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The Frugal Homemaker - In The Kitchen - Cast Iron Cookware & Plastic

Updated on March 11, 2012
Cast Iron Pans In A Row
Cast Iron Pans In A Row

The Shabby Chic Kitchen

Shabby chic is also a general term which can be used to refer to a person who is stylish rather than fashionable, where their style reflects quality as opposed to newness. ~ Wikipedia

New is not always in style. I maintain an eclectic kitchen which makes it easy to incorporate the things we need to inspire healthy eating. I'm not big on appliances, they take up a lot of valuable kitchen real estate. I could live without most of them, but I prefer not to be without my Vitamix and dehydrator, the Kitchen Aid has also served us well, it would be hard to see it go. I've brought up two high end appliances that are not necessarily inexpensive unless you find a way to purchase them for less than the retail price. With patience, The Shopping Channel sells the Vitamix and Kitchen Aid mixer at the best price I've seen online. Costco is another great place to pick up either appliance. You can get a Kitchen Aid for under $300 and closer to $200 if you hang tight and wait for their in store manufacturer rebates, combining it with KitchenAid's frequent rebate offers.

The Wok
The Wok

Pots and Pans

Benefits Of Cast Iron

Cast Iron is always in fashion and by far the most durable cookware and bakeware you'll ever find. Since creating my first kitchen at the age of 18, I've always had cast Iron cookware something I have never had to replace for wear and tear. Cast iron pans are inexpensive, durable and non-stick if you season them properly. I have several fry pans in all sizes, a wok, griddle and dutch ovens that I use in my electric oven and woodcookstove. Most of my cast iron cookwear is hanging near the stoves for quick access.

Cast iron cookware distributes heat evenly, and has the best heat retention. I can move my cast iron pan from stove top to oven quickly and easily. Well seasoned pans require less oil for cooking because the surface becomes non-stick for most foods. Replacing Teflon coated pans is one of the healthiest things you can do for your family in the kitchen, cast iron solves this problem.

Seasoning Cast Iron

Wash your new cookware with a mild dish detergent and dry thoroughly. Coat your pan with organic vegetable oil, making sure to coat it evenly inside and out , including the handle. Place your cookware upside down in the oven at 400c and bake for 2 hours, letting the pan warm up with the oven and leave cool down in the oven. Store you cast iron cookware in a dry place, I have mine hanging near the stove which lets air circulate around them all the time. If your pan is brand spanking new I would recommend placing the seasoned pan in the oven a few more times when the opportunity arises. I put mine in the bottom or top rack, whatever is available when cooking or roasting other foods. Don't put it in while baking, as the increased heat of the cast iron pan might increase the temperature of your oven and affect your baking. Always keep your pans dry, use them often and with a few weeks you'll have a glass like shine that will become an excellent non-stick surface! Cooking with your cast iron continues the seasoning process.


Cast Iron is low maintenance when seasoned properly. Wash with a mild dish detergent and a low abrasive scouring pad, dry with a tea towel and store in the oven. Tip: If your pan is a sticky mess and your tempted to take a metal pot scrubber too it, STOP! Warm some water up in your pan and let cool, whatever you have glued to the pan will come off easily.


As far as I am aware, there is only on contraindication for using Cast Iron pans. If you or a family member have hemochromatosis then cast iron is not for you.

"Hemochromatosis is a disorder that causes your body to absorb too much iron from the food you eat. The excess iron is stored in your organs, especially the liver, heart and pancreas. Sometimes the stored iron damages these organs, leading to other serious medical conditions, such as cirrhosis, liver cancer, heart disease and diabetes. In most individuals who have the condition, hemochromatosis is a genetic illness. It's one of the most common genetic defects in people of Northern European ancestry" from the Mayo Clinic

Collection of Cast Iron
Collection of Cast Iron

Say Goodbye To Plastic

Time to rethink the way you store food. Plastic can go, for many good reasons. Buying throw away plastic wraps, plastic baggies, freezer bags, toss away plastic containers and bottled water is a bad and expensive habit, not only to your pocket book, but your health and the environment.

Plastic is expensive, and unnecessary. There are many reusable glass food storage container options available today.

Free storage options: When storing leftovers for use another day, simply place them in a bowl and cover with a plate. Use your unused casserole dishes with lids to store food in your fridge. Mason jars are another great way to store food in the fridge and freezer. You can't justify the need for the amount of plastic used in the kitchen these days. I don't own plastic drinking cups my toddler drinks from a glass or mug. We usually have a stainless mug or two kicking around for guests with small children who are not comfortable with their child drinking from a glass.

Think of all the food products we consuming that are packaged in plastic. I agree there is no getting away from it altogether, but controlling what you can is better than nothing. I've been called a hypocrite before because of my stand on plastic. People have said to me "Your computer monitor is encased in plastic, your telephone is plastic? Yes it is, and once again my goal is to reduce plastic consumption wherever I can especially when it concerns the food my family eats, something "IS" better than nothing.

Polycarbonate plastic, the hard rigid plastic is found in baby bottles, water bottles and reusable sport drinking bottles, BPA's are an endocrine-disruptor and is also used as a lining inside of cans.

"Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with endocrine (or hormone system) in animals, including humans. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders."~ Wikipedia

Government of Canada Acts to Protect Newborns and Infants from Bisphenol A in Polycarbonate Plastic Baby Bottles

Group Profile for Phthalates

October 2011

Potential health effects of concern. Some phthalates have been identified as potentially associated with reproductive and developmental effects2.

Plastic Containers Made with BPA Used in Food Preparation.

Do not put very hot or boiling liquid that you intend to consume in plastic containers made with BPA. BPA levels rise in food when containers/products made with the chemical are heated and come in contact with the food.

  • Discard all bottles with scratches, as these may harbor bacteria and, if BPA-containing, lead to greater release of BPA.

Please don't put plastic in a microwave oven!

Recycling Plastic:

As nobel a venture this may seem, recycling might actually pose more harm than good. During the last recession in our locality, there was a threat of no more recycling because the companies who recycle were building up a surplus of plastic materials they could not resell due to lack of market demand, not so altruistic anymore. Recycling Plastic is only helpful if there is reduction in the use of plastic to offset the use of resources used to recycle the plastic. Until we make substantial changes in our consumption of plastic, no amount of recycling will be a solution, if anything it may just boost our recycling egos and continue to create a false understanding of cause and effect for future generations.


Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    leelee66 5 years ago

    Cast iron is where its at:)

  • earthybirthymama profile image

    earthybirthymama 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Hi Srossjul,

    Great idea! You won't regret it.



  • srossjul profile image

    Julie S Ross 6 years ago from Irvine, California

    Fantastic Hub. I am going to buy my new cast iron pans soon. Thank you