What is Preseasoned Cast Iron Cookware?
Preseasoned cast iron cookware? Surely that must be a dream, right? Cooking with cast iron means you must first spend time applying oil and heating your pan properly in the oven to season it. Many meals must be cooked in a cast iron pan to create that black, nonstick surface that is the goal of every cast iron aficionado. Right?
While that once was true, you can now get high quality preseasoned cast iron cookware that is ready to use right out of the box. Manufacturers have found a method of applying a vegetable oil electrostatic spray to the cast iron pans and then they are subjected to a high temperature gas oven to create a layer of seasoning and that wonderful black patina that we all strive for. The preseasoning covers every inch of surface area, so your pan already has the beginnings of a cooking surface.
The beauty of cast iron cookware is its even heating, its heat retention and its natural nonstick surface. That nonstick surface is usually the result of years of constant use. The preseasoned cookware allows you to achieve that natural nonstick surface with less effort, at least initially, on your part.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Preseasoned cast iron has been highly recommended by Cooks Illustrated magazine as a healthy alternative to nonstick cookware that may release unhealthy fumes at high temperatures. Cast iron can handle high temperatures without a problem. Preseasoned cookware comes in a wide variety of options, from traditional Dutch ovens and skillets to more unusual woks and smoke boxes.
Some people have said that the preseasoned layer is too thin, or that it seemed to flake off after cooking a few meals. Of course, you can treat your preseasoned pan just like a bare pan and season it again when you take it out of the box.
If you notice flaking and peeling later on, you should work on removing the loose seasoning and then reseason the pan, just like you would in any other cast iron pan that needed it.
Cost also plays a part in this. Preseasoned cast iron will be slightly more expensive than unseasoned cast iron. For example, a small, unseasoned skillet may go for $18, while the same size already preseasoned may go for $24. Granted, this isn't a big difference for most people, but if you find you're more critical of preseasoning than the next person, you may be a bit upset that you could have saved $5.
Companies that Make Preseasoned CookwareThere are several cast iron cookware makers of preseasoned cast iron cookware. If you search online, you'll be able to find several more than if you just check out your local shops.
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