pusang halaw wrote:Not to dispute our much respected Duke and others who love cast iron but I believe it's a nostalgia thing. The amount of BTUs required to get typical cast iron pans to ideal cooking temp is just ridiculous. Cast iron performs best in open wood fires (out in the frontier and when camping) and I'm pretty sure would work great in rocket style cookers and biochar retorts but not in typical home gas or electric ranges.
The crystalline atomic structure of glass cookware that allows rapid and efficient heat transfer also accounts for faster cooling - hence, a stable source of heat is required and turning the fire off and on while cooking isn't ideal for pyrex/corning pots and pans. We don't use electric stoves much here in southeast Asia so I wouldn't be able to comment on that but with corningware on my gas stove, I consume so little LPG as I'm able to back the flame down to almost a candle flicker (perhaps that's an exaggeration but I think you know what I mean).
Nicole Alderman wrote:Most people probably don't use cast iron that way--they turn their stove onto medium or high heat and then keep it on that setting until they're done cooking. If Dale's cooking is any indication, that's really not necessary at all. It might use the same--maybe even less--energy to cook Dale's way with cast iron, than it would to use pyrex or steel. And, heating a skillet and then turning it off isn't something you can probably do with a pyrex skillet--my pyrex cookware seems to cool down a lot faster than my cast iron. And, on an electric range like mine, the pyrex seems to cook more unevenly, verses cast iron or steel which conduct the heat better.
Again, I think this depends on your heat source. The way tempered glass transmits and conducts heat, long braises and stews can be accomplished faster and with less BTUs if heated properly - tenderizing a shank for Ossobuco doesn't take as long or require as high a flame on my corningware compared to when I use stainless steel pots (a traditional pressure cooker will certainly be faster than either though) . I wouldn't be surprised if it's different on an electric stove.
But for those dishes that cook for more than 5 minutes, a cast iron skillet might be the more energy-efficient choice.
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