Cast iron is one of the best types of cookware to use in everyday life. Even better, cast iron is a great cookware option to go for in a SHTF scenario. Cast iron is not the lightest but is sure worth it to bring. To survive you are going to need some way to cook. Having a cast iron pan gives you the ability to cook food and has much versatility as you will soon see.
Is Cast Iron Really Durable And Can It Withstand a SHTF Scenario?
If you have ever used cast iron you will know just how strong it is. It is very heavy duty, which does make it heavy, but it is worth it. You will not have to worry about it breaking on your journey or breaking during cooking. These pans do not even chip. The temperatures they can withstand is high, as well, making it perfect for direct flame on a campfire. Other pans cannot withstand such heat. A cast iron can safely, without burning the cure off, get to about 450-500°F. The temperature can go even higher without the cast iron being damaged except that the cure will burn off.
Better Tasting Food Or Is It Just a Myth?
Foods tend to taste better in a skillet. This may seem superficial in a doomsday scenario but it’s not. Good tasting food when in a bad situation is something that is actually very useful to boost spirits. If just by having better tasting food can push you to the next day it is worth it. The reasoning behind the better taste is thought to be the even distribution of heat when cooking.
Related: 7 Survival Foods Made by Soldiers During WWI
What Foods Can Cast Iron Pans Be Used For?
If brining a cast iron pan with you in a SHTF scenario is the only pan you bring, it is not a bad thing. Cast iron pans are normally deep enough to cook whatever you like. You could also choose to bring a Dutch oven with you instead. They are heavier but are more like a pot giving you the ability to make soups or stews. Whatever you choose, both are great for cooking whatever you desire.
Is Cast Iron Healthier Than Other Pans?
Another magical trait of cast iron is its health benefits. With cast iron you do not need to put oil on your pans if seasoned properly to begin with. This is one of the best characteristics about it because then you won’t have to have or pack any oil with you for the pan. Making it healthier for you as you will not have to consume a lot of butter.
Cast iron is also healthier than non-stick pans. The non-stick Teflon is not good at all! It releases harmful chemicals and if you breathe them in, can give you flu-like symptoms. Why take the risk, even if you are not in a SHTF scenario.
Iron And Its Impact On Your Health
To tie in with the health benefits, cast iron is a great source of iron. The body needs iron, and in a doomsday scenario you might not have access to foods. Iron is in foods like shellfish, spinach, liver, and pumpkin seeds. Most likely you would not have access to these foods and you certainly won’t be able to pick them up at a supermarket. Lack of iron would then lead you to getting iron deficiency anemia. Iron is really important for women, girls, and pregnant women as well.
A Pan With Another Special Use
It may seem ridiculous but cast iron pans make great weapons! They are really heavy duty, and could you imagine getting hit by one of those in the head! You probably will run out of ammo, if you have any at all, so you have to get creative with weapons to defend yourself.
How Long Do These Pans Last?
Cast irons last forever! This is what is great about them. The durability allows for you to never have to worry about breakage or it going bad. It would probably outlast any SHTF scenario.
Another benefit of cast iron is their inexpensiveness. This also very much depends on where you get them from. If you go through online or in store, the lowest cost to get them at is around $20. Sometimes they can go for even more money. The best place to get them is through yard sales, flea markets, and antique stores. You can normally get them for a couple bucks. Their use also makes them inexpensive in that they require little fuel. Whether you are in the woods or in your home when a bad situation is happening, conserving fuel is important. Cast iron is good with this as once you get the pans hot they hold onto the heat.
Clean Up Time
Cleaning these pans is so easy! You should never wash cast iron pans if you can avoid it. Washing the pan removes the seasoning, or the non-stick, making one of its best qualities obsolete. To clean, simply scrape off any residue. If it has a good seasoning, the food should not stick on it.
Are Cast Irons Pans Good With Holding Heat?
