Seasoning Cast Iron – How To Care for Cast Iron Cookware.
If you’ve never owned cast iron cookware, you would think a quick wash is enough—except that it isn’t. Turns out this material is a little more labor-intensive to take care of than you think. However, treat it right, and your skillet will love you right back. This is your Cast Iron 101 tutorial.
There are three areas we will focus on: seasoning, cleaning, and everyday use. All three are important to extending the life of your cookware. If you drop the ball on one, the other areas will suffer. A small investment of your money and time is necessary with cast iron.
When you first purchase your cookware, you’ll want to season it. This is what gives cast iron its nonstick surface. Coat the surface with cooking oil and place in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for an hour. Dry it with paper towels, and you’re ready to cook in it. The more frequently you season, the better the surface gets.
Lodge Cast Iron products sold at Chefs’ Toys, come already pre-seasoned so you can start cooking right away. If your cast iron cooking products become dull over time, just repeat the seasoning process.
Cleaning of your cast iron equipment should be done shortly after you’re finished using it. Rinse it out with hot water and dry thoroughly. Put a thin layer of oil on the cooking surface, then keep it covered with a dry paper towel. Lodge suggests a thin layer of vegetable oil, just enough to restore the shine. This protects the metal from moisture.
When getting it clean, it’s okay to use dishwashing soap every now and then, but you only need a few drops (a little goes a long way). For tough stains, try scrubbing with a nonmetal brush and mild abrasive. If rust occurs or the surface becomes sticky, you’ll need to clean it with steel wool and do another round of seasoning. If there’s one thing you should always remember: never soak it in water. Ever.
Be cautious when handling cast iron. It retains heat remarkably well, so keep a thick oven mitt or kitchen towel when reaching for your cookware. And it’s okay to use metal utensils when cooking with it; it can handle a little tough love. Cast iron is best for searing and frying foods, but an occasional deglaze or simmer won’t ruin the seasoning. Moulin Bistro’s Chef Jeoffrey Offer utilizes their cookware during breakfast service, “We cook and serve dishes like our Pain Perdue in cast iron skillets because of their ability to retain an even heat. Although it is not traditionally served in cast iron, doing so gives our dish a rustic appearance.”
Cast iron can be a workhorse in the kitchen, when used properly. The magical thing about cast iron cookware is the more you use it the better it gets. Check out the cookware selection at your local Chefs’ Toys the next time you’re purchasing equipment.
Photo Credit: Talia Samuels