Army disposal stores have all sorts of useful, inexpensive things for camping, travel, outdoor living and picnics. But they also stock items for everyday use around the home.
We have quite a few things purchased from the disposals store.
A billy, a flask and tin cups for camping and travelling.
Tin plates that we use not only for camping but everyday in the kitchen (a tin plate with a lip makes a great pie dish and they are good for keeping food hot in the oven).
But my prize army disposals item is my cast iron frypan.
I bought this huge cast iron skillet at my local army disposal store for $8 about 6 years ago. My mum has been using cast iron pans for as long as I can remember, and I had to have one too. This is my favourite fry pan. It gets used a lot. And these things last a life time (or longer).
Cast iron is excellent for cooking in.
- It’s an excellent heat conductor and heats evenly. Some other cookware materials like aluminium can get hot spots and heat unevenly.
- Once it’s seasoned, it’s non-stick. No nasty Teflon chemicals leaching into your food.
- However, small amounts of iron can leach into your food from the pan. This is not only safe but considered a bonus, especially if your anaemic or need more iron in your diet.
- It can go in the oven (if you don’t have a wooden handle like mine!) and on the camp fire.
Caring for your cast iron pan
Cast iron is great for cooking, but it does need just a little extra care over other cookware choices.
- When you purchase you pan, give it a good scrub before cooking in it. Some manufacturers put a wax coating on the pan.
- Season by rubbing it with thin a coat of oil, heating it and then let it cool. Repeat. Over time it should turn a nice black colour. This is its non-stick coating.
- Wash in hot soapy water – don’t put it in the dishwasher. A lot of people say not to wash in soap as this dissolves the oil coating. But you don’t want this building up and going rancid.
- Give it a thin coat of oil after washing up. This is to prevent rusting and to keep its nice non-stickness.
- If it gets rust spots, scour the spots and rub it with oil.
- Don’t store food or leave food sitting in the pan for long periods of time.
- Cooking tomatoes or acidic foods can react with the iron, which makes it easier to rust. Clean well and give it an oil and it will be fine.
The downside to cast iron cookware is the weight. They’re pretty heavy even when empty, but when you have a whole pan full and you need to pick it up (to spoon a pie filling into a pie dish, for example) it may need two people.
Buying stuff for the kitchen doesn’t have to be expensive, even quality cookware. For $8 you can’t go past a cast iron pan as a kitchen investment that lasts a lifetime.