How to Clean & Maintain Cast Iron Cookware

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Few tools are as essential in my kitchen as my cast iron skillet. Durable, affordable and virtually nonstick, it’s a pretty awesome pan. You can cook just about anything in it as you would any other pan such as sear fish, scramble eggs and even make a pizza!

Due to cast iron conducting and holding heat very well, it’s a great pan to fry chicken in. It’s really the only tool I’m attached to and take the most care of (next to my 600 series mixer and vitamix).Β  If this pan is maintained properly and taken good care of, I can pass this pan down to my grandchildren. The process of taking care of your cast iron is very simple. The main step is to clean it immediately after each use.

Traditional cast iron skillets don’t come pre-seasoned. You have to season it yourself. After each use it is recommended you re-season it. You must clean immediately after cooking if you want your cast iron cookware to last. There are a few different methods on how to clean cast iron pans.Β  I will show and explain to you in 3 steps how I properly clean and season cast iron cookware after each use. The additional uses if you find easier and prefer, will be listed a the end. Use which ever method you feel is easier for you.

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Cleaning:

A cast iron skillet isn’t ideal for the set aside and let soak people. For best results, wash right away with hot water after cooking. If you need to remove food that is stuck to the pan, gently rub with a mild abrasive such as salt or a nonmetal sponge. I personally prefer not to use any soap in my cast iron pan but it’s okay to use just a small amount once in a while. Don’t submerge the pan in water; this will cause it to rust faster. If the pan gets sticky or begins to rust, scrub it with a steel wool and re-season it. To prevent rust, dry immediately and rub with a small amount of canola or vegetable oil and dry with a paper towel.

Seasoning:

Seasoning cast iron cookware is necessary to maintain its ongoing non stick surface and to prevent the pan from rusting. If seasoned correctly, your cast iron cookware can last a lifetime.

Mise en Place:

-Cast Iron pan or other cookware

-1 Cup Salt (Preferably fine grain such as Diamond Crystal)

-1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

-1 Pair of Tongs

-1 Kitchen towel (one that you don’t mind getting dirty)

-1 nonmetal abrasive sponge or scrub brush

Method of Prep: (For electric stoves only, gas stoves see the notes section at the end)

-Turn on oven to 350 degrees.

-Immediately after you have finished cooking out of your cast iron pan, add hot water and gently scrub the inside and around the edges to remove any food particles or oil from the pan.

-Pour out water and place pan on the stove over medium high heat. Allow pan to get hot and add in salt. Using the tongs and kitchen towel, rub salt around the pan. The salt will begin to turn brown as it cleans the pan.Β  Leave the salt in the pan over medium high heat for approximately 5 minutes.

-Using a heat pad, grab the pan at the handle and dump the salt out into the sink. Place the pan in the oven and let bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes to “season”. (If you have a gas stove refer the bottom of this page for this step)

-Carefully pull pan from the oven and allow to cool. Once cooled add in olive oil and rub all over the inside using a paper towel.

**Note: If you have a gas stove, Over high heat, turn your pan upside down so the inside of the pan is facing the open flame and allow the pan to cook under the flame for 20 minutes. This is another way to season the pan minus the baking. (If you have an electric stove follow the directions above.)

-A good cast iron pan wont stick.Β  The inside should always look shiny. If after a few uses it begins to stick, that’s when you need to re season the pan.

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Driven2Eat

Food & Wine connoisseur, I love to make beautiful things even if nobody cares. Nikon D3100 photo journalist and writer. I've started this blog to share my enthusiasm of the culinary world among other personal interests with folks who maintain involvement in the food world and to enliven others who want to develop a love for cooking, crafting and wellness. Be active, be healthy, be happy. Thanks for stopping by! Cheers :)

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