Caring For Your Cast Iron Cookware
I love my cast iron skillets and have been using them for decades. In fact I have the same pans I had 20 years ago! You treat them right and they will last you a long time.
Why Cast Iron Cookware
Cast iron cookware is heavy-duty, versatile, valued for its heat retention, durability, and ability to be used at very high temperatures.
Nutritionally, it can boost your iron intake.
And it’s loved for it’s non-stick cooking (without the toxic chemicals found in other non-stick cookware like Teflon).
However, cast-iron pans are only non-stick when they are properly seasoned. Seasoning a pan involves coating the pan with a high heat-tolerant fat such as avocado oil (which has a smoke point of 500-520 degrees) and then allowing the oil to bake into the iron. This will create a non-stick surface. Seasoning is also used to protect the cast iron from rust
- Before your first use, clean pan with hot, soapy water and a scrubber. Rinse and thoroughly dry.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Apply oil to to the pan: top, bottom, sides and handle. Get the inside AND outside (this helps prevent rust forming on the outside of the pan).
- Place pan upside down in heated oven.
- Place a baking sheet or aluminum foil below the pan to catch the oil drippings
- Bake the skillet for one hour. This will give you your initial layer of seasoning. (I have read that this process should be done a couple of more times, but honestly I’m too impatient for that).
- Let skillet cool in oven before removing.
- Repeat the process when you notice foods are sticking to the pan or it isn’t cleaning so easily. You should season your cast iron about twice a year. If you cook acidic foods frequently, you may need to season your pan more often.
After you season, don’t use soap to wash your cast iron. Soap will remove the layer of seasoning you just added.
Instead try these steps:
- With a soap-free dish rag, wipe out the pan while running under hot water. Clean thoroughly but don’t scrub or be too rough.
- Once the pan looks clean, gently wipe dry or place on a burner over medium-low heat until the pan is completely dry and has gotten fairly hot.
Tip: If I have gone too long without seasoning and I notice my food has stuck to the bottom of the pan, I fill the pan with hot water and let it boil, allowing the food to loosen. I then gently scrape the food out with a spatula and wipe with a wet rag, Afterwards, I re-season.