the pan metal to create a smooth, uniform surface.

This seasoning is what gives cast iron cookware its wonderful non-stick quality.

Today, most new cast iron cookware comes with this protective coating or “seasoning” already on them. If the package has “pre-seasoned” printed on it, your new pan should be ready for use because the manufacturer has already completed the initial seasoning process for you.

When you buy a brand new pre-seasoned cast iron skillet, all you need to do is rinse it out in hot water and dry completely by placing on your cooktop over medium-high heat. Make sure the entire surface is dry before putting away because cast iron can and will rust if water is left sitting on its surface.

After cooking with your new cast iron skillet, wash it by hand in hot water right away. Avoid putting your skillet in the dishwasher or soaking it in water overnight due to the potential for rust.

Instead, once the pan cools to the touch, rinse it under hot water while using a dishcloth or soft-bristled nylon brush to remove cooked-on particles. Also avoid using any harsh soaps, detergents, or metal scouring pads and scrapers as these items can damage or remove the seasoning.

How to Re-Season Your Cast Iron Skillet

If your seasoned cast iron cookware loses its sheen for whatever reason, you may need to re-season it to get it back into tip-top shape.

If you search online for how to re-season a cast iron skillet, you may be a bit overwhelmed by all the different points of view out there regarding the best methods and types of oil to use.

How to Care for Your Cast Iron Cookware using flaxseed oilFor example, there is a lot of debate about what oil to use due to the different smoke points associated with each type of oil and the release of unhealthy free radicals caused by using oils with too-low smoke points. As a result, flaxseed oil is often suggested as an ideal oil to use due to its high smoke point.

According to Lodge, a leading manufacturer of cast iron cookware, the proper way to re-season their products is to start by preheating your oven to 350 – 400˚.

While it is heating, wash the pan with hot, soapy water and a stiff brush. (It’s okay to use harsher soap and a stiff brush for this because you’re not trying to protect the original seasoning at this point).

Once clean, rinse and dry completely before applying a very thin coat of melted solid vegetable shortening or other cooking oil of your choice. Place the pan upside down on the upper rack of your preheated oven, with a metal cooking sheet under it to catch any drips.

Leave pan in hot oven for at least an hour. Turn oven off and allow the skillet to cool completely while still inside the oven. Remove pan from oven and if the coating isn’t as consistent as you’d like, repeat this process until the desired sheen is achieved.

Following these easy tips on how to care for your cast iron cookware will help keep your pieces in great shape. A minimal investment of time and effort on your part will yield delicious meals for you and your family for years to come.

 

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Using Ceramic Cookware

cooking-with-ceramic

This is a posted article at our web-site Savor the Food and Your health .

Non stick ceramic cookware uses a non-stick technology that is a healthier choice over traditional petroleum-based non-stick surfaces. The Ceramic coating is applied at a lower temperature than conventional non-sticks and is free of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), commonly known as Teflon, and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is used in the manufacture of Teflon and other non-stick surfaces.

 Teflon Cookware is Safe, Experts Say
–Teflon has the petroleum-based polytetrafluoroethylene and perfluorooctanoic acid, but yet the manufacture stands by their product as safe to cook with.–
According to DuPont, the finished product of Teflon does not contain any of the production-process chemicals linked to health problems in factory workers. And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that ingesting small particles of Teflon flaked off into food is not known to cause any health maladies.
Even so, would you want something in your food that you did not intend for or was not an ingredient in your recipe?
They go on to say: With proper use and care, such pots and pan—which constitute more than half of all cookware sales in the U.S.—should be safe to use for years to come.
I don’t know how you feel, but should be safe…has a different meaning than is safe to use. Should be safe leaves a question mark.
In 2004, DuPont agreed to pay up to $343 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that PFOA, used in the manufacture of Teflon at a certain plant, had contaminated drinking water nearby.
In 2006, pots and pans with this special coating (Teflon is the best-known version) constituted 90 percent of all aluminum cookware sold, according to industry numbers. Yet despite nonstick advantages (its surface makes cleanup easy and also allows cooks to use less oil and butter), it has come under fire in recent years over concerns about toxic chemical emissions
The EPA has reached an agreement with eight companies, including DuPont, to phase out the use of PFOA completely by 2015.
The Good Housekeeping Research Institute put three pieces of non stick cookware to the test: a cheap, lightweight pan (weighing just 1 lb., 3 oz.); a mid-weight pan (2 lbs., 1 oz.); and a high-end, heavier pan (2 lbs., 9 oz.). They cooked five dishes at different temperatures on a burner that’s typical in most homes. The results: Even they were surprised by how quickly some of the pans got way too hot.
This statement: different temperatures on a burner that’s typical in most homes. What is typical in most homes? When I was growing up a gas range was what my mother used. But when I got married and bought my first home, we had an electoral range oven. I found gas heats faster than electoral ranges. Is that your opinion?
At 680 degrees Fahrenheit, Teflon releases at least six toxic gases, including two carcinogens, according to a study by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit watchdog organization.
Maybe you won’t cook your stove top food that high. But did you know at the moment you pass your food from pan to plate, the pan is hotter than the food? If your frying chicken and you have done so to an internal temperature of 165 degrees (the chicken meat) the pan is from 100 to 250 degrees hotter. I don’t know if I would want a pan that as the ability to kill me with a toxic gas.
Most non stick manufacturers, including DuPont, now advise consumers not to go above medium. (DuPont maintains, however, that Teflon does not pose any health risks, and that its guideline is simply meant to maximize the life of the product.)
But how hot is medium? Since the range top gas or electric is not calibrated like your oven, every stove that you set at medium will be different degrees.
So for now it seems that non stick ceramic cookware is the better choice for healthy cooking. Keep in mind that non stick ceramic cookware was used years, many years ago for cooking before stainless steel or these petroleum based non-stick pans came along.

 

Read more: http://www.savorthefood.com/2013/10/07/non-stick-ceramic-cookware-versus-non-stick-teflon/#ixzz2r3vTwIwe

Read What Other’s are Saying About Ceramic Cookware or non-stick

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