I'm in love with my cast iron. I've been collecting and restoring my pieces as often as possible. I enjoy scouring flea markets and garage sales for unusual finds. Dutch ovens, assorted sizes of frying pans, griddles and trivets, you name it and I've been collecting. They're worth their weight in gold. Restoration of these pieces can range anywhere from a simple re-seasoning to a full electrolysis bath to remove stubborn rust.
Properly seasoned cast iron provides a beautiful non stick surface without toxic PFCs (perfluorocarbons). This is the coating used in most normal cookware that eventually chips off and ends up in your food. According to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, these particles can lead to liver damage, cause cancer and developmental problems.
Cast Iron heats evenly and holds its heat so you don't end up with hot spots and your food cooks evenly. It's so versatile. You can start out on the stove top sauteing vegetables or searing the perfect steak then you can finish preparations in the oven. Cast iron is also perfect for roasting, braising and baking. (Be careful though, because the handle will also be hot. That is why they invented those cute little handle cozies.)
Most cast iron pots and pans sold today are already pre-seasoned. A thin layer of oil is sprayed unto the castware and then they are placed in a giant oven and heated to perfection. Maintenance at home is relatively simple. After you've finished cooking, you should wash your pan using hot water and a very stiff brush. DO NOT USE SOAP. If food is still stuck on, use half a cup of kosher salt and scrub your pan with a dish towel. you may then dispose of the salt. Moisture is the greatest enemy of your cast iron pieces, so never put them away wet. I like to rub some oil unto the surface of the pans then place them on the open flame of the stove top until heated just to the smoke point of the oil.
I plan to keep my cast iron pieces around for a while and I look forward to sharing my recipes with you somewhere down the line. If you have any questions, comments or tips, please feel free to share them below.