Why you should own cast iron cookware

There can be some confusion when it comes to cast iron cookware - do you get seasoned, or enameled - which is better, the light or dark enamel - can I wash it?  Here are some tips to help you moving forward in the right direction.

Cast iron cookware will last from generation to generation, love it and it will love you back. 

When it comes to seasoned cast iron, brands such as Lodge and Finex do not have an enameled interior.  Never use soap in these pans, no matter what - OR put it in the dishwasher - EVER!

Lodge and Finex are both #MadeInAmerica brands, Lodge cast iron has an extensive range of pieces, with a price point that fits anyone's budget.  Finex is a recent addition to the market that features a brass handle that stays cooler so you can grab the pan off the stove sans a mitt.  Finex also features a geometric design so you can pour more easily from the pan.  Last, but not least - instead of waiting years for your pan's interior surface to become smooth, Finex polishes their interiors to provide easier release of your food for you.

Wash pans using warm/hot water only, and dry it immediately.  Store in a dry place - if the pan as a lid, place a paper towel inside to absorb moisture.

If the seasoning on your pan has come off, or you have found an rusted pan - it's easy to bring that pan back to life.  Rub with steel wool to remove the rust.  Then wash well with warm and - JUST THIS ONCE - soapy water, dry it well with a towel.  Rub vegetable oil (not corn oil or olive oil) all over the pan using an paper towel.  Place upside down in a 400 degree oven and bake for one hour.  Allow to cool completely - then it is ready for use.  You can repeat the oiling process twice if you desire - I've found once is good to get you going.

When it comes to enameled cast iron, brands such as Staub and LeCreuset offer you more flexibility with being able to place into the dishwasher. 

Staub features a black interior, which I find browns better (creates what is call fond) on your food.  The lids are also flat, featuring dimples which logistically would braise more evenly.  If you find that there is a white residue left on the pan after placing in the dishwasher, simply scrub with scrub pad and soap or SoftScrub to remove.

LeCreuset features a light-colored interior which will not stay that way unfortunately, you have to accept the fact that over time it will stain.  In order to slow that process down, scrub the inside using Bar Keepers friend which will keep it brighter, longer.  The domed lids on these pots tend to pull the moisture inside the pot to the edge and down the side.

Have I noticed a major difference between the way Staub and LeCreuest perform?  No, they both work well.  I believe it comes down to personal preference in color choices and design aesthetic.