I cringe a little every time I see rust this bad on a cast iron pan. Yeah, it’s kind of nasty looking but that’s not what bothers me. When I was first married I had a cast iron pan and my husband, after cooking breakfast for me, left the pan soaking in the sink. Yes, you read that right, he left it soaking. As a young girl who thought men should just “know better” you can imagine the argument that followed. What was worse is that I had no idea how to fix the pan – there was no internet to speak of at the time, and I wound up throwing it away. So those rusty pots and pans remind me of a time when I made a few more mistakes than I do now. Now, that I know better, when I see those neglected pots or pans I have an overwhelming desire to take all of them and show them love and affection and help them “look and cook” like they they were intended to. A little like marriage, it takes a little time and a bit of work to restore cast iron cookware, but it is really worth the time and effort!
Cast iron is my favorite cookware; I talk all about the reasons why here. Cast iron needs a little more care than most cookware, but the trade off is that it will last forever (well, at least your lifetime and probably your child’s lifetime). There is a lot of cast iron of varying quality on the market today. Some of it comes pre-seasoned and some of it ships unseasoned. Believe it or not there are times when you will want to strip the pre-seasoning off a new piece of cast iron, but I’ll get to that in a moment. If you purchase new cast iron and it arrives unseasoned can you start cooking with it? You could, but you would probably have a hard time with food sticking to your cookware. The seasoning is the black covering (or patina) that makes cast iron non-stick.
I’m going to show you how to season your cast iron cookware so that it will have a non-stick surface. The more you cook with cast iron the more non-stick it becomes. It’s a process. You would also use this method if you found some old cast iron at a yard sale and it needed to be stripped and re-seasoned. I’m not going to get into the stripping in this post, but I will in a later post. For now let’s just say you have “naked” cast iron and you want to season your piece.
Sometimes you come across a new product and think, “It’s about time somebody invented that!” That’s what I thought when I came across the FARMcurious Fermenting Set. Nicole contacted me via the Common Sense Homesteading facebook page about her kickstarter project, and I knew she had a great tool that would be useful to many people. Don’t have a clue about what I’m saying? Read on, or skip to the video, and learn how and why to do more fermenting and add live cultured foods to your diet.
This is a guest post by Jennifer Osuch.
Cooking with cast iron was one of the first back to basics moves I made; I wish I could say it was intentional, but the truth is I fell into it out of circumstance. When my sons were younger my husband and I led their Cub Scout pack, and over the years of endless campouts I learned to cook in Dutch ovens over campfires because I wanted my boys to have healthier food than traditional pre-packaged “camp food”. I’m a seasoned (pun intended…) cast iron user and I’ve been battling it, loving it, and learning from this traditional cookware for years. Yes, I say “battling” it because I didn’t know how to take care of it in the beginning. It’s not hard to take care of or hard to use; it’s just a little different. Luckily, the years of battling are over and now I’m just loving it. Let me share with you what I’ve learned.
Since I live out in the country, when I don’t have an ingredient on hand, it’s not very handy to pop out to the store to pick up what I need. Over the years I’ve found an assortment of kitchen substitutions that have worked well for me, so I thought I would put them all together in one spot and share them with you. These won’t work *exactly* like the original ingredients, but they should do in a pinch. You may even like them better than the original.