Cast iron pans are a beauty to behold and can prove to be very durable if taken care of…think generations to come as they are typically heirloom treasures that most people will fight over. Many people know the value of a well seasoned cast iron pot or pan that has been handed down from generation to generation and others well, don’t. If you are fortunate to have an heirloom cast iron cooking pot then you know the importance of taking good care of it. And one of the best ways to take good care of any cast iron vessel, be it heirloom or today’s modern standards of cast iron, is to use it as much as possible. There are so many easy cast iron meals you should create to help maintain that beautiful black patina that every cast iron fanatic covets..
What Meals can I Cook in Cast Iron
Before you start cooking up a storm, you should know what not to cook in your cast iron skillet or pot such as highly acidic foods. If you have a well seasoned cast iron pot you can bend the rules a little as long as you do NOT leave such meals (like highly acidic foods) sitting in your cast iron pot for long periods of time.
Deep Frying in Cast Iron
Fried Turkey is an excellent meal to make in a deep cast iron skillet and will help hasten the seasoning development on cast iron. Any fried dish will help your cast iron develop that wonderful, shiny, black, seasoning we all love. Making homemade French fries is a simple, but great way to develop seasoning on cast iron skillets, pots, and or pans. Deep fried chicken, fish, pork; creating breakfast foods such as frying bacon, sausages, and any fatty meats will do.
Shallow Frying in Cast Iron
Shallow frying in cast iron is helpful in creating seasoning in cast iron, but as the name implies, “shallow” meal very little oil is used so your seasoning is limited to the immediate area the oil touches.
Stir-Frying in Cast Iron
Stir-frying in cast iron is a nice way to develop seasoning on any cast iron cookware; but much like shallow frying, the seasoning is limited to the immediate area that is being coated with oil on a regular basis, which in turn can result in uneven coating or seasoning. However, you can remedy this issue by making sure that you coat all areas inside of your cast iron that will not be in constant contact with oil prior to starting your shallow frying so there is some amount of seasoning being “baked” onto the sidewall of your cookware.
What Not to Cook in Cast Iron
You are by now already aware what you can cook in cast iron, but are you aware of what not to cook in cast iron? There are many foods you should not cook in cast iron. Highly acidic foods being at the top of the list, since such foods will strip the seasoning off of your cast iron with each use, especially if left in contact with your cast iron for a long time. Foods that are tomato based or have a lot of vinegar or are citrus based are not the kind of foods you should be preparing in your cast iron. Foods that are easy to burn or are extremely delicate or fragile (i.e. start to fall apart and burn) will create etchings in your seasoning which will in turn cause hotspots in your pan noticeable the next time you use it.
Eggs are best cooked in cast iron with ample amount of fat to help keep them from sticking, otherwise it will be quite difficult to remove the bits of eggs that are stuck on and in the process of removing these bits you will be removing your seasoning and creating the need to reason your pan.
Cooking Desserts in Cast Iron
Cooking desserts in cast iron can be done; however, try to stick to the non-sticky kind of dessert, such as cakes, cookies, pies. Anything sticky like caramel or something with a thick sugar or syrup base, may prove detrimental to the condition of your cast iron vessel as they will lift off the very seasoning you are trying to build up.
Recipes for Cast Iron
For the best experience when it comes to fried foods, cast iron is your best bet. There are plenty of recipes on the world wide web, that are sure to please when it comes to cooking them in cast iron. We have included some of the many recipes we enjoy cooking in our cast iron cookware and hope you will enjoy them too. There are many reasons to use cast iron and we have given you a few of those reasons that should nudge you to giving cast iron a try or using the cast iron you already have to get the best of your cooking done.