Confession. I was late to the cast iron cooking game. I found the pans heavy and cumbersome and was paranoid about ruining the pans as it seemed like there were so many rules to cooking and cleaning with them. But, once I discovered that I had been terribly misinformed about cast iron basics, I fell in love with my pans!

When I got married my mother-in-law passed her made-for-a-large-family, well-taken-care-of cast iron pans to me. As her family was getting smaller mine was growing and she had hopes that I would get as much use out of her cast iron pan collection as she did. Instead, the pans were stored in the bottom of my cabinet and saw daylight only when my husband would dig them out to take on a camping trip.

When I started entering cooking contests roughly seven years ago I discovered the National Cornbread Festival and the National Cornbread Cook-Off sponsored by Lodge…the biggest name in cast iron cooking. One of the requirements for entering the cook-off was the use of a Lodge cast iron pan, whether it be a skillet, dutch oven, muffin tin, or any of the other dozens of pans the company offers.

I didn’t make it past the qualification process the first time around, but my then-18-year-old son did. One of the advantages of not being a finalist and being on the ground to root for my boy was that I got to soak up the festivities of the event and learn all I could about cooking with cast iron. Not only did I learn about taking care of my cast iron and how to wash it, but I discovered that it’s an incredibly healthy way to cook. Check out the top 5 reasons why cast iron cooking is good for you below.

  • 1. When cooking in cast iron pans, a small amount of iron makes its way into your food. While the exact amount of iron absorbed into food isn’t clear, any extra iron boost is good news for women, kids and vegetarians who tend to be more iron deficient.
  • 2. A well-seasoned cast iron pan is naturally non-stick. No need for pans with chemical coatings that could flake off and end up being consumed.
  • 3. Because seasoned cast iron pans are non-stick, less oil is required during cooking leading to reduced calorie and fat intake.
  • 4. Cast iron is natural and are generally made of 100% natural material (iron and oil).

These are just a few of the reasons why cooking with cast iron can be good for you. If you don’t own cast iron or do and want to add to your collection, rummage sales and flea markets are a great place to find second-hand cast iron cookware. If it’s not in great shape, don’t panic. Cast iron can easily be restored to its former glory. Find out how in the video below.