As you start your Thanksgiving preparations, don’t forget about those old cast iron skillets you found in the attic! They are much safer than non-stick cookware, and when seasoned properly, cast iron pans are as nonstick as other coated pans. Conventional non-stick pans can off-gas toxic fumes over high heat. Even if the pans have labels claiming “green” or “not non-stick”, chances are they are still coated with toxic chemicals; manufacturers do not have to release their safety data.
Cast iron pans have other benefits too. They are an ideal heat conductor, cook evenly and consistently, and are better able to withstand high heat. They go easily from stove to oven, don’t warp and are easy to clean. Simply wash with a mild detergent and dry thoroughly. Foods cooked in a cast iron pan also absorb iron, a valuable mineral that the body needs to produce red blood cells.
To season your cast iron pan, brush the surface evenly with a vegetable oil; bake in a 350-degree oven for an hour, then cool in the oven. Repeat occasionally and your cast iron pans will last for generations. In fact, they will just get better with age. You can purchase new ones pre-seasoned and ready-to-use however.
If you don’t have any cast iron pans (but hoping to get some for Christmas) and are still using non-stick pans, follow these simple tips to reduce the possibility of toxic fumes:
• Never heat an empty pan
• Don’t put it in an oven hotter than 500 degrees
• Use your exhaust fan over the stove
Oven safe glass and stainless steel are other safe alternatives to non-stick pans.
Be greener this Thanksgiving. Click here for more green holiday ideas.
Enjoy your family and friends this Thanksgiving and remember this Native American saying, “Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.”
Information compiled from ewg.org.
For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.