I've cooked with cast iron for pretty much my entire life. Caring for the pans isn't difficult, but they do require a bit more maintenance than a stainless or non-stick.
With proper care, they can become as non-stick as a non-stick pan.
Standard care for a pan used only to cook something like eggs, with no visible debris left in the pan:
1. Just wipe out with a paper towel to remove any excess oil or butter used during the cooking process.
Standard care for a pan used to cook something like chicken or sauteed veggies that may have left some debris behind:
1. Let soak in hot water for 10-20 minutes while you enjoy your meal or wash up other dishes.
2. Dump out the still-warm water, then sprinkle the bottom of the pan generously with salt (should take 1-2 tablespoons at least). Scrub the pan with a clean, damp scrub brush or cloth, using the salt like a scouring powder to clean the pan. Add more salt as necessary.
3. Rinse thoroughly, then dry completely with a paper towel while the pan is still warm.
4. Wipe the cooking surface with a neutral high-smoke point vegetable oil (like canola).
5. Heat the pan until the oil just starts to smoke, then remove from heat and allow to cool. Wipe out excess oil and put away. This process helps to re-season the pan.
After cooking anything acidic (wine sauce, anything with tomatoes, etc.):
1. Wash and re-season as with non-acidic foods, but perform the re-seasoning twice if necessary to get the pan back to it's nonstick self.
It's ok to use soap on a cast iron pan, if you use it sparingly and re-season after drying the pan. Never let a cast iron pan air-dry - it will rust. Always dry it while it's still warm (to help any remaining moisture evaporate), and immediately coat the cooking surface and any bare-looking spots in some oil.
If you have a gas stove, your cast iron will develop rust on the bottom. This is because burning gas produces moisture as a by-product of combustion, and the heat accelerates the rusting process. You can just scrub it off with a pad like 3M Scotch-Brite, oil the cleaned surface, and then re-season in the oven (350F or so for 20 minutes).
I've found baking cornbread in the cast iron skillet to be an excellent way to re-season a pan that has lost its seasoning: Place the skillet in a cold oven, heat up to 425F, melt a knob of butter in the pan, then the cornbread batter, and bake.
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that's a lot of good info. I ended up going with a basic Lodge set (dutch oven and a couple sizes of pans). They should be showing up tomorrow, which is great because it gives me all day thanksgiving to read up on them and get a feel for them (and maybe a practice meal or two). Lodge seemed to have a well deserved reputation with everybody I've asked and no real hype about the name or any problems.
I can't wait til some of my books on anemia come in and I get some more medical opinions and questions answered. I'm in researching mode and will be on the hunt for a dietitian soon... and plenty more questions now that I'm thinking seriously about my cooking habits and skills (or lack thereof).
I've got a great start here, though, that's for sure. Thanks again.
For cast iron cookware, I was partial to Lodge or to any older ones that were made in America. You can often find great deals on the older ones via estate or garage sales, and just need to do some work to clean them up and re-season them.
Since you want the active leaching of iron from the cookware in to your food, you need to avoid any with ceramic and go with pure iron. It is up to you which manufacturers and country of manufacture you trust enough for this type of application.
I used to adore my old cast iron, but it has become too heavy and awkward for me to use. While I enjoyed the non-stick features of it, and the adaptability (from stove to oven to grill), I certainly never looked at it as a primary source of iron. The amount that would be leached in to the food would be variable and mostly negligible.
I had severe iron deficiency diagnosed a few years back. I was unable to tolerate iron supplements, so instead had a couple of iron infusions in order to get my levels to almost "low normal" (didn't quite hit the target), but I had some issues tolerating those as well so had to rely on food choices. Over the course of a year or so, I managed to get my iron levels up in to the "normal" range and have been holding them there for over 5 years without any supplementation.
It took some experimentation, but I'm pretty comfortable now with automatically including foods that give me about 120% RDA every day. I find that maintaining at least 100% RDA of vitamin B-12 and folate at the same time seems to be helpful. Early on in my learning curve, I came across a post here in the message boards about iron deficiency that linked to this recipe: recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp? recipe=2981261
While I never made that precise one, I did use it as inspiration for foods to eat frequently: blackstrap molasses (I include a bit in tons of sauces and all baking), peas, lentils, cinnamon, etc. Even a high iron content plain cocoa can be added to all kinds of sweet or savoury recipes. As mentioned, making sure that plant sources are consumed with some vitamin C (vegetable or fruit) does make a difference but the jury seems to still be out on whether calcium actually blocks some of the iron from being absorbed. I never found that including dairy (calcium) with my iron sources was a problem, and the studies seem mixed.
