A cast-iron pan is a multi-purpose cookware. It is versatile because you can use it to cook on a gas stove as well as an electric stove.
Moreover, cast iron pans can also be used in ovens or over campfires. In short, it is a versatile tool to have for any modern chef.
Compared to non-stick aluminum thinner pans, cast iron pans are much heavier, therefore, they take much longer to heat up. They will also take a longer time to cool down as compared to lighter pans. This might slow down the process for you if you are cooking with a cast iron pan on an electric stove.
As a result, many people become impatient and drastically increase the temperature of the electric stove. This will initially help you heat up the cast iron pan faster, but once it has reached the desired heating point, it will be difficult to maintain the temperature.
Even when you decrease the temperature on the stove to prevent the iron cast pan from overheating, your pan will continue to keep getting hotter. For this reason, it takes some time to get used to cooking with a cast iron pan.
Once you have gotten used to your cast iron pan, you will not be able to keep your hands off it. It will become an essential part of your cooking arsenal. From cooking pork chops on it to baking beef loaves, you will thoroughly enjoy using it!
The Right Method to Use a Cast Iron Pan
You should place the cast iron pan on the electric top burner and then turn the stove on. Just like any other pan, let the cast iron pan heat up. It might take some time.
After this, you need to apply some oil or butter to your cast iron pan. This will help you prevent your food from sticking to the pan. Cast iron pans do not have a non-stick surface so you have to be careful while cooking food on it.
Other than that, you can cook the food as usual while using a cast iron pan on an electric stove. Just make sure you use a cloth or oven mitts when you grab the handle of your cast iron pan.
Generally, the handle is also made out of the same metal, so it will become extremely hot while cooking. So make sure you don’t touch the handle with your bare hands.
How and When to Wash a Cast Iron Pan
Many people don’t wash the pan completely, allowing some oil residue to stay in the pan. This is when they want to use it to cook again at the same time. This will help the cast iron pan’s surface stay non-stick.
It will also help you to retain the flavor of your last meal to make it a part of the next meal. This is why many people do not wash away all the butter and oil build up on their cast iron pan right away.
On the other hand, if you do not want to use the pan for anything else, then you can wash it. You can clean the pan with a soft sponge and warm water.
General Tips to Use a Cast Iron Pan
Here are some useful tips to keep in mind when buying and using cast iron pans
Don’t Buy Too Many Pans
As mentioned earlier, cast iron pans are versatile and can be used to do a variety of things in the kitchen. They can be used for cooking, searing, sautéing, boiling, frying and even reheating food.
They don’t have a sensitive surface like nonstick pans and can be used on higher temperatures. However, keep in mind that, as mentioned above, once it gets hot, your iron cast pan will take a considerable amount of time to cool down.
Since these pans are very versatile, you don’t have to invest in a lot of pans as you can use your cast iron pan for almost all sort of cooking.
Look for Lighter Weight Cast Iron Pans
Some of the cast iron pans can be quite heavy and difficult to use in the kitchen. You can actually sprain your wrist if you try to lift it up with one hand only. So when it comes to buying a cast iron pan, make sure you lift it to gauge its weight. Buy a pan that you can comfortably pick up to be able to cook in it freely.
Be Generous with Healthy Fats When Cooking in an Iron Cast Pan
You must start your cooking with a seasoned pan if you are using a cast iron pan. This is to avoid the food from sticking to the surface of the pan. After the initial seasoning, it is wise to use ample healthy fats to cook the food properly and give it a good flavor.
Stir with Wooden Utensils (avoid metal)
Cast iron gets very hot while cooking.
This is why you should only use wooden utensils to stir the food in it. Otherwise, you might end up melting your plastic spatula while cooking in an iron cast pan.
This can be very unhealthy for you as the plastic will leach into your food.
While you can also use metal utensils to stir in cast iron, it can ruin the seasoning layer. So it’s best to avoid using any metal spatulas
Dry the Pans on the Stove
Moisture is not good for cast iron pans. It causes rusting. To avoid this, you should instantly place your cast iron pan on an electric stove to dry it. Don’t waste any time trying to dry it with towels or you might end up with getting nasty stains on the towel.
Simply put your pan on the stove. It’s truly a win-win situation!
Don’t Wash Your Cast Iron Pan Rigorously
It’s good to leave a little oil in your cast iron pans. Many people don’t wash their cast iron pans with soap.
This helps them maintain a non-stick surface and also avoid rusting.
Also, don’t spend a lot of time scrubbing your pan with soap to make it look squeaky clean. This will actually do it more harm than good!
Heat Your Pan to Clean it
If there is debris stuck on your pan then don’t scrub it to clean it.
A better solution is to pour some water in the pan and put it on the stove. The water will start to boil and this will cook the debris off.
You can use a wooden spatula to scrape off any further bits that are stuck to your pan.
Cooking on an Electric Stove with a Cast Iron Pan
You can easily cook food using a cast iron pan on an electric stove. This will simply require small adjustments so that you can take full advantage of this useful pan.
Cast Iron Pans Take Longer to Preheat on Electric Stoves
On an electric stove, you have to wait for a few minutes to let your cast iron pan heat up.
It takes more time than the usual gas stove. This means you have to give yourself more time when cooking the same recipes on an electric stove.
It is Easier to Maintain the Temperature on Electric Stoves
The electric stove will make it easier for you to maintain lower heat levels to simmer your food steadily. The coils of an electric stove can get extremely hot.
The iron cast pan is really good at holding temperatures. This is why once you have preheated the pan to give your cooking a jumpstart, make sure to lower the heat.
Otherwise, you might burn your food because food easily sticks to cast iron if there isn’t enough oil in the pan.
Don’t shake the Cast Iron Pan on an Electric Stove
As mentioned earlier, iron cast pans are quite heavy to lift. Many cooks like to shake the pan in order to toss the vegetables while sautéing them.
Never do this with a cast iron pan on an electric stove because doing so can damage your electric stove.
Shaking a heavy cast iron pan on an electric stove cause scratches on your grates and disturbs the coils. If you have a glass top, the surface may even crack. So shaking the pan will cause serious damages to your electric stove and you should avoid doing this at all costs!
In conclusion, there are many reasons why you should invest in a cast iron pan.
They are cookware that can easily be cleaned and maintained for years. Cast iron pans can be passed down through generations as they don’t get damaged easily.
They are multipurpose and can easily be used on an electric stove.
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