We may be biased, but the fact remains that cast iron is the best cookware to use when you want to make tasty, healthy meals. It's not only highly versatile and looks beautiful in your kitchen, but it's been tried and tested over centuries. Let's explore the benefits of cooking with cast iron and find out why it's superior to modern cookware.
What are the benefits of cast iron cookware?
Quick and even cooking
Thick, high-quality cast iron is an excellent conductor of heat, meaning your cookware gets hot and stays hot, with the heat dissipated across the entire surface. So, whether you're using a cast iron griddle or skillet, even temperature is maintained throughout the cooking process, giving you total control over speed and browning. Other materials, such as stainless steel, or chemically coated non-stick aluminium, can suffer from heat fluctuations that cause uneven cooking. Although they might be easier to look after, modern pans tend to skimp on materials to save production cost, meaning they are often too thin. The heat doesn't properly dissipate, and your food easily burns.
That unmistakable 'char'
There's plenty of science to explain why properly browned food tastes better, but we like to simply say that 'the flavour's in the char'. Cast iron cookware is legendary for its ability to deliver those iconic char marks and flavour to steaks, fish and vegetables. It's all thanks to the thickness and density of the material – a feature that is simply missing in other types of cookware.
Coatings that are applied to other types of cookware often contain chemicals to achieve non-stick abilities. Not only can these coatings be highly polluting during manufacture, they also deteriorate through use and end up in your food. Seasoned cast iron, however, has no coating, enamelling or finish – aside from the light layer of natural oil used to season it. This means nothing artificial gets transferred to your food when cooking.
Fortified with iron
It's a little-known benefit, but cast iron cookware actually imparts a tiny amount (trace) of natural iron to your food every time you use it. The Journal of Ecology of Food and Nutrition found that cast iron cookware improved the nutritional iron status of vegetarians thought to be deficient in iron.
Versatile & efficient cookware
Cast iron is one of the most versatile cookware materials. It's suitable for any heat source and you can use any cooking utensils, even metal. Whether gas hob, halogen, electric, induction or open-fire barbecue, cast iron just delivers the heat. It's also highly energy efficient, which is incredibly important as we all look to reduce our energy consumption. Our cast iron cookware is made from 100% recycled materials and is entirely recyclable, so it's sustainable too!
An enduring classic
Cast iron cookware is a heritage item. Our pans are made to be passed from one generation to another – a legacy you can leave behind. One day in the future, someone will say "my great-grandma cooked on this griddle". As long as it is properly cared for, a cast iron pan will look as good, and cook just as well, as the day it was made. Because caring for cast iron cookware includes occasionally re-seasoning, it won't rust, helping it endures throughout a lifetime.
Elevate your cooking
Cast iron griddle:
There's nothing like cooking on cast iron. The ribbed side of a griddle achieves that unmistakable charred look and taste that elevates the flavour of foods like steak, kebabs, chicken, fish and vegetables. This is only intensified by using one on a barbecue, where you can really achieve really high temperatures. And because a griddle's grill bars are raised, fat drains away from the cooking surface, giving you healthier, leaner food. Simply flip over Emba's reversible griddle, and you'll find the smooth side – great for cooking pancakes, drop scones or the perfect sunny side-up egg.
Cast iron skillet:
The one item no serious home cook should be without? A cast iron skillet. It's simply a vastly superior version of a frying pan. Thanks to its ability to cook evenly, you can make a complete meal in it, from the likes of a full English breakfast to a classic French fricassee. And as it can be taken straight from the heat (or oven) to the table, so makes for fantastic presentation too. Just like the griddle, a cast iron skillet offers a healthier alternative to a traditional frying pans as it requires less oil and less cooking time.
Easy to clean
Despite what you may have heard about cleaning cast iron, it's actually pretty simple. At the end of a family meal or special occasion, simply hand-wash your cookware in hot water, or if it's really dirty, in warm water with a drop of washing up liquid. Lightly scrub, then rinse with water and dry on the hob. Once thoroughly dry, give it a light coating of oil and put it away until next time. You'll leave the kitchen reassured that you are preserving your cookware for generations to come.