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Glossary

Cast iron

The most important properties of cast iron are its heat retention and even heat distribution. The equal distribution of heat eliminates hot spots, allowing you to cook the most delicate dishes, while preserving the natural flavors of the food. Considered to be a precision tool to many professional chefs, this material is a common choice for browning, stewing, baking, frying foods and also great for conducting long-cooking stews. It is also very durable. When properly cared for, it will last for generations.

Cast iron cookware is produced in a sand-cast process. Quality cast iron requires sand molds made under high pressure so that their shapes can be precisely controlled. In addition to careful attention to the metal used in cast iron, the manufacturer must also control the components of the sand, which include clay and water. Patterns are presed into the sand and the molten iron is poured into the resulting cavity. As the iron cools to its solid state and becomes a cooking utensil, the sand mold is broken apart. The sand is cleaned off the cookware and it is then smoothed and packed for shipment.

Characteristics include:

  • Very efficient at distributing and retaining heat
  • Incredibly durable, if properly cared for

Best uses include browning, frying, searing, stewing, simmering and baking.