I also include animal sources with at least 2 meals per day. While I don't generally eat organ meats like liver, I do enjoy grass fed beef a few times per week, choose dark meat poultry instead of light (higher iron content), add shrimp occasionally, enjoy salmon a few times per week, and include wild game meat when I can (moose, venison, elk, duck, goose, rabbit) since those are all higher in iron content.
The nice thing you'll find is that increasing your intake of high iron foods and finding combinations that you really enjoy should also go a long way to improving your blood glucose level. Once you feel better and have more energy from being at a healthy iron level, you won't be feeling the desire for extra calories for energy.
Good luck on your journey to health, and remember to make choices that make you happy (since those are the ones that we keep).
Sir Terry Pratchett: "Science is not about building a body of known 'facts'. It is a method for asking awkward questions and subjecting them to a reality-check, thus avoiding the human tendency to believe whatever makes us feel good."
I've used mine for about 15 years now. I clean it by filling half with water and simmering for a while on the stove (don't let the water simmer off!), until anything that is stuck on pretty much dissolves. Rinse out, scrape any last little cling-ons if you need to, then dry well and re-oil to prevent rusting.
Another thing you can do is always make sure you're eating your iron-rich plant foods with a source of vitamin C to absorb the iron better. For example: Sautéed spinach with lemon juice, a chili with pinto beans and tomatoes, etc.
Animal sources of iron are pretty absorbable on their own, so you don't need to pair them with the vitamin C.
The iron supplement will provide enough iron to rebuild your currently deficient store. A healthy diet will easily provide adequate daily iron from that point on. Too much iron can build up in the body and be difficult to eliminate.
I suggest focusing on a real-food (unprocessed) diet which will correct both the insulin and iron issues.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever exercises faith in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
Look at second hand stores for used cast iron pans. I found some for a few bucks and I just washed and baked the pans at high temperature in the oven to sterilize them. My best deal was a 8” x 15” (ish) flat pan on one side and grills on the other for $2!!
I had some Lodge brand ones that were ok but I found some thinner pans that weren’t as heavy and heated up faster so I gave the Lodge pans to a friend except I kept and still use my Lodge brand Dutch oven.
JERF - Just Eat Real Food
I'm not a doctor or dietitian. I'm just a real whole foods nutrition nerd.
I eat mostly vegetables, fats, meats, some fruit and dark chocolate. Unprocessed and preservative free food. And it's changed my life!
5'4" Maintaining since 2012 42 years old 2 kids
Lowering my A1C and keeping my blood sugar levels steady eating LCHF.
current weight: 130.0
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133 11/24/19 7:02 P
I got a recent diagnosis for anemia and pre-diabetes, but the anemia part worries me the most because I'm not sure the best ways to tackle it. i'm getting some help (and doing tons of research) and taking iron supplements to try to kick-start my efforts to improve the anemia.
However, one obvious thing I missed when it came to thinking about how to get more iron in me just came to light--cast iron cookware.
I forgot all about that.
I'm curious, though, because I've never been terribly good with cast-iron cookware. We had a huge skillet a long time ago, but when that thing became dusty and rusty from lack of use, I threw it out. I don't think dad knew how to properly care for it, either, because I can already tell there's a few mistakes I made when cleaning it (and I always ended up the one cleaning it).
But now I'm confused. I need more iron in my food (and I'm actively pursuing recipes to work on this Thanksgiving week and beyond), and want to get cast-iron cookware. There seems to be a few different types, like pre-seasoned, and some that include ceramic elements... I have no clue which type to pick.
And heaven knows I don't wanna spend all kinds of money on really crappy cookware.
Anybody cook with cast-iron and have a brand and/or type that has really treated you well? Are there some issues you've noticed with it even if you like it? All honesty's appreciated and thanks in advance for the help.