I will frequently get asked about pots and pans and what do I recommend for switching to safer. When Teflon (PFAS, PFOA) rolled out years ago it was the answer to all of our sticking issues. It was amazing! Then years later they learned the coating builds up in our systems and is extremely harmful to our health and doesn’t leave, meaning we don’t process it and once it gets into our environment it stays. It’s exposure has been linked to cancer, low birth weight, immune issues and thyroid disease. It’s been phased out in the US, but it’s effects are lasting.
So, once we were told to ditch Teflon the question became, now what? There are so many new and fancy pans in the marketplace. Green Pan, Ceramic Coated, Copper, then you have stainless steel, and cast iron. I will share a blog post by my friend Molly about some great safer options.
We have a couple of Green Pans but I just don’t fully trust them or any of the other newer non-stick pans on the shelves. My personal go to is cast iron. Many of you have heard me say this. They can be a bit fickle but after sharing a video about how are eggs weren’t sticking in my stories yesterday I had so many people reach out with how do I make this happen so I wanted to share! I also love cast iron for all the secondary iron consumption we get by cooking on cast iron! First, my tip is if you can find an antique pan snag it! It’s likely been used many times over the years which means it’s well seasoned. If you can’t find an antique one, then when you buy new season it. Even if it says it comes pre-seasoned. This is the method I use.
Then it comes down to care! I would use these on glass tops, just don’t slide them and they do take a bit more to heat up. When cooking put the pan on the burner and let it get to temp. Then add cooking oil. We tend to use avocado oil (we avoid olive oil at medium to high heat cooking due to low smoke point) and for eggs we use butter! Make sure you have enough oil in there! And, yes, we are a family that uses fats liberally! 😉 Then add your food. Eggs seem to be the most tricky food to cook in cast iron as they like to stick! This is why this video was so popular. Haha! Now, on a new pan it might take a bit to get it broken in, but the the more you use it the more seasoned it gets and easier to use. If you follow these tips and eggs are sticking like crazy don’t give up. Just skip the egg cooking for awhile to get it broke in more.
Now for clean up! This take a bit more time, but so worth it to get your pan in tip top shape! Never use soap as it can break down the seasoning. My personal method is once cool, warm water and a scrubber. I use the one from Pampered Chef and this metal one. (I’ve also hear people scrubbing a dry pan with coarse salt.) Once all the debris is gone, wipe dry and put back on burner. Turn burner on medium and let the pan heat up to make sure all water is evaporated, add oil (we use lard, but a similar fat can be used) and get it to just smoking. Remove from heat and let cool! On a new pan I will go through the re-seasoning steps every so often but I’ve found this cleaning method basically re-seasons each time and gets the pan to what you see below the fastest!
Let me know if you have questions!