It may seem that cast iron cookware has been around since the dawn of time, and there is probably a good reason for that. Although modern technology has given us perfluorooctanoic acid (also known as POFA – also a well known carcinogen) non stick coatings which might appear to be an easier alternative to a seasoned cast iron pan, the truth is your hand-me-down, hefty cast iron cookware that your gran’s mum’s sister passed onto her 75 years ago, will far outlive its modern non stick coated counterparts. Sometimes, even after just a year or two, a non stick coated pan may have started to peel or blister, which not only means it will no longer perform as non stick cookware, but also may leave bits of POFA coating in your cooking and not only ruin the taste but also make this a pretty unhealthy alternative. This is not to say this is true of all non stick cookware, as a decent quality non stick pan may well serve you well for years and years without peeling, scratching or blistering if treated with a little love and care, but a cast iron alternative is undoubtedly a healthy and easy option.
The first thing you will notice when cooking with cast iron is that it is heavy and incredibly durable. This durability and strength will, of course, add to its longevity although there’s no getting away from the fact that you will need two hands at times, or a pretty strong forearm, and please whatever you do, don’t go dropping those things on a tiled kitchen floor because you will regret it! So, safety out the way and onto the good stuff…..
Firstly, the aforementioned longevity. This is a massive plus side of cast iron cookware because you will never have to replace your cookware, and can even pass it on to younger generations of the family and it will continue to perform perfectly time and time again, making it an incredibly green and economical type of cookware.
Another fantastic element of cast iron cooking is the health benefits. When seasoned, cast iron pans require very little or no oil or fats, yet perform to the same standard as a coated non stick pan. The lack of (often harmful) chemical non stick coatings obviously reduces health risks and ensures you are eating only the food you put into the pan, and not elements of the pan itself!!
The density and weight of a cast iron pan ensures it is fantastic at distributing heat evenly, meaning great results from your cooking, and because it is such a tough material, the pan can be used at extremely high temperatures without warping, making it a fantastic option for searing foods that want a crisp outside without overdoing the inside (*drooling imagining a perfect cast iron cooked fillet steak…)
There is a little duty of care involved with cast iron, but it is no real hardship in return for having a lifelong cooking friend. When cleaning, simply scrub with hot water and a scrubbing brush – no need for abrasive chemicals or soaps – dry thoroughly and spray lightly with a little cooking oil. Wipe any excess off with a cloth or paper towel and store. Easy peasy.
So there’s the practical benefits, the health benefits, the economical benefits, but what about that all important style and appearance? Well, we can assure you cast iron cooking isn’t skrimping on aesthetics. Let’s face it, kitchen trends come and go, but there are some traditional and vintage looks that will never fade out of fashion and cast iron cookware is one of these. Its simplistic, timeless design sits well in any household, and a well looked after, well seasoned cast iron pan will simply gleam on your stove top, and look utterly divine despite its heft, practicality and ultimately important functionality.
To have a look at Typhoon’s great range of fantastic cast iron cookware, click here.