As mentioned earlier, cast iron holds heat extremely well. This is easily done by heating the pan as you would any other. Then once you get the pan going you can reduce the temperature you’re cooking at or take off the fire. Then the pan can continue cooking the food as the pan stays hot for a while. This works really well with the Dutch ovens.
How To Season Cast Iron Pans?
Seasoning the pan is important to do as it is what keeps the cast iron pan non-stick. It is something that should be done before a SHTF scenario as well so that you are fully prepared when you need to go. To do so, you first need to wash the pan. Then dry the pan very good so there is no moisture. Then apply an oil such as vegetable oil or shortening that is melted. Put it in your oven at a temperature of 375°F and leave the pan in for an hour. Shut off the oven and leave it in there till it cools.
Even with the weight of the cast iron, it is totally worth it to carry with you. Having something to cook on is a necessity if you want a more long-term survival plan. Also, whatever you destination is, to be in a survival situation, there is no reason you couldn’t leave the cast iron there. That way you would not have to carry it on your journey. Whatever the path you take or whatever decisions you make, choose a cast iron pan!
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When you buy a Dutch Oven cast iron pan look at the lid if it does not have a lip that will hold coals on top of the lid it is not a true Dutch Oven it is a Food Network knock off.
Also you want the kind that has small legs on the bottom. Not the flat bottom ones for modern cooking.
Not necessarily true. I have two Lodge Dutch ovens. One with a lip around the lid and legs on the bottom for use while camping, and one with neither.
I have both kinds also and while I use both in the field camping the one with legs is more convenient. The flat bottom one tends to crush coals from the fire although it works fine on charcoal.
no lip and no legs,,,, it’s a bean pot
Didn’t read the article because I don’t know what SHFT is. Usually you tell people what it stands for the first time you use it.
Should be SHTF which stands for fecal matter colliding with the rotating cooling device.
Very common abbreviation in prepper circles.
Hey, Claude, maybe an article with common prepper abbreviations for new people joining your list.
Hi, Chuck. A list of common prepper abbreviations sounds like a great idea. With the state of the world right now, a lot more people are getting interested in prepping; we should be welcoming to these people, not scaring them off with a load of jargon.
SHTF is all these articles always. Shit Hits The Fan!
Shit Hits The Fan !
Shit Hit The Fan
If you don’t know what SHTF is, you don’t belong on this web site.
So WHO does belong? Think about your comment. Everybody learns, nobody is born with knowledge.
Allow him to comment and participate. Besides, nobody learns anything by being slammed or run off. Now he knows the stupid term, so I guess he belongs then.
Have to agree with your comment, Frank. The only dumb question is the one you don’t ask. We can’t all be savants in every field. Some of us have not had the education in vulgarity that others of us have had. For instance, in some circles there is only one adjective. I am sure many can guess what adjective that is. Some who have led a more sheltered life cannot possibly guess what that adjective is. They should not be castigated because they have not been exposed to those social circles for whom that is the only adjective they know.
I used to tell my employees that there was no dumb question unless they didn’t ask it. Then it became dumb. If they didn’t know it was part of my job to teach them and so they should always ask a question even if it seemed dumb to them. I would rather they ask than to proceed on what they thought might be meant.
Same with prepping. “Should I boil the water or it is okay if it is just hot?”
You might think, “Sheeze! Where has this numbskull been?”
But if he doesn’t ask and you drink the water that was merely hot instead of boiled, the consequences might well be the “bloody flux.”
Dumb question? Not in my book. I want to see the water so hot that big bubbles come up from the bottom of the pot. Glad you asked and we got that straight.
The only argument I have with James’ question is his comment that because he didn’t understand the acronym he didn’t read the article. Well, that is wrong on his part too. He could have read the article and gotten the valuable information that was contained therein about cast iron cookware and had his knowledge base enriched without ever knowing what SHTF means. That acronym was not essential to understanding the article. His comment seems a little petulant to me. So my comment to James is: Seize knowledge wherever you find it. You never know when that little gem of information will win you a million dollars or save the life of your family.
