7 Tips For Caring For Cast Iron Cookware
Cast iron pots and pans have been around for centuries. If they are cared for properly, they can last a lifetime and be passed down from generation to generation. You can prepare any dish that you can think of in a cast iron pot or pan, but you don’t treat them the same way you do non-stick pans. Use these maintenance tips for your cast iron cookware.
1. Buy Second Hand: There’s no need to go spending upwards of $100 on a cast iron pot or pan set. Go to your local second hand store or look online for people selling their cast iron pans. You can snag a deal for $5 or less. Plus, the older the cast iron, the better it tastes. The longer it’s been in use and seasoned, the better the flavor it has. If the pan you are looking at has some rust on it, don’t be scared away. That can easily be buffed out and restored like brand new. Here’s how to fix a rusty pan.
2. Liberally Use Healthy Fats: To keep your pan in tip top shape, keep every inch of the cooking surface covered in grease. Use healthy fats like ghee, organic butter, coconut oil, and olive oil to grease your pans. The grease lubricates the iron and prevents foods from getting stuck on. It also helps cook the food more evenly. Plus it’ll taste great.
3. Avoid Plastic Cookware Utensils: Cast iron can get very hot, and plastic can melt easily. The last thing that you want is a melted spatula on your pancakes. Use the plastic on your non-stick pans, and save wood, bamboo, and stainless steel utensils for the cast iron.
4. Handle Covers: As mentioned above, cast iron heats up and can get very hot. The entire pan is entirely made out of iron. As the bottom of the pan gets hot, so does the handle. Protect yourself from burns with a cover made specifically to fit the cast iron handle and absorb heat.
5. Don’t Use Soap: The last thing you want to do is scrub off all of your tasty seasoning. It seems strange to put away a “dirty” dish, but all the pan needs is a good rinse or wipe with a cloth. Soaps will strip your pan of the greases that you’ve accumulated in the cast iron and make it more difficult to cook with. In this case, the greasier, the better.
6. Dry Immediately: If you do need to rinse your pan, do it in warm water, and scrape off any stuck on foods. Don’t let your pan sit in water overnight to soak. The rinsing should be done fairly soon after the cooking. If water does touch it, dry it off immediately with a paper towel, or spare cloth and set on the stove top to dry. Water and iron will create rust.
7. Coat Your Pan: Keep your pan protected after a rinse and coat it once more in a layer of oils. A little can go a long way. Wipe the entire cooking surface of the pan to give it a greasy shine, making it ready for the next meal.
The next meal you make with your cast iron skillet, it’ll taste even better than the one before. You can use it on the stove top, you can make sauces, you can do stir fry, or you can put it in the oven to bake dishes. It’s completely versatile in the kitchen. As you become used to cooking with your cast iron, you’ll never want to go back to the old way of non-stick again!