How to Season and Care for your Cast Iron Cookware
Are you wondering how to Season and Care for your Cast Iron Cookware? Jen asked me to write up a little how to on caring for your cast iron cookware. I have to admit, I love my cast iron skillets. Several years back, Jen bought me a set of All-Clad Stainless cookware that cost a small fortune. Yet when I need a skillet, I almost always go to my Lodge cast iron skillet. I grew up in a poor family in the hills of Kentucky, and the only 2 pieces of cookware I recall are the big cast iron skillet and a stovetop coffee percolator. From an early age I learned to never go near that skillet with dish soap or to leave water in it. OK it wasn’t too early an age, because anyone who has a cast iron skillet will tell you they are HEAVY.
So, you may be wondering, how do I clean my cast iron cookware? It is really pretty easy. After cooking, rinse with hot water and use a a stiff plastic scrubber or plastic scouring pad and clean away any debris. If it is real stubborn to remove you can use a bit or coarse salt as an abrasive to help get it loose. Place the wet skillet on a warm stove burner evaporate any water still on the skillet. Make sure the water is gone, because this will lead to rust. Then take a bit of cooking oil and rub it around with a paper towel to cover the entire surface.
If you follow this ritual every time you use your cast iron cookware, you will always have a non stick surface. The other advantage of cast iron is the great heat distribution and retention. There are two distinct disadvantages to this skillet: 1) weight and 2) a hot handle. Yes, this bad boy is heavy to carry (around 8 pounds) and when you combine that with the hot handle issue, it might be enough to turn a lot of people away.
If you violate this ritual and damage the seasoning on the pan, all is not lost. You will need to reseason the skillet. To do this, you preheat the oven to 350 or so and rub the entire skillet down with vegetable oil and place it face down on the center rack of the oven for 1 hour. Place a baking sheet on the rack under the skillet to catch any oil that drips. After the hour turn off the oven and allow it to cool.
If you follow these basic steps, can deal with the weight, and get a nice oven mitt to deal with the hot handle, you will love the way it cooks. If not, just stare with envy and my perfectly browned steak that you aren’t going to get with your nonstick or All-Clad skillet LOL.