Braised Red Cabbage & cast iron question. Help!
I've been craving a great sweet and sour braised red cabbage for a few weeks, so I found a recipe that looked good and made it the other night. I used my cast iron stewpot (it even mentioned it to use!) and while the cabbage was cooking for the few hours, the iron smell became more and more noticable to me. Of course there was apple cider vinegar added the last hour of cooking, and i'm now totally paranoid that A.) I messed it up majorly, leeching iron from the pot and marring the flavor of the cabbage, and B.) I ruined the seasoning on the cast iron. It did seem to flake off slightly during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
I let the cabbage marry in the fridge for 48 hours, and microwaved a bit last night and tried it. I didn't get an immediate "IRON OVERLOAD" taste like I feared. In fact, it tasted pretty darn good!
Dosen't an acid like vinegar react with cast iron? Am I just being paranoid? TIA for any answers.
Nope, you're not paranoid. Cast iron doesn't like acid. I don't know whether the reaction between cast iron and a high acid ingredient will create health issues; I doubt it because I have used my cast iron to simmer tomato sauces without ill effect. However, the kitchen odors produced with vinegar solutions in my cast iron will ruin my appetite fairly quickly. When I cook with vinegar I select a ceramic lined cast iron pot or something in stainless steel. Your vinegar solution probably did etch the cast iron to some degree. Vinegar is sometimes used to clean cast iron cookware before re-seasoning.
Some doctors/nutritionists recommend cast iron pans because they do leach iron, and many vegetarians or people who don't eat a lot of red meat are slightly anemic. So yes, you probably got some extra iron out of it, and no, it's probably not a bad thing. Your pan, on the other hand, as others have mentioned, may want reseasoning.