Cast Iron Cookware Care

I guess this isn’t really a recipe, per se, at least not for something you can eat.  But it is a recipe for caring for your cast iron.

Cast iron can seem a little intimidating to someone who’s unfamiliar with it.  It seems so “high maintenance!”  It’s really not though.  🙂  Grandma knew that, and her grandma did too.  Odds are good that if she went west in a wagon, she used cast iron to cook for her family along the way.  Campers use it still today because it’s easy maintenance and durable as all get out.  

Assuming you’ve gone through the curing process, or purchased an already cured pan, here’s what you do to clean it after use.

Rinse off as much of the cooking residue as you can using the hottest water your faucet spews, and a plastic scrub brush.  I have one that’s good for use on Teflon pans.  Never use scouring pads, brushes, or powders on cast iron as that will scratch it and cause rusting.  Don’t use soap either, as that ruins the curing that you’ve put on it.  It’s the curing that creates the non-stick quality that well cared for cast iron has.

Now that you’ve gotten all the gunk off the skillet, put it back on the burner, med-high heat.  This is how cast iron dries.  You can’t leave it with wet spots or it will rust.  While it’s on the heat, pour in about 1-2 tablespoons of oil, either vegetable or canola – something plain.  Now, into the heating oil, pour in an equal amount of table salt.  Yep, plain old salt.  Grab a wad of paper towels, I usually just need 2, and I make a sort of ball and scrub the oil/salt mix all over the pan, and it picks up all the leftover bits of debris from your cooking.  The salt also acts as a disinfectant, so now you have no worries about not using soap.  See how easy that was? 

You need oil so it doesn’t dissolve the salt, like water would.

By the time I’ve gotten all the inside stuff scrubbed, I can take the skillet to the sink, flip it over, and use the rest of my “ball” to scrub the bottom and sides, just to keep the cure nice.  Then, rinse all the salt off under the hottest water you can, put back on the burner for 3-4 min, or until all the water drops are gone. 

Check out how nice it looks!  Easy-peasy!

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from DF with love 🙂

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6 thoughts on “Cast Iron Cookware Care

  1. Good timing on this post, since I’ve apparently forgotten how to take care of a cast iron pan! 🙂

    I just tossed my large no stick pan due to pealing Teflon. Decided to start using my cast iron pan again and now I know why it’s rusty!!

    I’ll have to give it the “DF” treatment before I fry my bacon this AM.

    MR

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      1. Hi DF,
        Thanks for that tip. It worked like a charm! It took that bit of rust right out of my big frying pan! I have a smaller pan that’s badly rusted & it took a lot of the rust off it, but I’ll have to work on that one a bit more.

        It’s more work to take care of the cast iron, but I think in the long run it’s probably better for our health than cooking on Teflon. How much of that stuff have we eaten over the years? Don’t think I’m going to buy any more Teflon pans.

        Did you check out this Cast Iron Catalog SH posted about? I see a few pieces here I could sure use. If only I had the $$. Make sure to let me know when you hit that lotto! 😉

        http://www.castironcookware.com/cast-iron-cookware.html

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        1. I’ve always wanted to try it on like pans you find at garage sales and such. A little elbow grease is all it takes, right? 🙂 I’m so glad it’s helping you get your pans in shape.

          Lodge cast iron is THE name in cast iron as far as I’m concerned. I know they’ve been around for over a century – I’ve not seen a cast iron company around as long. Their stuff is awesome. I’d buy a ton too if I had the money.

          Also, if you keep your pan in the oven, even when you bake something else, just leave it in there clean and empty, it will help bring back that luster that looks like decades of use. And it’ll help regulate the oven temperature, like a baking stone would. 🙂

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