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3 Health Reasons to Cook with Cast Iron

Posted by on Jan. 23, 2013 at 1:01 PM
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Learn how cooking with cast-iron skillets can be good for your health.

Cast-iron skillets may seem like an old-fashioned choice in the kitchen. But this dependable cookware is a must in the modern kitchen. Cast-iron skillets conduct heat beautifully, go from stovetop to oven with no problem and last for decades. (In fact, my most highly prized piece of cookware is a canary-yellow, enamel-coated cast-iron paella pan from the 1960s that I scored at a stoop sale for $5.) As a registered dietitian and associate nutrition editor ofEatingWell Magazine, I also know that there are some great health reasons to cook with cast iron.

—Kerri-Ann Jennings, M.S., R.D., Associate Nutrition Editor

You Can Cook With Less Oil When You Use a Cast-Iron Skillet

That lovely sheen on cast-iron cookware is the sign of a well-seasoned pan, which renders it virtually nonstick. The health bonus, of course, is that you won’t need to use gads of oil to brown crispy potatoes or sear chicken when cooking in cast-iron. To season your cast-iron skillet, cover the bottom of the pan with a thick layer of kosher salt and a half inch of cooking oil, then heat until the oil starts to smoke. Carefully pour the salt and oil into a bowl, then use a ball of paper towels to rub the inside of the pan until it is smooth. To clean cast iron, never use soap. Simply scrub your skillet with a stiff brush and hot water and dry it completely.

Cast Iron is a Chemical-Free Alternative to Nonstick Pans

Another benefit to using cast-iron pans in place of nonstick pans is that you avoid the harmful chemicals that are found in nonstick pans. The repellent coating that keeps food from sticking to nonstick pots and pans contains PFCs (perfluorocarbons), a chemical that’s linked to liver damage, cancer, developmental problems and, according to one 2011 study in theJournal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, early menopause. PFCs get released—and inhaled—from nonstick pans in the form of fumes when pans are heated on high heat. Likewise, we can ingest them when the surface of the pan gets scratched. Both regular and ceramic-coated cast-iron pans are great alternatives to nonstick pans for this reason.

Cooking with Cast Iron Fortifies Your Food with Iron

While cast iron doesn’t leach chemicals, it can leach some iron into your food...and that’s a good thing. Iron deficiency is fairly common worldwide, especially among women. In fact, 10% of American women are iron-deficient. Cooking food, especially something acidic like tomato sauce in a cast-iron skillet can increase iron content, by as much as 20 times.

http://www.eatingwell.com/healthy_cooking/healthy_cooking_101_basics_and_techniques/3_health_reasons_to_cook_with_cast_iron?page=4&socsrc=EWfb0116131


by on Jan. 23, 2013 at 1:01 PM
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Replies (1-10):
SalemWitchChild
by Little Witch on Jan. 23, 2013 at 1:43 PM

I have one cast iron pan. But my other non stick pans are the new Orgreenic. They are suppose to be healthier than the other non sticks.

I didn't know about the seasoning thing. Thanks for the info.

StormWitch
by Little Witch on Jan. 24, 2013 at 11:13 AM
I love cooking with cast iron.
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Anagalia022
by on Jan. 24, 2013 at 7:29 PM

My late mother told me when I was a teenager that cast iron pans gives us iron.  I am 51 years old.  I am glad that everyone is going back to the cast iron pans.  They are better for you.  Thanks for the post.

frndlyfn
by Little Witch on Jan. 25, 2013 at 8:18 PM

We got an orgreenic one and it was ruined in 2 weeks.   We love our cast iron ones though.  Those things are indestructible.


Quoting SalemWitchChild:

I have one cast iron pan. But my other non stick pans are the new Orgreenic. They are suppose to be healthier than the other non sticks.

I didn't know about the seasoning thing. Thanks for the info.



SalemWitchChild
by Little Witch on Jan. 25, 2013 at 9:01 PM

How did you ruin it? We've had ours since xmas. I've burnt sugar in them and it comes right out. Never had a problem. Not even a scratch.

Quoting frndlyfn:

We got an orgreenic one and it was ruined in 2 weeks.   We love our cast iron ones though.  Those things are indestructible.


Quoting SalemWitchChild:

I have one cast iron pan. But my other non stick pans are the new Orgreenic. They are suppose to be healthier than the other non sticks.

I didn't know about the seasoning thing. Thanks for the info.




frndlyfn
by Little Witch on Jan. 25, 2013 at 9:10 PM

That is what i cant figure out unless they are not supposed to be used on gas stoves?  All the demos i have seen are on electric tops.


Quoting SalemWitchChild:

How did you ruin it? We've had ours since xmas. I've burnt sugar in them and it comes right out. Never had a problem. Not even a scratch.

Quoting frndlyfn:

We got an orgreenic one and it was ruined in 2 weeks.   We love our cast iron ones though.  Those things are indestructible.


Quoting SalemWitchChild:

I have one cast iron pan. But my other non stick pans are the new Orgreenic. They are suppose to be healthier than the other non sticks.

I didn't know about the seasoning thing. Thanks for the info.






SalemWitchChild
by Little Witch on Jan. 25, 2013 at 9:38 PM

I wouldn't think that was it. Maybe you got it too hot? I know with regular non stick you are not suppose to heat it up higher than medium. I'm not sure if Orgreenic is the same way though. I wouldn't think so or else the pan I cooked sugar in would have been scortched.

I was making sugar wax and left it on a wee bit too long. lol It turned black!

Quoting frndlyfn:

That is what i cant figure out unless they are not supposed to be used on gas stoves?  All the demos i have seen are on electric tops.


Quoting SalemWitchChild:

How did you ruin it? We've had ours since xmas. I've burnt sugar in them and it comes right out. Never had a problem. Not even a scratch.

Quoting frndlyfn:

We got an orgreenic one and it was ruined in 2 weeks.   We love our cast iron ones though.  Those things are indestructible.


Quoting SalemWitchChild:

I have one cast iron pan. But my other non stick pans are the new Orgreenic. They are suppose to be healthier than the other non sticks.

I didn't know about the seasoning thing. Thanks for the info.







Mudfishzgirl
by Little Witch on Feb. 8, 2013 at 8:01 PM

I have 2 cast iron pans and they are my favorite. I really want a bigger pot type vessel. 

wowguildmomma
by Neophyte on Feb. 10, 2013 at 7:12 AM

I can't wait to get a gas stove. Right now i have a glass top which was a wedding present back when we had our first house which was all electric and i hate it. I can't use cast iron on it or do my canning. Hopefully soon i can get a gas stove and can go back to cast iron. 

saltycoqui
by on Feb. 17, 2013 at 11:20 PM
My aunt got me a set of stainless steel pans and pots a year ago. She came along shopping with me for something else and we saw the set. I really like them. I hated the nonstick pans I used to have. I even considered glass once but never got it. I would think iron lasts longer. I wouldn't mind a second set of pans... if I had the room.
I've never used an electric stove.

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