The world of cast iron cookware may seem confusing and daunting, but the team here at Sauvage Urbain are here to help! To break it down, there are 3 main types of cast iron; raw, pre-seasoned, and enamel coated.
Raw cast iron means that there is no coating created on the surface and needs to be ‘seasoned’ to protect your cast iron from rusting and deteriorating, as well as increasing flavour while you’re cooking! To season your cast iron, the cookware needs to be coated in a layer of oil (instructions here) and heated to beyond its smoking point. Heating it to this level changes the chemical structure of the oil, and creates a layer of polymerisation. This polymerisation changes the colour of your pan to a rich black, acts as a non-stick coating, as well as protect your pan from rust.
Pre-seasoned cast iron has already been treated and the polymerisation layer created. So you don’t need to worry about seasoning it yourself. Both of these options also will be become more non-stick with use as the polymerisation layer builds up over time, creating a slicker surface each time.
And last but not least, enamel coated cast iron, is simply cast iron with a layer of enamel on top. This protects the surface so that there is no risk of rusting, and also allows you to cook acidic foods that you would not be able to cook in your raw and pre-seasoned cast iron, such as tomatoes. Enamel coated cast iron is also great to use in the oven. Advantages of all cast iron cookware is that it stays hotter for longer, is easier to clean than stainless steel, and is super long lasting!