The Health Benefits of Cast Iron

So posts this week have been pretty light – quite frankly, non-existent. The reason? I’ve just been super busy (dog trial, agility awards dinner, crazy work deadlines, etcetera, etcetera) and not able to cook much this past week. I’ll be back in the cast iron swing of things soon and I have some fun dishes planned for future posts. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, I thought I’d cover some of the health benefits and sustainable reasons for cooking with cast iron.

  1. Because cast iron pots and skillets are so well-seasoned, they have a natural non-stick surface, meaning you don’t need to use as much oil or butter when cooking. And that’s good for the love handles.
  2. Cast iron cookware is free of potentially harmful chemicals that are found in non-stick pans like those with Teflon surfaces. Many non-stick pans are made with perfluorocarbons or PFCs, which are known to be highly toxic and carcinogenic. PFCs are released and inhaled from non-stick pans through fumes when the pans are heated on high heat. They can also be ingested if a non-stick pan is scratched. I’ve had a few scratched up Teflon skillets in my time. I don’t use them any more. I strive for a Teflon-free kitchen.
  3. Cast iron fortifies your food with iron, which is good if you have an iron deficiency or want to avoid taking Geritol. One of my Dutch oven cooking buddies was instructed by his doctor to cook in a cast iron skillet once a week to help avoid becoming anemic. Geez…I’m on my way to becoming Iron Man.
  4. Cast iron is made to last a lifetime, if properly maintained. My mother used her cast iron skillet for decades and many of my friends have skillets and Dutch ovens that belonged to their parents and grandparents. Cast iron is very vintage.
  5. Cast iron cleans easily by using hot water, a stiff brush and a little vinegar. No soap is required. Many dish soaps contain high levels of phosphates which act much like fertilizers, increasing algae and aquatic weed growth in bodies of water. Wastewater containing phosphates can end up in lakes, rivers and streams. Cast iron can be very eco-friendly.
  6. Cast iron is versatile, as I’ve tried to demonstrate through this blog. One cast iron skillet can be used on the stove, in the oven, on the grill, and over the campfire. You can cook multiple dishes in a cast iron skillet, meaning less equipment to purchase for your kitchen. Unless you’re a total addict like me.
  7. Cast iron is affordable. My favorite Lodge skillet cost around $25 and is the most used piece of cookware in my household. And since I intend to be cooking with it when I’m 90, I’d say that’s the best $25 I’ve ever spent.

Sources:

EatingWell Magazine
sustainablebabysteps.com

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