With just a little care, a cast iron skillet can last a lifetime... and beyond!
Cast iron is wonderful to cook in... it distributes the heat like no other material... it produces the most beautiful browned meat... and is virtually non-stick! Cooking in cast iron also adds much needed iron to our diets!
Before you begin to cook in a cast iron pan the pan must be "seasoned" properly... here's how...
Many new cast iron pans come already "pre-seasoned". But I would season them again...
By seasoning a cast iron pan you are placing a barrier between the cast iron and the food. Cast iron is porous and will absorb the oil in the seasoning process to insure a non-stick surface.
Here are a few tips to keep your cast iron in tip-top shape...
*If you don't like the sticky feel that seasoning with vegetable oil can often leave, season your pan with lard. This however can be a smokey process! I find my pans do just fine seasoned with vegetable oil.
* Wash your pan while it is still warm. Try to avoid steel wool scrubbers or soap. This can ruin the seasoned surface. Use hot water and a plastic scrubber. If there is any stuck on bits, fill the pan with a couple of inches of water, turn on the burner, bring the water to a boil and let the bits dissolve. You can also scrape up any bits with a wooden spoon.
* Make sure your cast iron is completely dry after washing. Cast iron can rust.
* Swipe a little vegetable oil on a paper towel on the inside of your cast iron before putting it away. (Again, this might cause a sticky feel... it's really a preference.)
* Occasionally repeat the seasoning process. Cooking acidic foods and cleaning can slowly remove the seasoned barrier. To help preserve a well seasoned pan, cook fatty foods in it such as bacon, steaks and hamburgers.
*Store in a dry place.