Dispelling a Few Myths About Cast Iron Pans

cast iron pansCast iron pans are the workhorses of the kitchen. They’re durable, versatile, and can last generations if properly cared for.

I, myself, am a big fan of cast iron pans. I own a few decent ones, and I use them several times a week, and on some weeks, daily. I also believe that every one should own at least one. But, not before doing a little research on them first.

There’s actually a lot of misinformation about cast iron pans floating around out there. Here are some of the most common myths about cast iron pans…

MYTH: Cast iron pans are delicate and easily damaged

On the contrary, cast iron pans are rough and tough. I can almost guarantee that they’re last longer than just about any other pans you have, especially pans with non-stick coatings. Just be sure to treat them right and they’ll be with you for years.

MYTH: Cast iron pans are indestructible.

On the other end of the spectrum, some people are under the impression that cast iron pans are completely indestructible. While they are a lot more durable than some people think, they aren’t totally without weakness. An impact can crack a cast iron pan, for instance, or high heat can cause it to warp.

MYTH: Cast iron pans are completely non-stick when seasoned.

Yes, a good seasoning on cast iron cookware can help keep food from sticking, but you most likely won’t have a completely non-stick surface, even with a well seasoned pan. Well, it won’t be as non-stick as a Teflon coated pan. To ensure that food doesn’t stick to your cast iron workhorse, always use some sort of fat, like oil, butter, lard, or vegetable shortening.

MYTH: You should never wash a cast iron pan.

Washing a cast iron pan with detergent can strip away some of the seasoning, leading some people to believe that you should actually never wash cast iron cookware. Well, I’ve actually proved this myth wrong several times. While I normally just rinse my cast iron with water and give it a swipe with a paper towel, sometimes a cast iron pan just needs a good washing. Just make sure to dry it thoroughly and wipe the surface with a little oil.

MYTH: You get what you pay for when it comes to cast iron cookware.

Although this is sometimes true, I’ve found that it isn’t always the case when it comes to cast iron cookware. In fact, the older the cookware, the better in my experience. Cast iron is still cast iron, whether it’s from 100 years ago or a year ago. New cast iron cookware is rather expensive these days, especially when you buy from a trusted brand like Lodge. However, you can often find old cast iron cookware at garage sales, thrift stores, and antique stores for a fraction of the price. Plus, the older pans have much smoother surfaces, making them much more user friendly than new pans, which typically have a pebbled surface.

MYTH: Rusted cast iron cookware is ruined.

Rust on cast iron is usually only on the surface. If you find rust on your cast iron pan, you can usually use some steel wool and oil to remove it. Oftentimes, even badly rusted cast iron pans can be salvaged. So, if you see a rusted cast iron for a few bucks at a garage sale, it might be worth it and so much more!

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