100% agree Frank
REMEMBER– A person does NOT learn by running their mouth– They do learn by LISTENING ( Reading) and it is up to all of us to help them – Like the Prepper website- There is a lot I still do not know – Like catching and skinning all the Stray ferrel cats (KIDDING) they will be needed for rat control
It’s SHTF and it stands for “Shit Hits The Fan”
Well you read what it means. Personally I don’t like the phrase. It should be “an SHFT” not “a” which to me is awkward. But then you would not say ” an shit hits… ” as that would be awkward and gramatically wrong.
I don’t like the term in general because very few of us will probably ever be in a crisis that one can call apocalyptic or claim as doomsday. To me that means Nuclear War, another Ice Age or something that really devastates the world.
We’re not all “Doomsday Preppers” as the show by that name suggests. Most of us are just prepared for emergencies…. from minor to very, very big ones. LOL
Well, Frank, I don’t know whether having your home burned to the ground with all it contents inside constitutes a SHTF event or not. I suspect if you don’t think that qualifies there are 700 families in my town who might disagree with you.
There is an old saying my grandmother used to use, “It all depends upon whose ox is being gored.”
You might respond by saying, “Oh well, you probably are covered by insurance.”
Sure, and the insurance company says, “The policy provides that you will be reimbursed for contents loss by providing us with evidence of date of purchase and purchase price of the item claimed per the provisions in your insurance policy. No sales slip, no reimbursement. Oh, and by the way, the reimbursement will be for the present market value of used goods, not the purchase price, unless you purchased the much more expensive present cost reimbursement rider.”
“What? You mean all our clothes that burned up we are not going to be reimbursed for unless we can provide sales slips for all of it?
Some insurance companies said, “We will pay policy limits on contents loss. No need to provide us with a shoebox full of receipts. We know the contents far exceeded the value of your contents coverage and with the house burned to the ground there probably is no way you could prove purchase price.”
Other companies said, “Nope. That’s the way the policy reads and that’s the way we are going to do it. No receipts because they were all burned up in the fire? Gee, that’s a shame.”
Now, is that a SHTF situation? Perhaps, perhaps not. I guess it depends upon whose ox is being gored.
Chuck, your well thought out kind responses are always helpful. Not just the information relayed, but your wording even feels calming and welcoming. I have read many of your posts on several subjects of SHTF situations. Your wisdom, knowledge, and guidance are greatly appreciated. Thank you sir.
I personally think the nuke deal is on and very likely another Ice Age because of the global warming hysteria. My brother had me read a book were the core drilled around the Black Sea and off S. America And they foujnd that both places had been fresh water beaches before the 9-10 thousand year ago thawing from the last ice age!
God likes to show us a slider to keep us on our toes! That’s my SHTF only it’s more SSAAAFU (Vietnam) OR MAYBE FUBAR (WWII)
SHTF= shit hits the fan
Sh-t Hits The Fan = SHTF
If you dont know what SHTF means, then you’re one of the sheep that will the Darwin award. Look THAT up!
S#*t hits the fan =
Your story says cast iron pans last forever well that is true within reason, they can be destroyed if you are careless with them.
When seasoning your pan you do not want to take it out of the hot oven right away but let it cool down slowly, should you try to cool it too fast, it will warp or worse, crack in half.
Same goes for cleaning these pans, don’t throw water in them just after using them over an open fire to try and clean it or let them soak. Also, never use anything abrasive such as sand or salt when it is time to clean them, its better to boil water in them, dump the water out then wipe it clean with a clean rag.
After cleaning, warm the pan up a bit and recoat with a thin layer of oil, your cast iron pan will thank you with many years of service.
There is a stainless steel pad that advertises that it is especially created for cleaning cast iron cookware and many “outdoors” articles that I have read espouse cleaning your cast iron cookware with a handful of sand. Is it your contention that one should not use the stainless steel pad or a handful of sane to clean cast iron cookware?
