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Farm Pans

Updated: May 29, 2022

In a world of plastics and chemicals, cast iron cookware stands far above the competition in terms of reliability and naturalness. Cast iron has been used for cookware since the Han Dynasty in China, or around 220 A.D. With proper maintenance, you should be able to pass your cast iron cookware down through the generations. At Grey Dog Maple Farm, cast iron cookware is used almost daily because of its durability, longevity, and naturalness.

So, what makes it different? We’ll start with the lack of Polytetrafluoroethylene, Superhydrophobic, or Anodized Aluminum. As appealing as those sound, many forms of cookware use those to create a nonstick surface. Cast iron is seasoned with vegetable oil. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I’m putting my money there.

When I use the term seasoned, that means to make cast iron nonstick. An easy way to do this is to pour a small amount of vegetable oil into a pan. Next, wipe the oil around the pan with a towel or paper towel to completely cover the pan. Once the pan is “shiny” from the oil, slowly heat the pan on low heat. I recommend doing this on a grill as the first seasoning will sometimes produce smoke as the oil burns off. Another, tastier way to do this, is to have a fish fry. This way you’re not “wasting” the oil. If you’ve purchased a new, non-seasoned pan, it may take a few times to make it nonstick.

Once your pan is seasoned, it’s easy to keep it that way. Before cooking, use a small amount of oil or melt butter in your pan. After cooking, while the pan is still warm, wipe up any leftover oil or butter, being sure to cover the pan, making it shiny again. Most mornings, I fry a few eggs for breakfast. I melt a small amount of butter, drop my eggs in, cook them, flip them to continue cooking for a few seconds, and then remove the eggs from my cast iron pan with no sticking. By the time I’m done eating, the pan has cooled enough for me to wipe with a paper towel.

When washing your cast iron pans with soap and water, it’s important to dry them afterwards. This is more than using a towel. Once you’ve cleaned and dried your pan, reapply a thin layer of vegetable oil. Then, heat the pan on a stove to make sure they’re dry. Any water left, has the potential to make rust. My pans are well seasoned. If for some reason I do need to scrub them, I follow these rules. Otherwise, a quick wipe will clean your pan, and then make sure it’s dry. The best way to keep a pan seasoned is to use it often.

Now that you know how to care for your cast iron pans, it’s time to get cooking. A well-seasoned pan is good for everything from steak to eggs. Bacon, hamburgers, fish, and sautéed vegetables are all winners in cast iron as well. Outside of deep-frying things like chicken and fish, I prefer to use butter to coat the pans. This also helps to keep them seasoned. Be sure to use pan holders too. Unlike some other forms of cookware, these handles are not insulated and will be as hot as the rest of the pan. This is a great trade off though for being able to use them on a grill, in your oven, or even on a campfire.

Someday, my children will get my cast iron pans, and then I hope they pass them down to their children too. If you’re looking for cookware that will stand the test of time, it’s hard to beat cast iron.

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