Cast iron cookware is a favourite amongst both amateur and professional chefs. Renowned for its durability, versatility, cost, and even health benefits, cast iron cookware offers several advantages over other types of pans. Cast iron pans also retain heat and cooks evenly. They’re also suitable for high-heat cooking, that may damage other types of cookware. Many cooks choose cast iron over other materials to be able to cook on the stove-top and finish off in the oven, without changing pans. Cast iron is perfect for induction cooking, since these hobs work only with pans that contain iron.
When cast iron pans are bare, they require periodic seasoning/oiling to keep them in serviceable condition. Seasoning prevents rusting and creates a thin layer of fat on the surface of the pan, keeping foods from sticking. However, newer models that have a glass and/or ceramic coating do not require any regular maintenance.
A bare cast iron vessel requires special care when washing as to not compromise the seasoning. This means that it is not suitable for the dishwasher or even hard scrubbing by hand. There are several alternative methods of cleaning, based mostly on personal preference. Some people choose to only wipe the residue left in the pan, with no water or soap touching it. Alternatively, using salt and rag or paper towel to scrub the surface can provide a more thorough clean. However, sometimes it is necessary to wash out the pan. In these cases you can use hot water and a stiff-bristled brush. People who use soap and water will need to re-reason more often with fat or oil.
The cast iron vessel has been used for cooking for close to two thousand years. A bare cast iron pan (or other type of vessel) begin as a piece of metal. In this type of pan, the handle is also made from the same metal—making it suitable for in-oven cooking. However, some may find the hot handle to be difficult to get acclimated to when cooking on a cooktop.
High-end cast iron cookware begins with high carbon-content iron and steel in a pre-determined ratio. It is melted in a high-temperature oven until it reaches a liquid state. This is part of the process of purification—removing impurities from the metal mixture. A mould is created from sand, clay, and other materials. The iron is moved to another oven to keep it at the precise required temperature, and when ready, the iron is poured into the moulds to set. Multiple parts are usually joined at this stage. With the setting process completed, the surrounding moulds are removed and the resulting pans are cleaned of any remaining debris. They are smoothed with the use of rotary grinders. Steel bits are blasted onto the pan’s surface to make sure an even layer forms. For enamel-coated pans, they are sprayed with a thin coating of enamel to seal the pan and prevent rusting. A second coat may be applied to increase durability. It may be painted. After each step, the pan is dried and run through an oven.
Cast-iron pans have a cult-like following for their versatility and heavy cooking durability. However, these are not the only pans used for induction cooking. There are several high-quality pans and sets that work suitably on an portable induction cooktop because they are composed partially of iron. Whatever you choose, be sure to consider the longevity and long-term value of the set. Some cheaper pans will not last and will end up costing you more in the long run. See this list for an updated ranking of the best induction cookware available on the market today.