July 17, 2014

"THEY WORK AND KEEP ON WORKING":

Cast-iron cookware: Good for you and lasts forever (Miriam Rubin, 7/17/14, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

The only remaining cast-iron skillet producer in the U.S. is Lodge Manufacturing Co., located in South Pittsburg (no h), Tenn. A family-run business, they've been making skillets and Dutch ovens since 1896. One of the reasons for cast iron's popularity and resurgence, said Lodge's public-relations director Mark Kelly, is that since July 2007, the skillets have been preseasoned, using a soy-based vegetable oil. So they're ready use right away. It changed everything. "They work and keep on working," he said.

Cast iron offers positive health benefits as well, writes Ms. Brown. With worries about chemicals possibly released if nonstick pans are used when scratched or over a too high heat, cast iron offers "a safe cooking surface that, with very little effort, has always been totally nonstick." And you get some dietary iron, too, she explains, transferred into the food you cook in the skillet. Plus these things are heavy; consider it a bicep workout!

You will need to maintain the pan's seasoning. Mr. Kelly likes to rub olive oil all over the pan and heat it in a low oven for about 20 minutes prior to first using it. Repeat every three months or so, he said, until the pan retains its easy-release finish.

Ms. Brown suggests when using a new seasoned skillet to cook foods in fat, or containing fat (bacon) the first half-dozen times you use it. Also, at first, avoid cooking acid foods, like tomatoes or wine, in it because they can harm the finish. "And remember," she writes, "especially at the beginning, to always rub a little oil on the skillet after drying it with paper towels." And never use soap.

After all, you want to be able to pass it along to someone. Someday.
Posted by at July 17, 2014 5:56 PM
  
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