New Green Cookware at Our Little House

Our new “Green” cookware

I was interviewed yesterday for a story on how to live large in a little house and one of the questions the writer asked was about how living in a little house makes us more environmentally aware.

Prior to moving to Our Little House, we had been using cloth bags for nearly 20 years and recycling, but it pretty much ended there. Since we’ve moved, I’ve become more aware of not only how we can make more changes to help the planet and protect the beautiful landscape that surrounds us, but also for our general health.

It’s been a goal of mine to do away with our non-stick cookware. I’ve read plenty of horror stories about the chemicals that goes into making it easier for us to clean up after cooking and how those chemicals leech into our food and their link to cancer.

Dale has a full set of Lodge cast iron cookware he uses for Dutch oven cooking. I suggested we move that into the house for our primary cookware, but he felt it would be too cumbersome for clean up and seasoning after each use.

I began looking at the Lodge enamelware, but unlike their regular cast iron cookware, the enamelware is not made in the U.S.A, but made in China. Call me crazy, but I don’t trust a country that puts toxic chemicals in baby formula and pet food, to sell me safe cookware.

I know many of you chefs out there may find this amazing, but I had never heard of Le Creuset enamel cast iron cookware. I saw it in a store on a trip to Branson for our anniversary in July. I fell in love, not only with the bright colors (red matches my kitchen), but also for the fact the saleswoman said this cookware is still made in France and lasts forever.

That makes it sustainable, as we will probably not buy anymore cookware for the rest of our lives, as well as healthier, as the enamelware is said not to contain any toxic chemicals or leech anything into cooking food.

As we were catching up on other things from Dale’s extended layoff and underemployment, we couldn’t afford to buy any pieces in July, but I went back to Branson this past weekend and purchased this steel stock pot and enamel baking dish.

Just in time for our Halloween pot of chili and cornbread.

When I’m able to complete my set with the cast iron enamelware, I will be working on replacing all of our plastic food containers with glass.

One baby step at a time….

What is your favorite “green” find for the kitchen?

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30 Responses

  1. MarthaAndMe says:

    How does it fair in terms of non-stickiness? Is it a mess to clean up? And do you need to worry about scratching it with metal utensils?

    • Kerri says:

      I love, love, love both the stock pot and the bake ware. I haven’t had a problem with stuff sticking and it has been a breeze to clean. Metal utensils are not recommended because it is an enamel ware that is not scratch proof!

  2. Nearly all my cookware is cast iron…(I have one Calphalon sauce pan that is not) I also have glass top range… been using both for over 15 years. The glass top still looks fine. All the talk about not being able to use cast iron on a glass top is total BS.

    If your a clumsy doufous and drop a 10 pound skillet on your stove than yes it might break or crack. But the heat transfer is fine, as far as seasoning a cast iron pan being a lot of work…its not…you just never use soap on them…hot water… couple passes with the spongie…done. We use our big cast iron “dutchy for many meals…chili…soup…spaghetti sauce..etc. A couple years ago we even slow roasted our Thanksgiving turkey in it. Taking the bones out later for soup was the easiest I have even had.

    Some of my cast iron predates my grandparents…and still looks mint. I’ll never buy anything else.

    When camping we use the same cookware as at home…campfire to table… consider these the “armored personnel carriers” of the cooking world

    http://kmswoodworks.wordpress.com/2010/06/17/campfire-dutch-oven-cooking-cowboy-cobbler/

    • Kerri says:

      Thanks for all of the great information, Moontree! I would bet that the Thanksgiving turkey in the dutchy would be wonderful. One of my favorite meals when Dale cooks with his is an Italian chicken, it just melts your mouth.
      Thank you also for the link to the cobbler, that looks heavenly!

      • Fran says:

        Oh, I’m so glad you posted this. I miss my cast iron in the worst way. I had a skillet that was so well seasoned I could fry an egg in it without sticking. I gave it away when I got this stove. I about cried. I will be getting myself a new one now. And also one of those very nice pots that Kerri has (wink).
        Thank again.

  3. Fran says:

    Kerri, I LOVE your new cook set. Red is a favorite of mine. I hope to buy some for myself soon. Maybe Christmas? 🙂
    I see from your pic that you have a glass cook stove. I was told when we bought ours that you can’t use cast iron. Is that true? Do you use yours on your stove or just cook with them outside? Thanks for any info. I gave away my old cast iron when I got this stove and I miss them sooo much. The reason the guy said not to use them is because you need a smooth bottom cookware. Mine where not.
    Thanks again.

    • kerri says:

      Hi, Fran. We use the cast iron cookware we have right now only for outdoor Dutch oven cooking. I’ve been reading about using the cast iron on flat surfaces and it is not recommended if you don’t have flat bottomed cookware. Even with enamel coated cookware, we will have to watch about the heating and not over heat the cookware. Another thing to be cautious about is using dropping the heavy iron on the glass as it will break, or dragging cookware and scratching the glass. My husband hates the glass top and I’m sure we will go with the coil for our next stove.

      • kerri says:

        Oh, and don’t forget to tell Santa that you’ve been extra good this year so you can get that new cookware! 😉

        • Fran says:

          Thank you so much for the reply. You are right. These glass cooktops sure do scratch easy. I have them all over the cooking area. I do really like my stove though. It cleans so much easier then the coil. Plus I don’t scratch my knuckles all up when I’m cleaning underneath lol. But the down side is not cooking with my cast iron. Oh well, you can’t have it all I guess lol.

          Oh, and I already sent my Santa letter in for the year teehee. 🙂

          • kerri says:

            Make sure you read the note from moontreeranch on this thread, Fran. Hope Santa answers and brings you everything you want!

