If you’re into cooking then you really should be into cast iron cookware

Cast iron has been used for cooking for over 2500 years, maybe much longer; its cooking quality and pedigree is now long proven; its the ideal cooking medium; its fun to cook with and its healthy.

So why is cast iron so special? Its heavier than other cookware; one has to be careful when cleaning it and it needs curing before I can cook with it. Aren’t these good reasons not to use it?

Quite so but there are many, many advantages of using cast iron cookware that far outweigh any concerns you may have.

So let us consider why you really should start building your cast iron cookware collection.

There are six major reasons why cast iron is the supreme cookware: firstly, it is eminently affordable and great value by comparison with its alternatives, especially when you consider you’re buying your cookware that lasts a lifetime; secondly, cast iron is extremely durable and enjoys extreme longevity; thirdly, once your cookware is well seasoned it becomes unbelievably non-stick; fourthly, because of its heavy construction, cast iron holds the heat and cooks evenly without hot spots allowing you to cook at lower temperatures;fifthly, it retains all its great cooking qualities whether you cook on a campfire, stove or oven; and sixthly cast iron cookware can be used directly on hot coals, on the grill, in the oven and on an open fire;albeit it cannot be used in a microwave oven.

Cast iron cookware comes in many shapes, sizes and formats; it can cope with any temperature; it simply takes everything in its stride……… but it does get hot so ensure you’ve got a good pair of oven gloves.

So how many types of cookware does cast iron come in? Here is a sample list which no doubt you’ll be able to add to; there are: Dutch ovens, Roasters, Skillets, Soup Pots, Frying pans, Covered Pots, Gumbo bowls, Griddles, Fajita pans, Steak & Bacon Presses, Cornbread and Baking Pans; and then of course there are Jambalaya pots ranging in size from 2.75 gallon flat bottomed jambalaya pots right up through to jumbo 30 gallon jambalaya pots, with 4, 7, 10, 15 & 18 gallon pots in between! …. And there’s Jambalaya stew pots available too. Dependent on where you live in the States you may know some of these pots by other names such as: sugar pots, cauldrons, iron kettles & kettle corn pots. You’ll simply spoilt for choice!

There are numerous, valuable culinary & health benefits of cooking with cast iron cookware: it can be used trouble free to bake, roast, grill & fry.When cooking with cast iron it is marvelous as it helps retain moisture & flavor; cast iron is also healthy due to the fact that it gives off very small amounts of iron during cooking which our bodies constantly needs to replenish and you need to use very little oil because the pans and skillets are non stick.

Yes indeed your cast iron cookware requires seasoning & ongoing care care but this is most satisfying as your pot develops it’s beautiful black hue. lets get real, given the many benefits of cooking with cast iron these concerns are minimal.

Now to ‘value for money’. The price of traditional black cast iron is exceptionally competitive; by way of example, at the present you can buy the Bayou Classic 3 piece skillet set, comprising of 6″, 8″ and 10″ Skillets for under $ 20.00. This is extraordinary value for great quality materials. This raises another critical point, you really should only buy from a quality supplier of cast iron cookware or you might find your cookware warping or cracking!

Cast Iron cookware can also be purchased with an enamel finish [for example Creuset], typically this comes in many colors & formats but they are very expensive by comparison. For the additional cost you have certain benefits such as the fact that the surface does not need curing, it can be washed in the dish washer and you can cook with it using acidic products, such as tomatoes, which dissolve the protective coating of oil covering the black cast iron.

It seems clear that, once your black cast iron is well seasoned, its benefits far outweigh the advantages of other types of cookware; and given how cheap it is and the fact that it lasts so long, it really is the obvious choice.

Stephen Kember is an outdoor living and outdoor cooking authority. He runs The Outdoor Cooking Equipment Store, which you can visit by clicking on the link. Before purchasing any cast iron cookware check out his wide ranging selection, where for a short time prices have been significantly reduced.


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