Cast iron cookware is in high demand now after ages. While cooking in cast iron pans and pots was common in Asia, the West is now replacing their nonstick pans with cast iron. But is cast iron safe to cook food? Or all this is really just a hoax? Well, you’ll find answers to all your questions by the time you reach the end of this article.
How often should you cook in cast iron?
Made up your mind to buy a new cast iron pot? Or received a cast iron skillet from your friend? No matter what the occasion is, it is common to think about safety before using new cookware.
Let me break the ice by saying that cast iron is good for everyday cooking. Yes! you read that right.
In fact, the more you use your cast iron pan or skillet, the better its cooking surface gets. After some uses, you might no longer feel the need to season your cast iron pan/skillet. The cooking surface gets a natural nonstick coating with regular and proper use.
While it is safe to use cast iron every day, some foods are simply not compatible with the material. Acidic foods like tomatoes, lemons, white wine, etc when cooked for a long time causes adverse effect on health.
Let us talk about this later, for now, you can use your favorite cast iron pan like enameled cast iron braiser pan as often as you want. From making eggs for breakfast to lasagna for dinner, you can use the same pan without any worries.
Is cast iron safe for birds?
Do you know that certain cookware can harm birds? And you might not want to cook with such materials especially if you have got a cute birdie in your home.
Cast iron cookware is generally safe to use around birds.
Because, unlike nonstick cookware, cast iron pans or skillets do not release toxic fumes at high cooking temperatures.
Stay away from cast iron cookware that already comes nonstick. There is a high chance it might contain PFAS. PFASs are chemicals used to coat a cookware nonstick. These chemicals are mostly PFOA, PFOS, and PTFE. And all these nonstick cookware emit toxic fumes at high temperature that is not safe for parrots or other birds in your home.
Also, make sure not to have your bird in the same area when seasoning cast iron pan or skillet. The fumes of oil coming off could make your bird sick. So it is better to keep your birdie in a well-ventilated area when seasoning your cast iron cookware with oil.
What foods should you not cook in cast iron?
While cast iron is safe to use for everyday cooking, certain foods cannot be cooked in cast iron.
And acidic foods like tomatoes and limes are a big NO when it comes to cooking them in cast iron. The acid released from these foods reacts with the metal and combines with a meal being cooked, thus, causing health problems.
Below is the list of foods that you should avoid putting in your new cast iron pan/skillet.
1. Tomato Sauce: As we already mentioned, acidic foods are not good to cook with cast iron cookware be it seasoned or unseasoned. So it is better not to make a tomato sauce recipe in this metal. You can use stainless steel or ceramic for making the sauce at home. These materials won’t react with tomato, nor will they break in the flavor.
2. Omelete: Cooking eggs in cast iron cookware not only makes them taste better but also cooks them evenly. This statement only stays true for a seasoned cast iron pan. You must avoid making fried eggs, omelets, or scrambled eggs in a new pan that is yet to achieve its natural nonstick coating. However, if you love eggs, then try these safe non-stick frying pans for eggs where you can make several dishes and enjoy them on daily basis.
3. Delicate Fish: Cast iron holds temperature evenly for a long period of time. Now, this might make you think of cooking some delicious fish fillets at home but they will stick to the bottom of the pan if you’re using an unseasoned cast iron pan/skillet. Avoid cooking delicate fish. On the other hand, salmon and tuna cook perfectly with cast iron.
4. Pancake and other Liquidy Foods: Pouring pancake batter on an unseasoned cast iron pan will only run the cookware. You need to wait for its cooking surface to achieve natural non stickiness before you begin making yummy pancakes.
The basic question that you might have “Is it worth buying cast iron pans?“, Yes it is. It is one of the oldest forms of pan-making material that has been in our civilization for over 200 years.
Can cast iron cause iron toxicity?
The chances of iron toxicity caused by using cast iron cookware are rare. Only people suffering from hemochromatosis are at high risk from iron toxicity. Hemochromatosis is a disorder where the body produces more iron than required.
A well-seasoned cast iron pan only leached about 5 milligrams of iron per cup of food. And older the pan gets, the amount of iron leaching into the food decreases.
However, if you feel like you’re experiencing iron toxicity then stop using the cast iron pan every day, especially, when cooking acidic foods.
The versatility of cast iron cookware is one of the many reasons for its fame. You can use the griddle on the stovetop, induction, inside the oven, and even on an open fire. The strength and durability of cast iron cookware are unmatchable.
And no matter what heating source you expose your pan too, cast iron is safe for cooking food. It does not emit toxic fumes nor does it release heavy metals into the food cooking. Therefore, making it one of the safest cookware materials.
Just season your cast iron cookware well and you can make a variety of meals in it. From breakfast to desserts, you can happily enjoy all your meals without worrying about the side effects of cast iron.