Caring for Cast Iron Cookware

cast iron cookware graphicCast iron is often mentioned in southern cookbooks and recipes. Cast iron is a unique material that offers many characteristics that other materials simply do not offer. My favorite is that it can be used on the stove top then transferred to the oven. I always use cast-iron for pineapple upside cakes, hands down it is the easiest way to do it. One pan equals less clean-up.

There is another advantage unique to cast-iron, the more you use it the better it gets. Unlike any other material on the market it gets better with age. These pans can last over a hundred years and are often handed down through the generations.

If you’ve got a cast-iron pan or plan to purchase one, here are a few tips to clarify using and caring for it to keep it working well and lasting for a long, long time.

#1 Always season your Pan

Always season your pan when you first bring it home, even if it is brand new and says pre-seasoned. This can be done by simply heating it on the stove top until it is smoking hot, then rub oil into and let it cool. Repeat this a few times then you’ll be good to go. Another common method is doing essentially the same in the oven.

#2 Wash Nicely

Don’t be afraid to use soup and water to clean your traditional cast iron. The seasoning layer of the pan is actually polymerized oil and will not be removed with standard dish soap and water. Do not however soak cast iron. Instead wash it and dry it immediately then apply a thin layer of oil to re-season your pan.

*If you de-glaze your pan immediately after cooking, clean-up will be a breeze.

#3 Stay Dry!

The biggest tip is to keep your cast iron as dry as possible when not actively being used. Why? Rust spots will occur if there are any wet areas over time. I personally wash mine then return it to the warm stove for just a few minutes and let the heat evaporate the water. I then take a paper towel with a few drops of oil and rub it along the inside of the pan.

#4 Store Properly

Store your cast iron pan in any space where it will not have a chance of encountering moisture. You can stack multiple together with little to no problems as cast iron is very resistant to scratches.

Now that you know how to properly care for your cast-iron and aren’t afraid to use, let’s start cooking. Share a comment or link below with some of your favorite cast-iron recipes. Come back next week and we will share our top 3 recipes for cast iron cooking.