How to Season and Care for Your Cast Iron Cookware
Cast iron cookware is a favorite among chefs and home cooks because of its durability and versatility. Proper seasoning and care for your cast iron skillet, Dutch oven, or griddle pan will ensure that it lasts a long time and performs at its best.
Understanding Seasoning and Its Importance
Cast iron cookware needs seasoning to protect its surface from rusting and to give it non-stick properties. Seasoning creates a hard protective coating that is formed by heating thin layers of oil on the cast iron. As the oil bonds with the metal and converts into a form of plastic, it creates a blackened skin that protects the pan.
Seasoning a New Cast Iron Pan
When you get a new cast iron pan, it may come pre-seasoned, but it’s a good idea to add additional layers. To season a new cast iron pan, follow these steps:
- Wash and dry the pan carefully to remove any factory residue or dust. Dry it thoroughly or put it on the stove on low heat to let all the moisture evaporate.
- Rub a thin layer of vegetable oil, canola oil, or corn oil all over the pan, inside and out.
- Heat the pan in a preheated 450°F oven for 30-60 minutes. After that, turn off the heat and let the pan cool in the oven before removing it.
- Repeat this process three to four times or until the pan has a hard, blackened coating that is smooth to the touch.
How to Care for Cast Iron Cookware
Caring for cast iron cookware is easy if you follow these simple steps:
- After cooking, let the pan cool enough to handle and then rinse it with hot water.
- Use a non-abrasive sponge or brush to clean the pan carefully.
- Don’t use soap, as it can strip off the seasoning.
- Dry the pan thoroughly with a towel and put it on the stove on low heat to let any remaining moisture evaporate.
- Store the pan in a dry place, away from humidity.
- Re-season the pan if the seasoning gets damaged or wears off.
Tips for Caring for Your Cast Iron Cookware
Here are a few extra tips to ensure your cast iron cookware stays in top condition:
- Never soak your cast iron cookware in water.
- Don’t use harsh cleaning products or abrasives.
- Don’t cook acidic foods in your cast iron cookware.
- Use metal utensils carefully to avoid damaging the seasoning or scratching the surface.
- Don’t expose your cast iron cookware to extreme temperature changes, such as from the stove to the fridge.
Seasoning and caring for your cast iron cookware are essential to keep it working at its best and prolong its life. Cast iron cookware is a staple in many kitchens, and with proper care, it can last for generations.
1. Can I use soap to clean my cast iron cookware?
No, you should avoid using soap to clean your cast iron cookware as it can strip off the seasoning.
2. How often should I season my cast iron cookware?
You should season your cast iron cookware occasionally or when the seasoning gets damaged or worn off.
3. What types of oil should I use to season my cast iron cookware?
You can use vegetable oil, canola oil, or corn oil to season your cast iron cookware.
4. How do I remove rust from my cast iron cookware?
To remove rust, use a carborundum rust eraser or a stiff brush or plastic scrubber under running water.
5. How do I store my cast iron cookware?
To store your cast iron cookware, make sure it’s dry and put it in a dry place away from humidity.