As an environmentalist, I always ask myself the following questions when I choose to buy something, especially when I am buying something brand new from a store (which doesn’t happen often):
- What is this product made of? Is it made from natural, renewable material? Is this product made of materials that won’t harm my family or the planet?
- Is this product well made? Will it last a long time? If it breaks, is it easy to fix?
- What will happen to this product after I am done with it? Is it easy to recycle, compost, or pass on or will it need to be sent to the landfill?
For some purchases, this is a hard test, but not for cast iron cookware! Safer for our bodies and the planet than non-stick pans and made to last forever, cast iron is an easy choice for our kitchen. And since our cast iron cookware will very likely outlast us, it’ll be handed down to the next generation and we won’t have to worry about contributing to landfills.
Aside from its obvious environmental benefits, cast iron is also super versatile. It can be used on the stove or in the oven. You can even use it over an open fire or on your grill. I have three cast iron pans at home:
- A normal-sized skillet for pancakes and eggs and the like
- A huge skillet with a glass top – for stir fry, big meals, and when I need to make 20 grilled cheese sandwiches in 10 minutes
- A big Dutch oven – which I use as my soup pot as well as my bread oven
Ready to make the switch? Don’t just toss your current cookware. Let it live out its natural life before making the change or donate it. Then look for used cast iron first because you’re likely to find it (I’m telling you, it lasts forever!). If you can’t find any, I can recommend Lodge brand personally, but there are many others. Do your research, because you want this to last forever!
A note about “seasoning”… You may have been scared away from cast iron because you’ve heard you need to “season” it before using it. First of all, if you buy used cast iron, you don’t have to season it, just maintain it by heating a bit of oil in the clean pan and rubbing it in every now and again. The major thing to know is to avoid using soap on your pans. Just wash with water and a brush or cloth. Second, if you do buy it new, seasoning the pan is not hard and everyone on YouTube wants to show you how. 🙂