How To — January 20, 2013 at 11:17 am

How to Season, Clean, and Care for Cast Iron Skillets and Cookware

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The Lodge Preseasoned Cast Iron Skillet. Photo courtesy of Amazon.

Not sure if you noticed, but we love to cook with cast iron. We are constantly using our cast iron skillet for all kinds of recipes. A cast iron skillet is excellent for heat distribution which leads to a better cooked meal. Ok, so now you have bought a cast iron skillet. Your first question probably is, “Now what do I do?” The practice of using cast iron to cook had become a lost art when non-stick cooking surfaces were first invented. However, that trend is slowing reversing. The only problem is that the care instructions have skipped a generation. No worries, we are here to help.

There are three major processes that you need to understand in order to make your new purchase last. And last, it will. If you properly care for this kitchen tool, it should last you a lifetime. Not too shabby when you consider how inexpensive cast iron cookware is. So, without further a do, here are our instructions for everything you need to know about cast iron skillets and other cookware.

Seasoning:

  • Seasoning is a very important step for cast iron. This is the process that gives the cast iron its non-stick surface. Today, many cast iron skillets, such as the Lodge Logic L10SK3 12-Inch Cast Iron Skillet, come pre-seasoned. If you purchased one of these, you don’t need to season yours. If not, here’s how to season a new one.
  • First, you will need to lightly wash the skillet with soap. This is the only time it is acceptable to use soap.
  • Then, rinse the skillet very well. Rinse immediately and vigorously. Dry the skillet with a paper towel.
  • Next, apply a thin coat of vegetable oil to the pan inside and out. I’d recommend either canola oil or flax-seed oil because they won’t break down at high temps.
  • Bake upside down at 375 for at least one hour. Place aluminum foil underneath the pan to catch any drippings.
  • Let cool to room temperature.

Cleaning:

  • To clean cast iron never, never use dish soap. This will ruin your non-stick surface and affect the taste of your next meal as it will absorb into the cast iron.
  • I’d recommend using a Plastic Pan Scraper or plastic Vegetable Brush to remove any caked on substances. Do not use steel wool or any type of metal scraper as this will remove your non-stick finish.
  • It is best to clean the cast iron when it is a little warm. Running or spraying hot water will remove most of the residue. Use the scraper or brush to get rid of everything else.
  • Rinse thoroughly with hot water.
  • Next dry the cast iron with a rag or paper towel. Be sure to dry the top and bottom.
  • Finally, take a little vegetable oil and rub into the cast iron cooking surface. Don’t over do it. Too much will make it sticky. This will prevent rusting.

Caring for Cast Iron and Tips:

  • At some point in time you may need to re-season your cast iron. If food is beginning to stick or if you the pan is getting excessive build up, it’s probably time. There is no need to buy a new pan. Simply follow the instructions for seasoning above. It may be wise to hit it with a little steel wool first though.
  • If your pan begins to rust, no worries. Simply sand with steel wool, wash, and re-season.
  • Never put cold water on a hot pan. This can cause small cracks and ruin your cast iron.
  • Always coat with a little vegetable oil before storing.
  • Do not put in the dishwasher. Always hand wash.
  • To remove tough residues, use a little vegetable spray and coarse salt. Scrub with a cloth or paper towel.
  • For those who are worried about germs. Preheating for 4 minutes on medium heat will make the cookware 400 degrees. It is sterile at 212 degrees. Antibacterial soap is not required.

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