Seasoning Cast Iron
Cast iron cookware is the old-fashioned way to achieve a meal that is lower in fat. If conditioned and properly cared for, cast iron cookware will obtain a slick, non-stick, consistency that is perfect for cooking without adding any oil or butter, thus making your foods less fattening.
Another pro of cooking with cast iron is the quality of the meal in general. Cast iron heats up quickly, but heats evenly.
With the economy the way it is, frugal living is also important. Choosing cast iron as your cookware is very beneficial in this way as well. All you need is one good sized cast iron pan, and if cared for properly, it will outlive you. It will be good for several generations.
They’re also not very hard to find. They’re everywhere! You can even find them at flea markets and lawn sales. Keep your eye out for one!
How to Clean Cast Iron
- Let it cool.
- Clean it with water as hot as you can stand, with a little bit of dishwashing soap. Some people say not to use soap on cast iron, but in a world crawling with bacteria using soap on a surface we prepare the food that enters our bodies seems crucial.
- Rinse it very well.
- Dry it very well.
- Store with the lid off. And I hang mine on nails in my kitchen.
How to Season Cast Iron
- Seasoning a pan is baking coats of oil into it to make it have a slick, glassy coating for cooking on.
- Cover the pan in a light coat of oil. Vegetable or shortening are the best types. Wipe clean. It will look like there is no oil on it, but there is.
- Put the pan upside down on tin foil in the (not pre-heated) oven. Bake it for half an hour at 450-500 degrees, or one hour at 300 degrees.
- Turn the oven off and leave the pan in the oven, letting it cool to room temperature.
Care for Cast Iron Pans
- Never put anything cold into an already hot cast iron pan.
- Use wooden utensils to prevent scratching.
- Keep heats low as much as possible.
- Do not store foods in the cast iron, unless you plan on reseasoning after.
- Never put cast iron in the dishwasher.
- Wash as soon as possible after cooking with cast iron.
- Don’t soak cast iron.
- Always remember, just because a cast iron pan has rust or hasn’t been used in a while doesn’t mean its life is over! Give it a good scrubbing and season as many times as it takes to bring it back to life. Your cast iron pan will always forgive you if you slip up in its care, as long as you keep seasoning it. Trust me, even if it looks like the photo below, there’s still hope for it.
Where to Find Cast Iron
As I said, cast iron cookware is found anywhere. Flea markets, lawn sales, even thrift stores might have them. However, you can also buy them brand new if that’s what you’d prefer.
Make sure you give your cast iron a name. They'll be in your family for generations.