Friday, January 15, 2010


Grab a skillet!

Among many of the iron skillet's wonderful attributes is it's ability to infuse iron into your food, and therefore your diet. This is a good thing since it's obviously something that our bodies need, right? Just check out the vitamin and supplement aisle the next time you're at the grocery store.

I have two and use them all. the. time. I got the largest one first. After I had just turned 19, I was planning on moving out of state to go to school. I would be sharing an apartment with 4 other girlfriends and needed to acquire some things of my own to take with me. At this same time my cousin was getting married and he and his fiance were buying his grandmother's little house. She was moving out, but left a house full of decades worth of treasures behind. Richie and Lisa decided the best way to handle this was to have a yard sale.

As they were setting up for their sale, I went over to see if they had anything I could use. That's when I spotted it - a beautiful, old, perfectly seasoned iron skillet. I didn't think that Lisa knew the treasure that she was getting ready to let go of. So I told her. "Lisa, you don't want to get rid of this iron skillet. It's already seasoned and everything. They last forever." To which she replied, "I will NEVER cook with that thing. Just take it. You can have it." I couldn't believe what I just heard. My mind could not comprehend that someone would get rid of an iron skillet. It still can't. So, I have been using Granny Lula's iron skillet for the past 16 years and I don't know how long she used it or whether or not she inherited it as well. What I do know is that it has served me well.

Sometimes I don't need that large of a pan when I cook though. Enter the perfectly sized smaller skillet that I picked up at a barn sale a few years ago for just a few bucks. It was already seasoned as well.

The beauty of the iron skillet is that it only gets better with time and usage - unlike my other multiple sets of non-stick cookware that has repeatedly disappointed me with their false claims and "life-time guarantees". My iron skillets are sturdy, steady, faithful and true. With love and care these babies really do last a lifetime. Actually, a well-loved iron skillet will outlive us all.

If space is at a premium in your kitchen - this is the one pan to have. It can fry chicken, make pancakes, omelets, the best cornbread you'll ever eat, steak, home fries, gravy, biscuits and even dessert. It needs very little oil once it's seasoned well. And clean-up is a breeze.

I rarely ever use soap on my iron skillets. Soap can remove that precious seasoning that has taken a long time to acquire. A quick rub with a nylon scrubby under running water is all they really need. Sometimes, (like when I make cornbread) wiping them out with a dry paper towel is all that is necessary.

Occasionally they need to be re-seasoned. It's really very simple to do. Just wipe it down (inside and out) with a paper towel coated in oil. Give a generous coating. Then pop it in a 300 degree oven for 2 or 3 hours. Then wipe off the extra oil after it's cooled down. Seasoning a skillet gets oil into the pores of the iron, sealing it and giving it a smooth invisible coating.

If you spot one at a yard sale - grab it. Even if it is covered in rust and gunk it can be restored quite simply (as long as the metal isn't cracked). Just take some steel wool to it until the rust is removed and then re-season it several times. I do hope you'll rethink the practicality of an iron skillet and blow the dust off one that hasn't been cooked in for quite a while. It will serve you well and bless your body with the iron it needs in the process.

Happy Homemaking!

1 comment:

Jessiamma said...

I had absolutely no idea about the benefits of an iron skillet. I have 2 in my pantry that were handed down by my Granny. I never knew about seasoning and I have always washed with soap. No more!

Thanks so much for this informative post.