Caring for Cast Iron Cookware
by Lee Wyatt
(last updated February 24, 2021)
Cast iron cookware is one of the most durable options available on the market, and because they are so easily cared for they have in fact has been around for hundreds of years. The trick to having your cast iron lasting as long as possible is to learn how to care for it properly. Caring for cast iron cookware isn't all that difficult and shouldn't take any additional time beyond what you already spend on caring for your other cookware.
- Season properly. Perhaps the single most important part of being able to care for your cast iron cookware is to season it properly. It can easily be argued that by properly seasoning your cast iron it will last for practically for ever. To properly season your cast iron you need to first wash the item as thoroughly as possible to remove any shipping residue. Once you have done that melt some fat or oil in the cast iron, and allow it to get really hot. Don't allow it to get much above 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour, and should be done in the oven. Allow the cast iron to completely cool down in place, and then clean it again before you wash it all again.
- Hot water. When you have seasoned your cast iron properly you can begin using it. This means that you will need to wash it properly. When you do wash it, you need to wash immediately in hot water. It really doesn't matter if you use soap or not, the key is to have the water be as hot as it can possibly be. When you do wash, make sure that you don't scrub too hard or you could end up damaging the seasoning.
- Completely dry. Your cast iron can begin to rust if you don't do two things. The first thing is that you don't have it seasoned properly. Another common reason for rust forming is that you are now drying it completely, or properly, when you are finished washing it. Use either a towel to dry the cast iron, and then (if you want) take a moment to re-season the cast iron. It is not necessary to do this, but it can go a long way to help keep your cast iron looking its best.
- Store properly. After having cleaned your cast iron properly, it is now time to store it properly. Contrary to popular opinion, this means that you don't put the lid (if you have one) on it. The lid has a tendency to trap in moisture, which could lead to rust or other problems. Another way that you can help prevent any problems from forming is to store the cast iron with a cloth or paper towel in it as well. This will help draw out any remaining moisture either in the air or cast iron, and help protect the cast iron.
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