First off, if you doubt your decision to buy cast iron, don’t! There are many benefits of cast iron cookware, making it the best choice for you and your kitchen.
Easy to use: All Fresh Australian Kitchen cast iron cookware comes pre-seasoned and ready to use. And despite what you may have heard, cleaning, re-seasoning and general care of cast iron cookware is much easier than you think... more on this further down.
Naturally non-stick: Once seasoned, cast iron has a non-toxic non-stick layer. It's the healthy option to chemically engineered non-stick pans like Teflon.
Even heat: Cast iron is an excellent heat conductor. And the thick, sturdy bases of all Fresh Australian Kitchen cast iron products also ensure that heat is distributed evenly.
With cast iron, gone are the days of cooking with an annoying hot spot in the middle of your frying pan - your food will cook evenly all over the skillet. And the high heat levels that you can use cast iron at mean that you'll get the best sear or crust on your food too - hello added flavour!
Versatile: Fry your bacon on the stove, bake your pizza in the oven, fry your onions on the barbecue and take your cast iron skillet on your next camping trip. You can’t do that with artificial non-stick surfaces or pans with plastic handles! As a one-piece of forged iron, cast iron cookware can withstand high heat and be used in basically any cooking situation... including induction stovetops.
Durable: Cast iron cookware will last a lifetime with just a little bit of TLC. It's virtually indestructible and you can use metal utensils in it as well.
2. Selecting Cast Iron Cookware
The best cast iron cookware is heavy, and you want to ensure you’re getting authentic cast iron. There are imitations out there, so beware the lightweight skillet! Fresh Australian Kitchen only produces authentic cast iron cookware.
Once you know you have an authentic product, your choice is more about size and style. A good, basic, starter cast iron is a 10-inch or 25-centimetre skillet. You can do a lot with a skillet this size and you’ll get used to cooking with cast iron – or get re-acquainted with how cooking should be!
If you’d like something a little bigger, or want to add a second skillet, you can look at a 12-inch or 30-centimetre skillet, which has an extra handle to make it easier to lift its extra size, depth and weight.
Fresh Australian Kitchen is a small, family business that sells quality cast iron cookware with a lifetime guarantee when your product is registered within 21 days of purchase. Our 25- and 30-centimetre skillets are fully cast iron, including the handles, and have pouring lips to limit spills.
You can then decide to expand your collection beyond skillets. Choose a square grill pan, which features ridges to wick fat away and provide sear marks on your food. Or, go even bigger with a reversible double burner griddle or a 5.2-litre Dutch oven. The griddle is perfect for pancakes, meat or veggies over the stove, BBQ or camp fire. And the Dutch oven's lid doubles as a skillet for added versatility - stews are very popular in a Dutch oven.
Once you use cast iron, you won’t want to cook with anything else.
3. Seasoning Cast Iron Cookware
You’ve probably heard that when you first receive your cast iron, you need to season the product before using it. Seasoning is accomplished by oiling the pan and then heating it above smoking point, cooking the oil onto the surface and creating the natural non-stick finish. You can read our in-depth guide to seasoning here.
But some cast iron, like Fresh Australian Kitchen’s, comes pre-seasoned, meaning you can use it without seasoning first. It's ready to go! But re-seasoning should still be done later on - after multiple uses, when you notice the non-stick quality isn’t what it used to be, or, if you notice any rust appearing if it hasn't been dried.
So here’s how to season your cast iron cookware...
Hand-wash your pan thoroughly with warm water. Soap can be used but it’s not really necessary. Do not put cast iron in the dishwasher.
Dry the pan completely, placing it in the oven or on the stovetop for best results.
Wipe the pan inside and out with an edible vegetable, seed or nut oil that has a high smoke point. A teaspoon will usually do, because you want a thin layer of oil. Wipe away any excess oil.
Bake the pan for at least one hour on the highest heat setting of your oven, at least 260 degrees celsius. Turn the oven off and let the pan sit another two hours to cool down so you're then able to handle it safely. Leave it in the oven to cool.
