An essential part of any kitchen is some fantastic cast iron cookware. Not only does cast iron cook the most delicious stakes, but it is also an incredibly durable and versatile piece of equipment that you will love.
But while anyone who owns a piece of cast iron cookware will rave about its qualities, you might also hear some strange myths about this material… Ranging from concerns that cast iron is fragile and delicate to bragging about being able to cook virtually anything in seconds with the ultimate non-stick surface.
Read on to discover our myth-busting guide to cast iron cookware.
1. Seasoning is hard work
It’s a fairly common myth that seasoning your cast iron pan is a lot of hard work, but this doesn’t need to be the case! Most cast iron pans, like the ones available at unocasa.com, come pre-seasoned, so all you’ll need to do is refresh the seasoning from time-to-time by using it regularly and rubbing with oil after cleaning.
2. Well-seasoned cast iron pans are non-stick
A well-seasoned cast-iron pan will offer non-stick properties and shouldn’t allow food residue to cake to the bottom, but it’s certainly not a non-stick pan and isn’t comparable to materials such as Teflon. But as long as you’re cleaning properly and re-season regularly, you shouldn’t experience much caked-on food residue.
3. Cleaning with soap removes seasoning
This myth usually comes from a misconception of what seasoning is. This layer on the bottom of your pan protects the cast iron and adds a delicious infusion of flavor to your cooking. It’s incredibly hard to remove as it’s chemically bonded to the pan.
Soap is not going to remove your seasoning!
4. You can’t use metal utensils
This myth comes from the idea that seasoning can be flaked off, but that isn’t the case! As long as you’re not chipping away at the metal of the pan, your seasoning will survive a metal spatula or spoon.
5. Soak to clean caked-on food
Although it’s fine to use soap, the worst thing you can do is leave cast iron to soak as water is the natural enemy of iron!
The best way to free your cast iron pan from caked-on food is to pour salt into the pan and wipe with a dry cloth or paper towel. Men’s Health Magazine offers a great guide on how to clean your cast iron cookware properly.
6. Cast iron pans heat evenly
Cast iron pans are actually terrible for heating evenly and often need to be pre-heated for 10 minutes or more.
The flip side is that cast-iron cookware holds heat better than virtually any other material. It will also heat food not directly touching the hot surface thanks to a high emissivity ratio (put your hand over the pan to feel the heat and compare with your other cookware to see what we mean).
7. Modern cast iron is the same as old cast iron
Modern cast iron cookware might be the same material as ones almost a century old, but more streamlined production methods mean that newer items aren’t quite as shiny or non-stick. This is due to the removal of a final polishing stage, causing newer cast iron cookware to retain a slightly bumpier surface.
When seasoned properly, vintage and modern cast iron should both provide you with a quality non-stick surface, but vintage pans will do the job a tiny bit better.
8. Cast iron pans are delicate
There’s a reason you can pick up cast-iron pans at an antique store that are 100s of years old… And that’s because they’re made of one of the most hard-wearing and resilient metals we know of. One of the only ways of harming cast iron is to heat it and pour loads of cold water in, as this can cause cracks in the metal. Even if your pans are showing signs of rust or age, they’re still easy to clean up. There’s extraordinarily little you can do to damage this type of cookware.
We absolutely love our cast iron cookware and certainly would never want to be without it! Follow our top tips to bust through some of the most common myths surrounding cast iron, and you’ll have a fantastic set of cookware that will last years.