Pig-iron dishes to young housewives seem like an ancient relic, accidentally stuck in the kitchen from grandmother’s time. Heavy, often black, with an uncomfortable handle – why is it needed? But experienced housewives would never part with a cast-iron skillet or a saucepan. Better than she did not come up with anything yet!
Cast iron is an alloy of iron with carbon, usually with minor additions of silicon, manganese, sulfur. For the manufacture of dishes it has been used since ancient times and is now successfully used throughout the world.
Cast iron dishes are of two types with and without enamel coating. Uncoated utensils have natural non-stick properties, but can rust if kept permanently moist. On sale is the most different cast-iron dishes: pans of all sizes, and pots, and cauldrons, and a variety of goosenecks, utyatnitsy.
The main advantages of cast iron
The cast iron heats up slowly, but is able to warm up to very high temperatures, heating takes place evenly, then the dishes retain heat for a long time. For cooking meat is simply an indispensable kitchen utensils. In her dishes do not need to often stir in the cooking process.
In chemical reactions, the material practically does not enter (therefore it is safe when cooking), it is resistant to acids, almost does not rust from interaction with water.
The main advantage of cast iron cookware is its durability. The cast-iron pan can go from grandmother to granddaughter and it will be all the same as it was at the time of purchase — not too beautiful, but very practical. In such a pan, the food does not stick to the bottom without any non-stick coating.
A variety of pots and cauldrons are suitable for the oven, great for cooking over an open fire. Experts say that it is impossible to cook pilaf without a cast-iron cauldron.
Disadvantages of cast iron
The main disadvantage of cast iron – it is heavy. For making pancakes, a cast-iron pan fits perfectly, but cooking pancakes on it for a large family is hard – hands get tired. Perhaps that is why so popular a variety of light and comfortable Teflon pans .
Pig-iron dishes without enamel coating can rust from moisture, but this deficiency can be corrected – it can be cleaned, it will not affect the quality.To avoid this, wipe the dishes dry after washing. It also can not be stored cooked food.
The dishes covered with enamel are more beautiful, the coating does not allow the cast iron to rust, but all the shortcomings of any enamelled dishesare also characteristic of it: the enamel can peel off from blows.
How to choose cast iron dishes
Choosing a cast iron skillet it is important to know: the heavier it is, the better. The size is selected depending on the size of the family. For cooking pancakes produce special pans with low sides – they are a little easier. But most often they take a pan of universal depth of 4-5 cm in height. The lid is also needed, it will be needed for stewing, and when frying, it will be superfluous only for pancakes. Covers can be either cast iron or heat resistant glass or aluminum alloys.
The handle of a griddle or a saucepan can be wooden or heat resistant plastic, which is convenient when frying. But in such a handle there is a drawback – the dishes can not be put in the oven. There are designs with a removable handle, but they are not always durable in the field of fastening.The best option is a frying pan for frying and a separate wide pan or cauldron for the oven.
How to prepare new cast-iron cookware for operation
In a new cast-iron skillet or saucepan without coating, food may burn first.The material must “soak” fat. To do this, pour a little vegetable oil in a new dish and heat it, then leave it for a while to stand until it cools. Oil is poured and dishes are ready for use.
Care of cast iron
To cookware from cast iron served for a long time, you need to take care of it. But this care is quite simple. Wash simply in hot water without any detergents and do not use float, hard washcloths if something suddenly sticks to the surface. Friction or scratching can damage the natural non-stick surface and boil the oil again. After washing, wipe dry. If suddenly something stuck to the cast-iron skillet, you just need to soak it in hot water and wash it after a while.