If your pan does happen to develop rust over time, mix a solution of salt and oil, rub it in the pan, and rinse it in warm water. Then follow the seasoning instructions above and your cast iron pan will be like new again! Easy.
4. Cooking With Cast Iron Cookware
There really are no limits to cooking with cast iron.
Here are some examples to whet your appetite:
Bacon: You can’t go wrong with bacon cooked in any manner, but cast iron is superior for frying perfect bacon, cooked evenly throughout, and the fat is actually good for the pan.
Steak: The perfect steak needs high heat and even heat distribution. The best cast iron cookware will deliver the best steak. See our article How To Cook The Perfect Steak Every Time for more information.
Eggs: There’s no substitute for the flavour of eggs fried in cast iron. You can even put your frittata, in the skillet, into the oven to get that golden finish on top.
We could go on and on... searing, baking, grilling, frying, braising... you can do it all in cast iron.
As you get more comfortable with your cast iron, you can experiment with a multitude of meals done in a variety of ways.
5. Caring For Cast Iron Cookware
There isn’t much to it when it comes to caring for your cast iron...
Clean it properly
Dry it thoroughly
Use it often
Avoid too many acidic foods
Re-season when needed
Use a gentle brush or scrubber when hand washing in the sink. You don’t need to use soap when cleaning, but if you feel you should, limit the amount. And don’t scrape or scratch the pan too much when cleaning to avoid reducing the effectiveness of the non-stick layer.
Immediately after washing your cast iron cookware, you must dry it properly. Cast iron left unattended may rust... but if it does, as mentioned earlier, it's easy to restore!
It’s also a good idea to wash it soon after cooking, and not let it soak in water and definitely do not put it in the dishwasher. In fact, if you wash it while it’s still warm, it will be even easier to clean.
When it comes to cast iron non-stick, use it or lose it! Cooking regularly will help to sustain and even build on its natural non-stick layer. Just avoid cooking with too many acidic foods too often, as the acid in the food can sometimes affect the non-stick layer.
And unlike other cookware materials, metal utensils are fine to use in cast iron when you're cooking. The tough nature and durability of cast iron is quite unbeatable.
Repeat the seasoning process if you notice that your skillet's non-stick property isn’t as effective as it used to be. Or use a seasoning hack like washing it, rubbing it with oil while still wet and drying it on the stovetop. This can be done between seasoning treatments to keep your cast iron in great shape.
By following these few simple steps for cleaning and caring for your cast iron cookware, you'll have it for life! Now that's economical.
So there you have it - cast iron really isn't intimidating at all! It's actually superior in many ways to other cookware materials.
It's easy to use, naturally non-stick, heats evenly, retains heat and works well in high heat situations, it's extremely versatile, tough and will last you a lifetime.
And the bonus of Fresh Australian Kitchen's cast iron cookware is that it comes pre-seasoned and ready to cook with straight away. Not to mention, our prices are super competitive for a product that's just as good as the big, expensive brands.
We hope this 5-step guide to cast iron cookware has helped you to understand the myriad of benefits to cooking with our favourite cookware, cast iron.
What people are saying about us...
"Awesome quality, and a great price. So far used this 10 times, and it's been perfect every time. Put a beautiful sear on my steaks, crisped up the base of my pizzas, and made a beautiful dutch baby to the delight of my partner who'd never tried one. Works just as well as the Lodge pan I owned (don't drop them onto tiles) at half the price." — Toby E.
"Excellent cast iron. Very good value exactly the same as expensive cast iron." — Linda F.
Pre-Seasoned 30cm Cast Iron Skillet Frying Pan
Pre-Seasoned 25cm Cast Iron Skillet Frying Pan
Pre-Seasoned 5.2L Cast Iron Double Dutch Oven
Pre-Seasoned 28cm Square Cast Iron Grill Skillet Frying Pan
Pre-Seasoned 26cm Square Cast Iron Grill Pan
Pre-Seasoned 51x26cm Cast Iron Reversible Double Burner Griddle