What Can You Not Cook In Cast Iron?
Cast Iron Skillets have a range of advantages, making it an exclusive kitchen option.
Everyone who has had a cooking experience with cast iron skillets ends up falling in love with them.
They are useful in the preparation of meals from breakfast to dinner, not forgetting desserts too.
One of the features that drive many homeowners and culinary experts to purchase this particular kitchen tool is versatility.
For a majority, when they first purchase a cast iron skillet, they are so excited to try out all types of recipes and ingredients on this pan.
However, as useful as these skillets maybe, not all foods are suitable for this kitchen tool.
There are definitely a variety of recipes that work well with a cast iron skillet. Only a few will not give you your desired outcome.
Let us figure out what dishes you should not make using your cast iron skillets.
Cast iron skillets cannot handle large amounts of acidic foods. Acidic dishes like tomato sauce, lemon sauce, wine braised meat, and vinegar are a no go zone when it comes to the cast iron skillet.
There are two major reasons why you have to stop cooking food in cast iron skillets or acidic sauces.
Consumption of iron from these foods in large amounts can be harmful to your health; nevertheless, there are no adverse effects when taken in small amounts.
The biggest issue is the unpleasant metallic taste adapted by the food. The good news is, recent research discovered that while cooking acidic foods on a cast iron skillet, the unpleasant taste comes through after 30 minutes.
So you can successfully prepare acidic meals but only for a short period. To completely avoid the metallic taste, add the acidic ingredients outside the pan.
Even better, use other kitchen alternatives.
Secondly, the acid breakdowns the seasoning, therefore, eliminating it. Seasoning the pan’s surface is what makes it non-stick hence; removing this polymerized layer gets rid of this pan’s feature.
To sustain the seasoning, avoid cooking acidic foods or leaving acidic foods on the pan after cooking and, if necessary, cook it for only a few minutes.
Foods with garlic, cheese, pepper, or even some fish carry strong scent and flavors. Desserts also fall on this category, though this is a bit flexible as it is dependent on the type of dessert you are cooking.
Smelly foods tend to leave behind their aroma to the next couple of meals if prepared by the same skillet.
This especially happens to a cast iron pan that has not gone through several rounds of seasoning.
Even an old skillet, well maintained and seasoned, picks up a bit of the smell and flavor of such foods compared to stainless steel or non-stick skillet. To eliminate the smell, place the skillet in a 4000F oven.
However, it is not advisable to cook food with strong aromas using the cast iron skillet; instead, buy a separate skillet for them.
I bet no one wants to be eating a chocolate chip cookie made on a cast iron skillet, tasting like bacon and garlic.
The ability to retain heat and create a crusted brown steak is a loveable feature for the cast iron skillets.
This same feature can as well be a disadvantage to delicate meats that cannot stand the heat. An example of such meat is fish meat, which a cast iron skillet cannot totally handle.
Tilapia or trout are too flaky, and no matter how much oil or butter you add, the fish will still stick on the skillet’s surface.
This will make flipping the fish a total disaster leading to it scrambling. Bigger fish like salmon and tuna cook perfectly, though; they can also stick on the surface.
To get a crunchy top, place the fish side down.
Another big challenge with this meal is when scouring the surface to remove the stuck fish skin. Harsh scrubbing will ruin the seasoning of the skillet.
It is advisable to use a non-stick pan to get your fish in one piece.
Avoid sticky foods with a new skillet or one that has not been in use for long. Foods such as scrambled eggs, pancakes, french omelet, and fried rice cook better in only well-seasoned skillets.
However, for newer pans, these foods stick on the surface of the pans. Not only will you get over browned eggs, but also funky shaped pancakes.
The pancakes will give you a hard flipping time. In addition, you will have to scrub off the seasoning in an attempt to get rid of the sticky food substances.
Cooking fatty foods such as bacon and steak on your skillets is a good way to start with a new pan as it will ease your future experience with the skillet.
Fats from such foods enhance the existing hard coating of fat on the skillet. After cooking fatty foods, washing and caring for your skillet properly, the pan’s surface will become non-stick and slick. This improves its ability to handle sticky foods.
Avoid Storing Leftover Foods on Your Skillet
After cooking, remove the food leftovers and store them in a separate container.
Do not just cover the pan with a tin foil and place it in the fridge, you may not have space for your cast iron skillet in your refrigerator.
Furthermore, the dampness of the refrigerator is a good breeding ground for rust. The Cast iron skillet should always be dry to prevent rusting and maintain its seasoning.
Storing acidic foods, as stated, breaks down the seasoning and imparts a metallic flavor on the meal.
For wet foods such as sauces, mac, and cheese, pies do not leave them long on the pans after cooking to prevent rust. Always ensure your skillet is clean and completely dry before storing it.
Cold foods are prone to sticking on pans. Therefore it is important that you let the skillet heat before adding your ingredients to it.