I’m not saying that you are wrong, I am just wondering because of the contrary advice that I have read numerous times and the stainless pad that advertises that one of its uses is specifically to clean cast iron cookware. Is that kind of like “Moss always grows on the north side of trees”? Or to quote Mr. Goebbels, “A monstrous lie told often enough becomes a truth.”
If one says that sand is an excellent medium for cleaning cast iron cookware enough times it becomes a truth?
By the way I should say that is a paraphrase of Herr Goebbels’ comment, not his exact words.
I would not use the stainless steel scrubber thing or any abrasive such as sand or salt. The reason being it will scratch your coating and you will have to re-season the pan more often, I’d go with boiling water and a wooden spoon to help remove any stuck on bits, then dry the pan and lightly oil it.
Yeah, leave the cast iron pan on the fire and walk away and forget that it is on the fire and see what happens to the pan.
Please don’t ask me how I know this.
I appreciated your instructions on how to clean cast iron. I didn’t grow up using cast iron pans but have been using them almost exclusively since moving to the country a few years ago. I’ve been collecting old pans at estate sales and am trying to figure out the best way to clean and re-season them. Any advice?
I got some old dutch ovens that had not been cared for when my son was in BSA. We took a wire brush head attached to a hand drill and cleaned the ovens till they were shining like new. After that they had to be reseasoned. Wiped with oil and placed in oven at 350F for an hour then allowed to cool in oven. That was fifteen years ago and the last time I checked the troop was still using them.
I have a round cast iron griddle that came from a gr8 gr8 grandmother. It was given to my grandmother when she married in 189. It still cooks great and looks new but well seasoned. I’ve never reseasoned it like I have a few skillets.
I have Dutch ovens with and without rims and legs. I use the ones without for home cooking and those with rims and legs for camping or outdoor cooking.
My skillets belonged to Mom and Grandma before me. Still in daily use. I bought a larger dutch oven from a swap meet. It will be reseasoned to go with my outdoor kitchen.
Glad to see the article and love my cast iron cookware.
I have to agree with the enhanced flavor. Using a Dutch oven creates a convection oven effect and just cooks food better and brings out flavor of the recipe. Did hamburgers in one over a camp fire and they were wonderful.
If you like kidney beans (red, pink, black, large or small) they cook beautifully in those cast aluminum pots. They’re much lighter, but they hold and disperse heat very well.
Besides actual iron pots, I would grab a couple of them to make rice and beans or soups. They’re very popular among Latin people and sold in spanish food stores.
I just realized, I had burgers for dinner cooked on a cast iron grill. They were damn good.
These pans will break if fractured because of a very strong earthquake. Know hard time, big time, try San Francisco Earthquake of 80’s. However for durability? The pan that fractured was my Great Grandmothers Tortilla pan. Also, went across county to relocate. I took 3 cast iron (2 egg size, chili pan skillet and tortilla), and one saucepan for other things, boiling water, steaming veggies. These pans were used in the oven, under the broiler and in a camp. Cooked every meal of many countries (my minimum spice rack is 18 seeds, leaves, bark and flower) without fail.
I have cooked with a cast iron skillet and Dutch oven for years. They are part of my SHTF equipment. The skillet makes the best steak you will ever eat. Brown both sides at high temp then into the oven at 350 for 15 minutes and out comes a juicy flavorful steak with a crunchy seared surface. The Dutch oven will cook anything. Invert the lid, set it on some coals and you have a fry pan. You can bake biscuits, bread, cakes, soups, stews, cobblers, the list is endless. It’s heavy but worth every ounce.
My son’s girlfriend owns a restaurant and that’s the way she cooks steaks at home. They are outstanding.
eating a fat steak cooked in a cast iron pan as I read this LOL
no mention about the possible health danger of using one of those Chinese knockoffs – more scrap used than virgin ore and God only knows what the Chinese will toss into a furnace melt …
for quality overall stick with a brand name US made ….
