December 21, 2009

I Love Cast Iron!

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My grandmother taught me to cook scrambled eggs on a little wood stove when I was about 4 years old. I loved to use her littlest cast iron skillet and from that my love for cast-iron has grown. Each time I use it, I think of her and all the wonderful things she taught me. Over the years my mom used cast iron skillets for cooking, frying, and baking. I love the versatility of cast iron. Anything from Mexican cornbread to thickening gravy to sourdough bread to Southern fried apples can be made in a cast iron skillet!
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I got a call last week that something I had been waiting for had arrived at a store in town. I stopped by Saturday and picked "her" up. I love her and just couldn't wait to get her seasoned and filled with chili or homemade vegetable soup or white beans.

She's a cast iron Dutch oven. She holds 9 quarts and I think she's beautiful!
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When caring for cast iron (and I finally learned the right way or at least the one that works for me) you must season it. To season my pieces, I rub the entire piece with lard, inside and out, put it on a large cookie sheet to catch the dripping and place it in 275 degree oven for 2 hours. You may want to repeat this process a few times and use high fat food in your pan the first few times you use it. Once it has been seasoned properly, you will love cooking in it.

Never use a liquid soap/dish detergent on your cast iron. Those detergents were made to remove grease and they will remove the "seasoning" right off your pan and you will have to reseason all over again. Want to know how I know this? It took a couple of times before I realized what I was doing wrong!

Always wash you cast iron piece with hot water when it has cooled just enough to handle. This makes it easy to clean and always dry it well before storing it to prevent it from rusting. I once found an old cast iron piece at a yard sale for 10 cents. It looked awful, had rust in the bottom, looked like it had never been seasoned, etc. I bought it, brought it home and took care of it like a cast iron skillet deserves to be taken care of. I cleaned it, which was quite a chore. I ended up having to use steel wool to get the rust off then seasoned it, seasoned it, reseasoned it and seasoned it again and it has turned out to be one of my favorite and most-used pieces. So just because it looks bad doesn't mean it can't be brought back to life with a little TLC.
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If you don't use cast iron, go out and buy a skillet, season it and USE it! You will love it and want to add to your collection. My mom has several of my grandmothers skillets that will eventually be passed down to me. That's another great thing about cast-iron, you can't wear the stuff out!

If you do use cast-iron, tell me how much you love it!

18 comments:

Callie said...

I love cast iron cookware and I love cooking on our wood stove. I know you have a wonderful wood cook stove. Your new dutch oven is a peach!

Callie said...

Oops! I thought you had a wood cook stove? I used to before we moved and I miss it, but I use our wood stove sometimes.

KentuckyFarmGirl said...

I don't but I will have soon! I probably won't use it much for cooking but we are getting one for back up heat. We decided on the one we are getting just yesterday. It's a small one with 2 burners and will actually go in the upstairs loft. Not only will it be nice if we need back up heat and a place to cook but it will look great with my rustic decor up there.

Julie Harward said...

We love it too here at our house. We love to do a lot of dutch oven cooking in them..ribs, chicken and potatoes..even deserts! Thanks for the good ideas and Have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS! Come say hi :D

Country Whispers said...

I love cooking in cast iron!
Foods just taste better when they are made in cast iron. I used to borrow my mothers large skillet every time I wanted to make baked steak till she finally got me my own for Christmas one year. I have several of them now and love them.

Arlene said...

Aww...brings back some warm memories thank you so much!

Farmgirl Cyn said...

I only have 1 small and 1 medium sized skillet, and have been on the look out for a big one. (both garage sale finds) I love them! THE best fried potatoes ever.

thedomesticfringe said...

I like cast iron too! My pancakes have known no other type of pan.

-FringeGirl

Kritter Keeper said...

we cook corn bread in cast iron...cast iron is so much healthier to cook in too! my husband always fries his potatoes and eggs in cast iron his mother used...the old ones are the best!

Sandy said...

I have never cooked with cast iron--my grandma did and still does, and my husband is a fan. You have convinced me of the merits of cast iron. Now (this sounds silly) I wish I'd asked for a cask iron skillet for Christmas;) Merry Christmas, Sandy@wholesometalk.com

Janet, said...

You know, I'm not too good using cast iron skillets, I wish I was. I have 2 my mom gave me a long time ago and used them for a while. I have a little tiny one that I have melted butter in and I think it is so cute. I've got this bad habit of wanting to wash them and I've heard you're not supposed to, just wipe them out with a paper towel or something. Every now and then I'll get them out and say I'll give it another try, but it only lasts for a day or so and I put them back. Maybe some day I'll get the hang of it.

Cheryl said...

Use to cook with cast iron and loved it. Moved 2 years ago and my cook top is glass and the directions say not to use cast iron. I gave all my pieces away except one large skillet, use for corn bread.

Love fried potatoes cooked in cast iron.

Does any one here use these skillets on glass tops?

paulswr said...

That's a nice size pot. I have a cast dutch oven about that size, but it has legs for cooking on a fire. You have me hankering for some new cast iron.

KentuckyFarmGirl said...

Cheryl, I have read that you can use the enameled cast iron on glass top stoves. I have a gas stove so have not tried this but if you're missing using cast iron you might look into these.

Elle Bee said...

I have never used cast iron before. I may have to take your advice and go buy a skillet!

Fit & Flabless said...

I love my cast iron skillet! I may love your Dutch oven even more. Hmmm...I have a birthday coming up. Maybe I should print your post and leave it laying on the desk for hubby. :) BTW, that is some pretty yummy-looking chili you have in there.

Callie said...

Happy New Year! Hope you have a wonderful New Year.

Tom Stewart said...

Tom Said...
I Have a griddle, 4 skillets and a dutch oven. My favorite is a 14 inch skillet I got at a second-hand store for $1.00 36 years ago. I do not know how old it was when I got it, but I use it all the time. It never leaves the stove-top.

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