There are constantly new products on the market that promise to make your job in the kitchen easier. However, plenty of these gimmicky products tend to lose their appeal fairly quickly and eventually end up unused in the back of a cabinet.
But there’s one miracle product that may meet all of your needs in the kitchen — and it probably isn’t what you’d think. In fact, you might already have one.
The gadget in question is the trusty cast iron skillet.
Not only can cast iron skillets withstand high heat, including grills and ovens, but the sturdy bottom ensures that your food will be cooked to perfection. Another benefit is that you can use metal utensils on a cast iron skillet, as it will not scratch.
Many other materials, even high-end coated ceramic, Teflon, aluminum and copper, can put toxic chemicals into your food, particularly as the coating begins to wear off. That process typically starts after a year or so of using a piece of cookware, according to Eat Local Grown.
Cast iron pans do not contain any harmful chemicals. The only thing it may leach into your food is iron, which can actually be beneficial to your health. Cast iron is also much cheaper than other “safe” cookware; for example, stainless steel can cost up to 3 times as much as cast iron.
According to the World Health Organization, as much as 80 percent of people worldwide may have an iron deficiency. Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional ailments in the world.
Additionally, approximately 30 percent of people suffer from anemia due to low levels of iron. Many people experience symptoms of anemia, such as fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, headaches, the desire to chew on ice, cold hands and feet and pale skin, without realizing that their iron levels are low.
Iron is found in a number of foods, such as meat, seafood and leafy greens.
Cooking in a cast iron skillet can add extra iron to your diet. The Kitchn notes that it can be difficult to measure exactly how much extra iron you will get, though some say that you can get good results using a newer pan and cooking acidic foods like tomatoes, which will encourage the leaching process.
Some people feel that cast iron pans are a pain to clean, but that’s not quite the case. It is recommended that you avoid using soap on a cast iron skillet unless you really need to, as it will cut through the seasoning, which creates a naturally nonstick surface.
According to The Kitchn, it’s best to clean a cast iron pan with warm water immediately after use to avoid rust. Kosher salt works great for removing stubborn pieces of food from the pan.