Cast Iron Cookware
Cast iron cookware has a hallowed place in the hearts of many cooks because of its many benefits in health and, perhaps more importantly, its attributes in whipping up a superb meal. One of the things that originally made cast iron popular was that it was made from one unified piece that came out of a mold. Because of this it was less expensive than other forms of cookware and not as easily damaged as the old copper and brass pots that often had to be pounded out of sheets and often welded or riveted together.
Cast iron implements come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Probably the most popular is the frying pan or skillet. This is the heavy pan you see being brandished as a weapon by women in some of the classic westerns. But it is its rugged construction and smooth interior finish that make it so prized. It usually comes in 10 and 12-inch sizes. But they can go down to a four inch base which is handy for making small omelets and frying up a single vegie-burger for lunch. They can be used for frying eggs, pancakes, Reuben sandwiches (or grilled cheese), chicken, hamburgers, and so much more.
A griddle is a great way to cook pancakes, sausages, French toast and other foods that require space to cook a large quantity to be serve. A griddle is a long rectangular pan without sides. It does generally have a trough for collecting stray butter and grease. Its size will allow it to be placed over two burners on most stoves.
Dutch ovens are generally used for baking and are sometimes enameled. (This prevents leaching when stews and roasts are baked in the oven.) A Dutch oven has a lid to hold in moisture. It can be used for a wide variety of dishes including the now famous six hour stew. A Dutch oven with legs is often called a camp Dutch oven because it can be used over an open fire.
Many other styles of pots and pans are made from cast iron, including baking pans for cornbread, as well as pans for cooking tortillas and fajitas. Cooking with versatile cast iron can be fun, rewarding, and healthy.
It should be noted that cast iron cookware is not recommended for use on glass top stoves. It can hold the heat in the burner and if moved around on the stove top it can scratch the surface.
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