So, you have finally bought a cast iron for your kitchen. Whether you scored it at a yard sale, got it as a gift from a family member, or purchased it at the mall, there are a couple of things you need to know before you start cooking.
Yes, cast iron cookware needs different care than others. Don’t worry, I got you.
Read my ultimate cast iron guide below.
What is a cast iron?
It is an iron that has been melted, molded, and cooled. It is very durable and resilient, making it a desirable material for automotive parts, pipes, machines, and of course cookware. When cared properly, it can last for years, which is one of the main reasons to love cast iron cookware.
They are durable, virtually indestructible, and sustainable. They also cook food beautifully. Some of its cookware types include Dutch ovens, grill pans, pots, skillets, bakeware, pizza pans, and woks.
How to season cast iron
This is a process of baking the oil into the surface of the cast iron to create a layer of carbonized oil – a protective layer that will make your cookware non-stick. Seasoning will also give your cast iron radiance – and help make cooking and cleaning easier for you.
One of the best tips that I can give you is to buy a pre-seasoned cast iron. However, it you have bought an unseasoned one, just follow these steps:
- Preheat oven at 400 degrees F.
- Place a foil or baking pan on the bottom of the oven. This will help you catch any oil drippings.
- Wash the cast iron. Make sure to dry it thoroughly afterwards.
- Using a cloth or paper towel, rub a thin layer of vegetable oil all over the cast iron’s surface.
- Place the pan upside down.
- Bake for an hour.
- Once done, turn off the oven. Leave the cast iron inside for another hour to cool down.
Your cookware is now seasoned and ready to use. On the other hand, if you notice that there isn’t enough sheen visible, repeat the seasoning process a few times. Don’t worry, this is common for new, unseasoned cast irons.
How to clean cast iron
When cleaning a cast iron cookware, you just need to rinse it with warm water and scrub it with firm bristle brush. Then, simply let it dry once it appears clean.
You can also set your cookware back on the stovetop over medium-high heat until the water evaporates. This can help prevent rust from building up. Make sure to not leave the cookware unattended when doing this method because it might burn. This drying process only takes 1 to 3 minutes.
If there are black specks or bits of food in your cookware, use a firmer brush to remove them. Scrub the surface gently, especially if you’re using a stainless-steel brushing pad. Take note that steel wool pads are not the same as stainless-steel brushing pads, so you must not use it on your cast iron.
Rub the cookware with a bit of oil once it is clean and dry. This gives the cat iron a bit more moisture, keeping the seasoning intact. Unless it has lost its sheen, you don’t have to season or bake the cast iron again.
Also take note that it’s not ideal to put the cast iron in the dishwasher. It will be exposed to a moist environment, therefore acquire rust.
Lastly, using soap to clean your cast iron cookware is not a great idea. It can remove the seasoning and weaken the non-stick properties. If you want to make sure that there are no bacteria left on the cookware, you can use a bit of soap and water for cleaning. But this is not applicable for everyday cooking.
How to store cast iron
Before stacking or hanging the cast iron, make sure that it is always dry. Rust is the enemy of your cast iron’s seasoning, so keep it out of moisture as much as possible. Slip a paper towel on the surface of the cookware, especially if you’re stacking it with other pans or pots.
A cast iron is a wonderful kitchen item that you should try out. Learning the seasoning and cleaning process might take a bit of your time, but once you’ve prepared your cookware, you’ll be cooking non-stop with beautiful results. Follow this ultimate cast iron guide today.