While cast iron skillets may not look as sophisticated as some of the shiny, sleek cookware you find today in kitchen supply stores, it offers great value and even nutritional benefits. For less than $20, you can usually purchase a good-sized cast iron skillet that will last well beyond your lifetime.
My mother recently gave me a cast iron skillet that belonged to her great-grandmother. It is well-seasoned and nearly 100% non-stick. It’s not only a treasured heirloom, but also one of my favorite pans to use. It browns meat beautifully, and pancakes flip like a dream.
That’s why I’ve expanded my cast iron collection to include skillets in varying sizes and shapes. Several brands make traditional iron skillets, but my favorite happens to be Lodge Cast Iron.
Get Your Daily Dose of Iron
I recently discovered an interesting fact regarding the nutritional benefits of cooking with cast iron. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, iron can be absorbed by food cooked in a cast iron skillet, especially when the food is highly acidic (e.g., many vegetables and most meats/seafood).
The study tested 100g of spaghetti sauce cooked in a cast iron pot and found its iron content increased from less than one milligram to 5.7mg. The absorption of iron into cooked food will vary depending on the age of the pan, food acidity and cooking duration.
Put Your Cast Iron Skillet to Use!
While cast iron skillets are most often used for frying, they’re also ideal for making cornbread. In fact, some cornbread aficionados believe cast iron is an essential tradition.
Speaking of great cornbread, the town of South Pittsburgh, Tennessee will host the 14th Annual National Cornbread Festival on April 24th and 25th. It’s interesting to note that contestants were required to prepare their entries using a cast iron skillet!
Why not challenge yourself to your own cast iron skillet cornbread cook-off at home by trying a great Bakespace recipe, like apesescape’s Sage and Honey Skillet Cornbread.