Using a cast iron skillet can seem a bit overwhelming since you’ve probably heard all the rules around using and cleaning it, and to be honest it is not the same as using your typical non-stick pans.
Using it and cleaning it is different, but as soon as you jump in and begin using your cast iron, you won’t want to go back.
If you’re interested in purchasing a cast iron skillet, I’d suggest Lodge. It is one of the best brands out there, and you can find a great starter skillet.
White I explain how to clean your cast iron, I also want to explain seasoning and storing.
Knowing how to season and store your skillet will help in the clean-up process. So let’s dive in!
When cleaning your cast iron, two things to remember are avoid using soap and keep it dry. I don’t suggest using soap on your cast iron. I know it seems counterintuitive, but soap is not the way for cast iron.
Soap is designed to take away oil, and cast iron needs oils in order to work. If you really want to use soap, use a mild soap and be aware you may need to add extra oil after cleaning.
The good news is, there are several other ways to keep your cast iron clean and working beautifully.
The thing to remember after each of these methods, is make sure your skillet is dried off, warmed up on the stove to evaporate any remaining water and then coat the skillet with a small amount of oil.
This should be done every time once you’re done cleaning your pan.
Oil your cast iron – You don’t need to bake your cast iron skillet after every use. Just make sure it’s completely dried and you’ve coated it with a thin layer of oil.
Over time your cast iron may begin to have a build-up of black stuff or there may be black flakes coming off your cast iron, do not freak out.
It isn’t anything toxic or scary; it is just built up carbon from the oils and food you’ve prepared in your skillet.
I would suggest the salt and potato method or using Bar Keeper’s Friend if this happens.
You can always scrub your skillet clean and then re-season it. It will be like having an entirely new cast iron skillet!
Even if you haven’t known how to use your cast iron or have not been maintaining it, the good news is most of the time you can bring it back to life.
Knowing how to season your cast iron skillet is one of the most important pieces of owning cast iron. You will want to season it when you first get it as well as upkeep.
Is your cast iron getting grey spots on it? This means the seasoning is gone; time to re-season!
Are you restoring an old skillet? You need to know how to season it!
Have no fear, I will get into the nitty gritty of getting gunk off your cast iron, but this is a must-know technique when owning cast iron.
One of the easiest places to store your cast iron skillet is right on the stove top, it’s accessible and doesn’t take up cupboard space.
If you’re not going to be using your cast iron skillet on a daily basis, then store it in a cupboard and line it with paper towels or a towel to absorb any extra oil and to make sure it stays dry.
There does come a time when you will have to say “adios” to your cast iron skillet. Although rare, time and wear takes its toil on everything, and sadly cast iron is no different. These are the three times you should discard your old skillet.
I cannot rave about cast iron enough. It is a great non-toxic option for the kitchen, and once you’ve learned the basics of cleaning it is easy to clean.
My hope is you now feel confident to either restore your old cast iron skillet or jump-in and join the cast iron band wagon!
Photo by Kim Siever from Flickr
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