If you have cast iron pans then you know how amazing they are to cook with, they change the taste of food in a way that is hard to describe and you can’t replicate that taste with regular pans.
Cast iron is tough, a well-seasoned pan will last a lifetime as long as it’s maintained. Buying a pan can be an investment but if it’s taken care of it could easily last your whole life and you would never need to buy another pan again.
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I am not an expert on maintaining cast iron pan’s other than what I do with mine, it can seem complicated but it’s actually not. A good resource is Lodge Cast Iron, they have a section called Cast Iron 101 that has everything you want to know about the benefits of cast iron and what you need to do to protect your investment. If you ever decide to invest in cast iron my only advice would be to buy a pre-seasoned pan, the hard part of seasoning is done for you so you can start cooking right away.
Let’s assume your pan is already seasoned
We are going to talk about some do’s and don’ts when it comes to taking care of cast iron so we’re going to assume the pan is already well seasoned, I’m not going to go into all the details of seasoning a cast iron pan because that could be an entire book by itself, basically, seasoning is multiple layers of oil over years that has been heated to high temperatures to create a rust-resistant, nonstick surface.
How to take care of your cast iron
If you want to maintain your pan to last a lifetime, here are some do’s and don’ts to take care of your cast iron pan:
- This sounds a little funny but one of the best ways to keep your pan in good condition is to use it! Frying and Searing is the best way to keep your pan seasoned.
- Let your pan heat up for at least 10 minutes over medium heat, don’t try to turn it on high to get it warmed up really fast. Once the pan reaches the temperature that you want, it will hold that heat for a long time, once it’s hot it stays hot. Make sure you have some kind of protection for your hands, you can use a regular potholder but if the pan is really hot and has just come out of the oven a regular potholder will not be thick enough to protect your hand from burning. You need something that can withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees. This All Clad Cast Iron Skillet Grip Heat Protection Up To 500 Degrees would be perfect to protect your hands.
- Acidic foods can be harmful to your pan if it’s not very well seasoned, food like tomatoes, citrus, or deglazing the pan with wine can break down the seasoning and get into the metal, and possibly leach into your food. Don’t use a new pan, use a pan that has been seasoned for years, if you are cooking acidic food just let it simmer for a short time.
- When cooking use wood, silicone, or rubber utensils, Metal spatulas aren’t an absolute no-no, they can be used to flip burgers or pancakes occasionally, just use caution.
- Never store food in your cast iron.
Cleaning your cast iron
- Never put your cast iron in the dishwasher, always handwash!!!
- Clean up right away, don’t let your cast iron soak in water.
- There is a debate if you should use soap or not, you decide what works best when it comes to soap, just make sure to use a nylon or some kind of gentle brush with water to get all the particles off, never use steel wool. This brush is specifically made for cast iron Full Circle Cast Iron Brush Nylon Bristles Bamboo Handle.
- If you have food that is stuck on and won’t come off with the brush and water use a little table salt and some oil to scrub off the stuck-on food particles then wipe clean with a rag and rinse with water.
- Dry your cast iron thoroughly, do not stack or hang your pan until it is bone dry. Rust is the enemy.
- If you store your cast iron in a cabinet always lay a paper towel inside the pan whether you stack it with something else or not, the paper towel will absorb any moisture even in the air, moisture can cause rust and rust is the enemy!!
Please feel free to share on social media if you enjoyed reading these tips. If you are looking for a good pan according to Delish these are the 4 Best Cast Iron Skillets for 2021.
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