Source: BlackDoctor.org; YourHRRS News
Cast iron cookware has been around since you were a child — you may remember those heavy black pots and skillets in your grandmother’s house. Well, as it turns out, this old-school skillet is actually a great tool for health.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a study on perfluoroctanoic acid (PFOA) or Teflon non-stick cookware. In two to five minutes on a conventional stove top, Teflon cookware was found to exceed temperatures at which the coating breaks apart and emits toxic particles and gases linked to pet bird deaths and human illnesses long before manufacturer DuPont had previously admitted.
The journal Environmental Health Perspectives published an article that noted the following about PFOA:
- It hangs around in the body, eliminated after 3.8 years.
- Animal studies have shown that high doses can cause cancer, physical development delays, endocrine disruption, and neonatal mortality.
- In older animals, the compound can cause liver and pancreatic tumors.
With that said, here are some healthy reasons why you should use a cast iron cookware:
1. It evenly distributes heat: Cast iron creates an even, intense heat that makes it really flexible and effective for all sorts of cooking. That means it helps seal in juices and keeps food moist and delicious.
2. It lasts for a long time: Cast iron cookware can last for such a really long time, it is often passed down from one generation to the next. Old and worn pieces can be refurbished with re-seasoning very little scrubbing, making it a great eco-friendly option.
3. It’s naturally non-stick: Once seasoned, correctly used cast iron cookware won’t cause foods to stick, and it does not emit the toxic fumes that non-stick or pre-seasoned pans do.
4. You can use less oil: Properly seasoned cast iron cookware is virtually non-stick, which means you can use less oil in your recipes, cutting down on the fat where desired. To avoid acidity damage and metallic taste, use cast iron cookware at least twice before cooking tomatoes in it.
Seasoning and Cleaning Cast Iron Cookware
To season (or re-season) cast iron cookware, place aluminum foil on the bottom rack of the oven. Preheat to around 350F. Apply a thin, even coating of melted solid vegetable shortening, cooking oil, or flaxseed oil to the cookware (inside and out). Place the cookware upside down on the top rack of the oven. Bake for at least an hour, turn off oven, and let cool. Pre-seasoned cast iron cookware should be seasoned before first use.
Properly seasoned cast iron cookware will clean with hot water with a drop of liquid soap — soak in it loosen stuck-on food. To remove rust, scour with a mixture of salt and oil (then steel wool for tougher stains), rinse thoroughly in hot water, and re-season. Never use scouring powder on cast iron cookware.