Maggie’s skillets

Pictured here you see a collection of cast iron some of which belonged to Maggie. At 100+ years old, these cast iron skillets are better than when Maggie bought them because that is one unique thing about cast iron cookware. If taken care of properly, they only get better with age.Cast iron is a durable and healthy choice for someone looking for non-stick cookware. Not only does it last FOREVER, but small amounts of iron leach into your food during the cooking process (especially with acidic dishes, i.e. tomato based dishes, etc.).  While iron is an important nutrient essential for everyone, it is especially important for women of childbearing age (especially those pregnant or nursing), babies and children, and those with a history of anemia. Iron gained through food is utilized much more appropriately by your body than iron taken by supplements.I love my cast iron. So far I have the following pieces….

Maggie’s daughter – My grandmother

As you can see, I’m slightly obessed. But, I use them all. Anyone could buy me anything cast iron and I would “tickled pink” as my grandmother used to say. I love that cast iron will last forever, is easy to clean, and will improve my family’s diet. And each time I pull out a piece of my cookware I think of the generations of women that went before me that used the same thing 100 years ago. I remember Maggie. And I think of my grandmother. And those memories bring me joy.

Cast Iron Cleaning and Re-seasoning Tips: I’ve learned a few tricks as I’ve used my cast iron. Well used cast iron should be black and shiny. If the bottom of your cast iron skillet looks dull and gray you should re-season it. You can follow the manufacturers directions but when I just need to touch up bottom of a skillet I wipe the inside with a little bit of grease (animal fat works best) spreading it along the entire inside with a paper towel. You want a very thin layer – no puddle of oil. Then heat the skillet high heat for about 5 minutes. Put the lid on and let it sit until cooled. If you don’t have a lid for your skillet, then heat it longer and put it in a cold oven until it cools. You want it to hold it’s heat for a bit to cook on another layer to the bottom of the pan.

10″ Cast Iron Skillet

To clean your cast iron, use only hot water and a Nylon Pan Scraper. These little scrapers work wonders. You can scrub as hard as you want and it won’t damage the pan. Everything scrapes right off. They are great too for baking stones, casserole dishes or anything where you have cooked or baked on food (except for modern day non-stick pans, be gentle with those). Washing dishes is so much easier with these little scrapers. So, after your pan is scraped clean, wipe out with a washcloth, rinse with hot water and either dry thoroughly or heat on the stove until all the water has evaporated. You don’t want to leave any wet spots as sitting water will cause rust.I hope you come to love your cast iron cookware as much as I do! 🙂

P.S. I also love decorative cast iron. Here are a few pictures of it hanging around my apartment.

Cast iron grate attached to an old chimney

Cast iron trivets hanging on the wall

Cast iron trivet with red enamel

Crock Pot Cooking:

What’s my favorite cooking method after my cast iron skillets you ask? My Crock Pot. I have two crock pots actually and I use them all the time. They aren’t super big and that helps on storage space. And I think that having two smaller ones actually makes them more functional. One will often be cooking chicken with the intent of turning that delicious broth into homemade bullion cubes while the other is cooking side dishes or even herbal tinctures.

I love my little red crock pots.

I love my little red crock pots.

But one of my favorite things to cook in my crock pot is baked potatoes. I wash them, put them in whole with the skins on, add one cup of water (or enough to just cover the bottom of your crock pot if your crock pot is larger than mine), turn them on low and cook for about 3 hours. It’s easy and great in the summer because it doesn’t heat up the whole house with the oven. It works for sweet potatoes too. The sweet potato skins just peel right off. Mmm.

And my newest discovery – mashed potatoes in the crock pot. Peel the potatoes first and cook them according to the directions above. When they are done mash them up right in your crock pot and add your milk and butter or whatever you season your mashed potatoes with. It’s great for summer time because you don’t have to heat up the oven, or for those holiday meals where you need to start cooking some things ahead so that you have enough stove burners for everything else at mealtime.

And here is my favorite crock pot cookbook. The Rival Crock Pot Slow Cooker Recipes (see Disclosure page here). First off, it’s a board book if you can believe it. It’s little and cute and because all the pages are laminated I have all my notes and substitutions written in fine-tip permanent marker in the margins which is helpful when I come back to it and forget what I did before. And the recipes are ones that I would actually make and most of them are throw in the crock pot types. I avoid the ones where you have to cook all the ingredients first and then put them in the crock pot. The end product may taste good, but it’s not very time saving to have to cook everything first and then clean up all the pots and pans on top of it. It’s cute and cheap and I highly recommend it. And the food is good too.

Articles on Crock Pot Cooking:

Baked and Mashed Potatoes
Sausage Stew
Crock Pot Cooking Tips

2 thoughts on “Cookstove

  1. Pingback: Cast Iron Cleaning and Re-seasoning tips « Maggie Lane

  2. Thank you, thank you for all the cast iron tips! I have several pieces, but don’t use them as much as I’d like, mostly because I don’t know how to properly care for them.

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