Don’t use Aluminum anything. It causes cancer and Alzheimer’s . The Aluminum leaches out. I love Cast Iron pots and pans.
I LOVE my cast iron! I cook every thing from apple pie to rattle snake in them! If I go..they go with me.
Some of my pans are over 50 yrs old. I have bought some at junk stores, yard sale’s, and a few of them new.
Thanks for a great article.
Very interesting article, but sad to learn that my beloved Revere Ware will probably not stand up to a direct wood flame. *sob!*
I own many and a large variety of cast iron cookware. No lodge-ware in the group. It is all Wagner and exceptionally well aged and great for cooking. In a bug out scenario I will take only 2 pieces with me, an 8″ skillet and a pancake griddle that covers the skillet. You guessed it, those 2 pieces will cook and bake almost everything. The other pieces I have at home just make it easier but in a bug out situation those two are my go to cooking pans. I have a set just for my camping trips and I eat like a King.
Learn how to cook on a bed of wood coals and how to build proper cooking fire pits and you can also eat like a King. Practice makes the real bug out situation a little less scary. I live in Tornado country so bug out happens. Yes, I keep the essentials safe and sound. You learn from experience.
I have been using cast iron cookware since I left the nest 60 years ago. I can’t imagine using any other pans. Stainless steel for pots and pressure cookers. I wouldn’t take cast iron on hiking trip although it is a comfort to find cast iron pans in open remote cabins high above tree line. That is a testament to cast iron longevity. You don’t have to convince me. I have been using cast iron all my life.
Best camp cooking pan I ever saw was a wok. You need the ring for it, to sit it in, but it’s not vital. They pack easy, and you have a deep bowl to fry in, to boil, and make a stew. The wok was invented by cooks in nomadic bands and is lighter than most cast iron pots.. niio
When seasoning cast iron wipe a thin layer of oil or shortening on entire piece inside, outside, and handle. Wipe off excess. Place upside down on top rack of preheated oven with aluminum foil on bottom rack to catch any drips. Times and temps above are good.
Coconut oil is excellent for seasoning cast iron. Vegetable oil will leave a sticky residue in the pan.
To season a cast iron pan: Use unsweetened, shredded coconut. Be careful it doesn’t scorch. When coconut is browned, remove from pan, wipe pan clean, make coconut custard pie with toasted coconut or use to coat jumbo marshmallows. niio
I use either bacon fat or grass fed butter for my cast iron. I no longer need to do anything other than wipe it out as I season after every use. (put the butter or bacon fat in a spread around, I don’t do the heat thing after about the first 10 times or so of a new or “new” pan.
Cast iron is great for keeping food warm since it holds heat for a considerable length of time. Thats why i like it very much.
You can wash cast iron as mentioned by others, just don’t soak it. Seasoning is resilient.
Cast iron does not add a significant amount of iron to be beneficial especially when seasoned even with acidic sauces simmering. It has been tested even recently by America’s Test Kitchen.
Sorry guys, i once cracked a skillet in half. Was making lunch(?) phone rang, forgot. It was smoking when i got back, took it out on the concrete patio. Came back to two pieces. Learned my lesson, never again. Treat it with respect. Only thing in my kitchen is cast iron or stainless steel pans. Best place to look for those is thrift shop, they don’t usually know what it is.
I season my cast iron with bacon grease – it creates a thicker carbonized surface than vegetable oil.
My favorite way to season a dutch oven/fry pot/ something with a lid is to make popcorn in it. A splash of oil and 3 kernels, crank up on high till the 3 kernels pop, pour in more kernels (1/4c -1/2c depending on size) and give it a shake. let pop till you you can count to 5 between pops. turn off heat and carefully take off the lid. you may get an extra pop or two. Pour into a bowl and let the dutch oven cool. add salt and butter if desired (or garlic powder, or cajun seasoning, or…)
No fancy popcorn spinner or microwave needed.
Repeat as needed/desired.