Lodge Heat-Treated Cast Iron
Lodge has been manufacturing cast iron cookware in South Pittsburg, Tenn., since 1896, and has stayed at the top of the industry by focusing on quality and innovation. The company has built a reputation not only for the quality of the cast-iron pieces it manufactures, but for the innovative techniques it uses to make cast iron products more accessible to new users. In 2002, Lodge became the first company to produce pre-seasoned cookware, a practice that's now standard among the cast iron industry, and the company now produces a new kind of cast iron that can safely be put through the dishwasher.
The Advantages of Cast Iron
Cast iron is a time-honored cookware material, largely because cast iron skillets are known for being long-lasting family heirlooms that can be passed down from one generation to the next. But sentimental value isn't the only reason cast iron has remained popular for so many years. Cast iron possesses an exceptional ability to retain heat and can go from the stove to the oven, making it a great choice for searing, simmering, frying, and baking. Well-seasoned cast iron also offers a natural non-stick cooking surface that becomes more effective as it's used, as opposed to artificial non-stick coatings that can break down over time and may pose health concerns.
Those unfamiliar with using cast iron often know about its many advantages, but might be intimidated by the reputation it has for being difficult to maintain. Most worry that they'll be unable to properly keep it safe from moisture and will end up with a rust-covered pan that's no longer usable, while others just don't want to gently handwash their pans after every meal. With Lodge Heat-Treated cast iron, newcomers and veterans alike can enjoy the benefits of cast iron cooking with a minimal amount of maintenance hassle.
A New Kind of Cast Iron
To make this cast iron dishwasher-safe, the company has developed a unique treatment process that removes oxygen from the cast iron's surface layer and replaces it with nitrogen. This change in its molecular structure makes the iron resistant to rust, which means pans can be cleaned in the dishwasher without any worries.
Lodge still recommends handwashing these cast iron pieces when a dishwashing isn't necessary, but test pieces were able to stand as many as 200 dishwashing cycles without rusting. Lodge dishwasher-safe pieces include skillets ranging in size from five to eight inches, oval and rectangular mini servers with capacities from nine to 36 ounces, and a 16-ounce country kettle.
Even though these Lodge dishwasher-safe pieces are rust-resistant, it's important to maintain their seasoning. Seasoning, rather than being a layer of oils that sits on the surface, is baked on, and will naturally enhance as you use your pan. Lodge preseasons each of its cast iron pieces with soy vegetable oil and recommends that users maintain this cookware by covering it in vegetable or olive oil and baking it in the oven for 30 minutes at around 350 degrees Fahrenheit, then leaving it in the oven until it's finished cooling down.
For more information on seasoning, read our in-depth guide to seasoning your cast iron cookware.