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Why My Purse is Green

Because I believe…

  • the fastest, most effective way to stop polluters is by pressuring them in the marketplace
  • women can be the world’s most powerful economic and environmental force if we intentionally shift our spending to the best green products and services
  • women have the power right now to solve many of our most serious environmental problems by using our green purses to make a difference
  • women must act – intentionally, collectively, and with the full force of our purse power behind us – if we hope to leave our children and grandchildren a better world.
  • « Coffee Mugs Matter | Main | Toxic Dust Bunnies: Environmental Health, Safety Threats from PBDEs »

    Environmental In-Box: Cast Iron Cookware

        Cast iron pan For top-notch cooking without the worry generated by non-stick cookware, I turn to cast iron. Here's why:

    What I Like:

    * You get "non stick" without the nonsense of PFOA, the nasty chemical that makes Teflon easy to clean but also health threatening.

    *Once cast iron is seasoned (a simple process), it cooks beautifully. I make lots of sticky stuff in my pans, like omelets, sautes, and stir fry. I use just a little bit of oil to lubricate the surface, then gradually heat the pan. It cooks like a dream.

    *The pan can be cleaned with hot water and a scrub brush only. No soap, please - these pans need to remain "seasoned" to work properly, so you never want to try to remove all the oil that bakes into their surface.

    *Finally, cast iron really holds the heat. If I'm cooking a soup or stew, I can turn the heat completely off ten minutes early and the heat in the pot will keep the ingredients bubbling along. That also makes it a great serving dish. You won't have to worry about food cooling down once it's put on the table if you serve it in a cast iron pot. NOTE: If you don't like the black hue of cast iron, you can pay a little more for enamel covered iron ware that will look very pretty on your table.

    The downside? Cast iron is heavy. You'll need two hands and a little bit of muscle to lift a full cast iron pot. I'm no Amazon and I can manage it, so you probably can, too. Also, to avoid rust you should dry cast iron with a towel, rather than let it air dry.

    Product and price comparison:

    Lodge is probably the best-known cast iron manufacturer, as well as the cheapest. Several other brands sell enameled cast iron, including Le Creuset. Staub, and Mario Battali Cookware. Here's what several consumers had to say about the various enameled cast iron lines available. If you don't care about the color of the pans, the most economical choice is the plain cast iron from Lodge. Otherwise, shop sales (or ask for the fancier enameled cast iron for a birthday or holiday gift). NOTE: Scanpan now produces Green Tek, a PFOA-free cookware line it claims is environmentally friendly. This looks promising, but the manufacturer's claims have no third-party validation, and I haven't tried it myself yet. Stay tuned.

     How many purses? 

    Purse Purse Purse Three. No question.


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    Cast iron is a great choice. If you're interested in nonstick pans that are more eco-friendly, besides Scanpan, there are a couple of other options. Cuisinart Green Gourmet is one, along with GreenPan (

    Diane MacEachern

    Kirsten, Thanks so much for sharing the info on Cuisinart Green Gourmet.


    Another wonderful range of cast iron cookware comes from Japan. Oigen has been producing cast iron cookware since 1800's. Steeped in family history and is still within the family.

    The NakedPan are hand made by artisans using 75% recycled cast iron, 25% new, are rust proof, great on induction, gas, electric, fire. Are also recyclable and naturally occurring non stick.

    Have cooked curries, piaella, stews, roasted vegetables and even a cake in my oven dish. Found you use less fat in cooking along with less heat.

    Does indeed save money and energy.

    Highly recommend the NakedPan

    Totally agree with the health benefits of cast iron versus non-stick pans.

    Inexpensive cast iron pans, pots, etc. can be found through Macy's. Their in-store brand of cast iron is inexpensive and easy to find.

    I've been using our Calphalon cast iron skillet bought at Target and it works great, too, and didn't have to be seasoned.

    Diane MacEachern

    Thanks for the Macy's tip, Kim. I'm glad to hear you can get such a great bargain on cast iron there.

    Green Fundraising

    I used both cast iron and non-stick. You are soooo right - I shouldn't use non-stick. I love my Le Creuset products (although they can break the bank.) And I'm a girl in that way, I love all the fancy colors! It just makes me happy.... ha ha.


    Aaron Pike


    I see you have failed the often forgotten original cast iron cookware brand. Wagner and Griswold cast iron cookware products are still manufactured in the United States of America. The intellectual property of the Wagner and Griswold brands is owned by the American Culinary Corporation. I encourage you to try one of our pans as they are still well coveted by many cast iron afficionados. The general public has been unaware of our existence in the marketplace, however the American Culinary Corporation is working hard to get products on a retailers shelf near you. Feel free to visit to learn more information.


    Hello Diane,
    I use my grandmother's Griswold pans. If she were alive, she'd be over 100 so you can see that cast-iron pans are a good investment.

    If your blog fans are buying pans, I hope they consider purchasing those made in countries that provide public education, free and fair voting procedures, protect human rights and outlaw child labor. Pat


    I see a lot of cast iron pans at the thrift store. Are all safe or should I only be looking for certain brands?


    Cooking in cast iron is known to greatly increase the dietary source of iron. This is especially true when cooking foods high in acid, such as tomato based sauces. There is less of an effect for foods that are quickly fried in the skillet. As you might expect frequent stirring of food will also increase the amount of iron. Cooking in cast iron can often provide all of this element that a body needs.

    kids supra

    Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright.


    Electric Skillet - We use cast iron when we are camping, maybe I should consider for everyday use.

    peter kenneth

    It's an outstanding post !!! great!!!

    Tyler Jones

    Good one! Thanks for sharing.

    Tyler Jones

    Well done with the post!

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