I grew up in the era of nonstick cookware reigning supreme. My first set of pans in college were all coated in, what we know now to be, toxic chemicals that are found in the bloodstream of almost every American. This includes newborns.
Yet, I continued to buy several more sets because that was one did when the coating inevitable became flaky, pieces coming off into our food, and became sticky. Why I thought pans needed to be replaced so often I am not really sure.
Now I have realized the wonders of cast iron and will never go back. What are the benefits of cast iron, why should you use it too? So glad you asked!
Top 7 Reasons to Use Eco-Friendly Cast Iron
1. Safe from potentially harmful chemical nonstick ingredients. This includes PFCs (perfluorocarbons), like Teflon (PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid), chemicals linked to endocrine disruption, liver damage, cancer, and developmental problems among others.
2. Inexpensive and lasts a lifetime (sometimes longer!), plus you can often find great used cast iron. A typical skillet will cost you only $20 or so and last long enough you may be able to hand them down to another generation. Treat your cast iron well and it will do the same for you.
3. Easy to clean and maintain. All it takes is a little hand scrubbing after use and dry immediately. Seasoning, and repairing seasoning, is simply baking vegetable oil on your pans. Simple. Even rust is not enough to bring down a cast iron pan, just scrub it off and re-season!
4. Made in the USA. This is a big one. How great to support a company that still manufactures here and produces heirloom quality products?
5. Well seasoned, it is nearly as nonstick as any manufactured nonstick surface. It is better in this regard than stainless, aluminum or even copper pans, plus you won’t need as much oil to cook with making it a healthier alternative.
6. Additional iron intake. Globally anemia is a larger issue, but even in North America there are many who need more iron. Cooking with cast iron, especially in combination with certain foods (acidic and higher moisture), can increase iron content by as much as 20 times.
7. Emergency and camping-ready. You can use cast iron over any heating source, so even in a natural disaster, you’ve got a way to cook your food even over a fire. Perfect for car camping for the same reason as well (you definitely wouldn’t want to lug one of these guys too far).
Are you ready to switch to cast iron yet or are you already on the bandwagon?