Caring for Cast Iron –  Simplified

Caring for Cast Iron – Simplified

Have you been wanting to get a cast iron pan but dread the perceived maintenance?  I did, for years. Cast iron pans provide the most decadent caramelization of your food and are super versatile.

Cast Iron pans can go from stovetop to oven directly and provide the most flavourful cooking experience.  

I avoided them for years.  I saw all the photos of food cooked in them but then quickly said…..not me….I am not cleaning that!  I think we have all seen in parents or grandparents home a rusted out cast iron pan in the cupboard at some time!

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One day I got adventurous and purchased a small one to test drive it.  I was in the market for a new pan and the salesperson talked me into it…..and talking she had to do.  I was not convinced that the maintenance was as easy as she said.

Once home, I also did a little research on the internet on how to look after my new purchase.  This did not add to my perception as there turned out to be varying degrees of opinions out there on how to care for cast iron.  

Instead of reading more, I thought I would just dive in and give it a try.  After my first cooking session with my new pan I was converted and I am here to tell you my cast iron pan routine!

Simplicity

Personally, I strive for simplicity in my life and love that this is working for me.  

So basically the most important piece is to keep your pan seasoned and I will explain how you accomplish this.  

The first time you use your pan you will want to rinse it out with warm water and dry with a paper towel.  Next you want to take some shortening (or sometimes I have used grape seed oil) for your initial seasoning.  If it comes with directions I would follow them for this initial seasoning as some come already seasoned.

With my pan, I had to season it myself.  I simply took a paper towel with a real small amount of shortening and rubbed it all over, inside and out.  Then it goes into a warm oven for 20 minutes. And you are done! I simply leave my pan in the oven.

Next, go ahead and try your favorite recipe in your newly seasoned pan.

Clean up time….

Now some purists would never put soap in thier pan to clean it.  I do, but only when I am cooking with garlic or something similarly fragrant.  If I am cooking pancakes or similar I simply wipe it out with my damp dish cloth.  

If I happen to clean with soap I only use 1 drop of soap and I also have simple plastic scrapers that help the clean up.

Never let your pan sit in your sink with water to soak.  This is where rust can begin.

Simply wash out your pan with warm water, dry with paper towel, put about a dime size of oil in the bottom and wipe it around the inside.  Put in a warm over for about 20 minutes (some say this is optional).  

It’s that simple!  Now, go ahead and enjoy the benefits of cast iron….you will love it!

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