  4. Kim says:

    We’re Le Creuset fans too… we’ve had ours for about ten years (some of them that are flea market finds that are about 30-40 years old, and some were new ten years ago), and while they are extremely tough, I wouldn’t expect them to last forever unblemished unless you’re just extremely careful with them. They’re fabulous, though!

    • kerri says:

      No, I wouldn’t expect anything to go unblemished. Our stock pot did an excellent job with the Halloween chili yesterday!

  5. mikeinkansascity says:

    There’s a Le Creuset outlet in Osage Beach MO that sells slightly imperfect Le Creuset items. It’s awesome! Well worth the trip. The imperfections are usually fairly trivial.
    Factory Outlet Village
    4540 Highway 54,
    Suite #0-3
    Osage Beach,
    MO
    65065
    U.S.A.

    • kerri says:

      Thanks, Mike. We will have to make the trip up there. I haven’t been to that outlet mall in a long time!

  6. You are so write to beware the dangers of non-stick cookware, especially when it gets old and the finish starts to come off. Cancer-causing! Le Creuset is gorgeous; I own one very old piece that was a wedding gift and treasure it. Congratulations on giving yourself something you want and deserve – that’s green too!

  7. Maryann says:

    I have cast iron pans (mostly fry pans/various sizes) that belonged to my great grandmothers and on down the line to me. I “store” them by hanging them on the wall behind the black Vermont Castings wood stove-I get lots of compliments on them. I think cornbread tastes best when baked in a cast iron fry pan. Plus, using the pans makes me feel connected to those family cooks.

  8. Susan says:

    Hi Kerri, here is a website that I have bought from before and they carry the Le Creuset…
    http://www.cookware.com/Le-Creuset-l781-A5972~2343.html I don’t know if these prices compare to what you paid for yours or not. They also have your cornbread pan. I have some enamel cast iron my mom bought that are made in France but not Le Creuset. Also have an oval 7qt one that is around 50 years old that my dad bought in the early 60’s, that was made in Belguim. There is nothing like good pots and pans and sharp knives. I also have a lot of Lodge pans and stainless steel.

  9. Mary says:

    I pitched all my non-stick out a few years ago when I saw a news report about it and it showed a little bird die almost immediately from fumes when the pan got too hot. Made a believer out of me! =) I use cast iron and stainless steel pots and pans now.

  10. Alexandra says:

    I knew about Le Creuset because I lived in France for so many years. I have just given up my last stick-free frying pan. I used to use it for omelettes and crepes, but no more. It is not Teflon, but the newest thing that is non-stick. One thing on my list of many things to do is print out the chapter of Slow Death by Rubber Duck, or the pages, more exactly, about Teflon and why such products are very bad for us and for the environment, and take them to the local department store that still sells the junk. To answer your question, I guess I really appreciate my egg beater and my slotted spoon. I have used my Le Creuset pots so long the enamel has begun to wear off on the bottom …

    • kerri says:

      Wow, that’s a long time, Alexandra! The lady at the store tells me this is the type of cookware you pass down!

  11. Heather says:

    I love the bright red of your new cookware.

    On a segment of Oprah the other day they showed a woman who used her oven for storage of her fine jewelry and her crockpot to hold her hair accessories. That’s kind of where I’m at with the whole cooking shebang. I do have a composting bin, though. I just don’t know what to do with it.

    • kerri says:

      That’s funny, Heather! When I was a kid, I remember my mom storing the dog food in the oven. She forgot it was there when she went to broil steaks once and burned the whole bag up. What a smell! 🙁

  12. Olivia says:

    I have always used both cast iron and stainless steel cookware for cooking – although cast iron does leach iron into food. Maybe not if it is enamelled? This is not generally a problem but can be in certain medical conditions.

    These days I am just trying to give up worrying about everything I do or eat. I fretted for years – always trying to buy/grow only organic, eat this, that or the other way, cook this way or that, use only this, that or the other thing on my body and so forth and nearly drove myself mad in the process. Some expert or other was always coming out with another study that showed this, that or the other thing was harmful – and then, later, it wasn’t harmful. Drove me crazy. I finally decided that the worry and stress was far more harmful to me than the “stuff.” My Granny lived to almost 97, working up to 5 months before her death – ate whatever she wanted and, in her younger days, ate and drank. Never “exercised” – although she was always on the go. I think she just didn’t worry a lot about what all the “experts” said.

    I don’t know – you do whatever works for you, I guess, and don’t worry about the rest. Gets easier as you get older!!

    • kerri says:

      We’ve been the opposite, Olivia. We ate and drank pretty much anything in our youth. Now that we have healthy issues stemming from those choices, I would like to go into middle and old age as healthy as possible. 🙂 I don’t worry a whole lot and I don’t pay attention to the experts (afterall, they will tell us vitamins and herbs don’t help colds when I have 20 years of my own personal data that proves otherwise). I listen to my body.

  13. V Schoenwald says:

    I have Lodge and Wagner cast iron from my great-grandmother and grandmother, some way over a 100 yrs old that I lovingly use all the time. It is hard to store but I love them. I have a small Dutch oven, and several pans, but I am looking for the muffin pans, and a corn bread pans. As I can afford it I will add these.
    I have a small Le Creuset stock pot that I make potato and other creamy soups and vegetable soups with, and I love it. I picked it up in a Goodwill store a few years ago and I thought I had struck gold.
    Yes, they are very expensive but you never buy potd again.

    • kerri says:

      I have a bowl and a vinegar bottle of my grandmother’s and I treasure those, too, Vicki. Our Lodge stuff is all new Dale’s been buying over the years. Saw some antique muffin and cornbread pans at an antique mall here about a month ago. Talk about expensive!