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{Today, please welcome Amy Thedinga to Delicious Obsessions! She will be one of our regular contributors and she's kicking off March with 5 reasons to start cooking with cast iron. Cast iron is a favorite in my kitchen and I'm excited to have Amy share her knowledge with you! ~Jessica}

One of the best things you can do for your health is to stop eating out and start cooking at home. However, the prospect of cooking meals from scratch intimidates many people.

As with any task, having the right tools boosts confidence and greatly increases your chances of success in the kitchen. The good news is you don’t have to spend a bunch of money or have a ton of fancy gadgets.

If asked what is the number one tool a kitchen shouldn't be without, I would answer “cast iron” for these five reasons.

If you are looking for cast iron, check your local thrift stores, garage sales, etc. Cast iron is very durable and is often passed down from generation to generation. If you would prefer to buy some new, then most big box stores will carry some, or you can look on Amazon for a wider selection.

Reason 1: Cast Iron is Non-Stick

There’s nothing worse than having your meal-time creation burn and stick to the pan. If cast iron is seasoned properly, food doesn't stick to it.

Don’t be scared off by the seasoning process. It couldn't be simpler. Just rub a thin layer of coconut oil, avocado, or other healthy, heat stable, neutral oil on the pan and bake at 350 for 90 minutes. That’s it. This process will yield a beautiful non-stick finish.

The cleaning process is easy too. Simply rinse the pan out, scrub the stuck on bits with a non-metal mesh sponge or course sea salt if necessary, dry and add another thin layer of oil before storing. If you damage your finish with tools or by scrubbing, simply repeat the seasoning process. 

Reason 2: Cast Iron is Non-Toxic

True, there are plenty of pots and pans out there with non-stick finish. But, the chemical treatments that make them non-stick are also toxic. Pans treated with non-stick coatings (most often Teflon) emit toxic fumes when heated to high temperatures and may also leach harmful chemicals into food.

In addition, the material most cookware is made of is aluminum. Aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders. Anodized aluminum is not a good solution either since it has been chemically treated to make the metal harder and prevent reaction with acidic substances.

Cast iron is made of, well, iron. While aluminum is toxic to the human body, iron is something the body needs. Cooking with cast iron may leach trace amounts of iron into the food for consumption. It is rare that using cast iron will give you too much iron though.

Reason 3: Cast Iron is Versatile

Because of space constraints, I’m always looking for ways to do more with less in the kitchen. I have two cast iron skillets which I use for about 90% of my cooking. They can get hot enough to sear or “grill” meat indoors on the stove. I also use them for everything from pancakes, to deep frying chicken nuggets, to quick vegetable sautés, and everything in between. Cast iron can also go right from the stove top to oven, so it’s perfect for dishes that need to be finished off under the broiler. But that’s not all! Cast iron makes a lovely baking pan for quiches or quick breads as well. We also take our cast iron skillets camping and cook with them under over the campfire.

Reason 4: Cast Iron is Inexpensive

A brand new cast iron skillet is not expensive, but you can save even more by checking your local thrift stores or garage sales. I got both of mine at garage sales for a dollar each if memory serves. And they will last 100+ years because cast iron pans are virtually indestructible. The worst that can happen to them is that you damage the finish. In that case, simply re-season your cast iron pan and it will be good as new. If you expose them to water and don't dry them off, they will rust. But, even the rust can be cleaned off and the pan re-seasoned. With a little bit of effort, cast iron may be the only pan you buy in an entire lifetime.

Reason 5: Cast Iron Provides Even Cooking

There’s nothing worse than having a “hot spot” in a pan where parts of your food get burned, while the remainder of the dish remains uncooked. Cast iron is a great heat conductor so it makes for even temperatures throughout the entire cooking surface. Plus, cast iron can get really hot which makes it perfect for tortillas, indoor grilling, or anything you need high heat for.

So what are you waiting for? Grab one of Jessica’s delicious recipes and get cooking with cast iron today!

5 Reasons to get Cooking With Cast Iron //

About Amy

AmyThedinga_0250_resizedAmy Thedinga is on a mission to help busy people discover the healing power of whole foods and a non-toxic lifestyle. After a series of catastrophic health events served as her wake up call, Amy was desperate to learn what it took to be healthy, vibrant, happy, and well. Through study, research, and lots of trial and error, Amy was able to heal her body and now teaches others to do the same. She blogs about her journey on her site, and you can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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