If you ask me, cast iron cookware is one of the best surfaces to cook food on. You can use it to cook anything like making pancakes, frying fish, stir-frying vegetables, or searing steak. Not only is it affordable and versatile but it also spreads the heat evenly, leading to well-cooked food.
Having said that, cleaning and maintaining cast iron cookware is a challenging task. You must never leave cast iron cookware in water for an extended period of time because it will cause it to rust.
How do you clean cast iron cookware, get rid of all the dirt, grease, and food sticking to it without leaving it submerged in water or throwing it into the dishwasher? Let us discuss ways in which you can clean cast iron cookware, maintain it and enjoy cooking for decades to come.
Steps to season a brand new cast iron skillet
A brand new skillet or cast iron frying pan is ready to cook the moment you bring it home, right? Wrong, you need to clean it and care for it before you get started. By seasoning a brand new cast iron skillet, you ensure that the surface is clean and that it cooks food evenly.
- Wash your cast iron cookware with hot soapy water. This is the first and last time you did it. Don’t use harsh soaps or abrasives to clean it. Dry thoroughly.
- Soak a cloth in vegetable oil and clean the pan’s surface and also the exterior.
- Place it upside down in an oven for an hour and heat it at 350 degrees centigrade.
Proper method to clean cast iron cookware post-cooking
When you cook for a long period on a cast-iron skillet, you will notice that its color gets darker. A dark, shiny cast-iron skillet is an indication that the cookware is properly seasoned. It renders a desirable flavor to your dishes. Though food grease adds a touch of magic to your dishes, make sure that any residue must be eliminated to prevent rust.
A piece of advice for those who want their cast iron cookware to last for ages - Never keep your cast iron cookware soaked in water for long. Nor should you thrust it in a dishwasher or scrub it with a stainless steel scouring pad. If you make any of these mistakes, you will have to restore the seasoning and that is not fun at all.
Follow the method below for the best results.
- Give your cast-iron a nice rinse with soapy water, don’t soak it in water.
- Place it on the burner again and wait till the pan is completely dry.
- When the moisture on the pan dries off completely, pour a few drops of vegetable oil on the inner part of the pan. Wipe it gently.
- When the pan cools down, cover it with a paper plate to help it absorb moisture. Now, store it in a cool and dry place.
How to remove rust from a cast iron pan/skillet.
- Use a medium-grade (green one) scouring pad to clean the rust.
- Wash with mild detergent, rinse properly, and dry with a paper towel.
- Don’t forget to season the inside and outside of the pan with vegetable oil.
If you use your cooking pan/skillet every day, you may use oil, groundnut oil, or grapeseed oil to season it and protect it from rust. However, if you use the pan sparingly, it is better to use heavy saturated fat like lard, butter, or coconut oil. Whichever oil you choose, don’t use loads of it, just use enough to cover the pan’s inside. Keep it nice and shiny.
Ideal way to store and maintain your cast iron pan cookware.
How and where you store your cast iron cookware is of vital importance. Store it in a cool, dry place. Not just humid air, but even warm air can start the oxidation process, leading to rust. Don’t ever store cast iron cookware on top of each other. Even though they are sturdy, having too much weight and wear & tear can reduce its life while harming the seasoning. For best results, store it on the burner and use it whenever necessary.