Taking Care Of Your Cast Iron Pans

 cast iron pans

Last week when I posted on cast iron I recieved lots of comments and emails. I had no idea it would be such a popular subject. Because there were so many questions, I decided to do a second post on cast iron.

First, let me say I am not a cast iron expert. I have only been using it for a few years. Most of what I know about cast iron I learned from my mom and by trial and error.

Several of you asked about the fact that I use my cast iron on my smooth top stove. I had never really thought about it. I have done it for the last few years and never thought twice about it. I have been careful using cast iron, but I always am careful on my cooktop. But since several of you asked, I decided to check into whether or not I should be.

I started by asking a few friends who said they also had used cast iron on smooth top stoves. But I knew that we could be wrong, so I called Whirlpool, who is the manufacturer of my stove. I asked about using cast iron on my stovetop and asked if it would damage it. The person I talked to said she was sure it was fine, but she would check into it for me. She put me on hold and looked up a few things and said, yes, you can use cast iron on your smooth top stove.

However, if you have a smooth top stove and would like to use cast iron, I would recommend that you call the manufacturer of your stove and find out what they recommend. That way you will know for sure.

As far as seasoning cast iron, all but two of my pieces have been the newer preseasoned ones. So, I have not done a lot of seasoning of cast iron. When I do use a new preseasoned piece, I like to cook something greasy in it the first few times I use it. I find that helps it get a better coating.

If you have an brand new piece that is not preseasoned or an older piece that has been in the family or that you have picked up used, you can clean it up and reseason it. Lodge cookware, my favorite brand of cast iron to use, has some good information on doing that. Martha Stewart also has information on caring and cleaning cast iron.

Here are a few other tips that I have learned that keeps my cast iron in good shape. First of all, I don’t use soap on it. I know many of you are saying, gross how can you not wash it!! I wash it, I just don’t use soap or scrub it hard. Once it is seasoned well it is just like non-stick. You won’t need to scrub it or use soap. You want the oils to build up on it. So wash it well with just water, and you should be good.

I don’t soak my cast iron for more than a few minutes. It will rust if you leave it to soak for too long.

I also don’t cook acidic foods like tomato sauces in it. They will eat through the coating, and you will loose the non-stick coating that you are trying to build up.

I also dry my cast iron as soon as I wash it. Do not leave it out to air dry. It will rust. I also occasionally lightly oil my cast iron after washing and drying it.

If you take care of your cast iron, it should last for years.

If you use and love cast iron, what are your tips for taking care of it and making it last?

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures

Comments

  1. I just love cooking in my cast iron skillet as well, it took me awhile to really get the hang of using it, I once tried (before it was well seasoned) to cook eggs in it, it was a horrible sticky mess, and I had to scrub to get the egg bits out of it.
    One trick I do with mine is keep it oiled in my oven, so when I preheat my oven it gets an extra baking, then I remove it before using the oven.

  2. Kimarie @ Cardamom's Pod says:

    I’m actually re-seasoning my cast iron pans at this very moment! I prefer to use lard. I’m using my grill outdoors right now because the smell of seasoning in the oven is terrible! I have a 15 inch skillet and 3 griddles stacked in there. By putting just one burner on low, it keeps the temp about 350 or so – you can put an oven thermometer in there if you want to make sure. I leave them in for an hour or until I see that the coating has soaked in and become black.

    I was really encouraged by an old Finnish guy who stopped by our place and taught us some tips on caring for cast iron. We use wooden or plastic utensils, wash them right away with warm water and a brush if needed, then dry lightly with a rag. Then we put the pans back on the stove on a low burner until every bit of water has evaporated. When the water is off, you can spray lightly with cooking spray, or I use a paper towel and put a very light coating of lard on. That keeps it black and shiny. When we cook, we make sure to not skimp on the butter or oil. Also, a deep frying job in a deep pan does a great easy re-seasoning.

    What’s really fun is being able to take our cast iron out of the house to use on an open fire, then clean them up and use them inside as well – that way I don’t need a separate set of pots for cookouts/camping.

  3. I always dry my cast iron on the stove over a low heat. That way I know it’s really dry and not going to rust.

  4. Great post! I was just explaining to my friend about this very subject and she thought I was “nuts” to be exact! I have 5 cast iron pots and pans and NEVER used soap on them. Soap will actually embed into the iron and can cook back out into your food! After I wash them I put them back on the stove above the heat for a minute to stop any chance of rusting or spotting…those pots and pans are older than me (over 35 years young) and are in better shape today than when they were molded!! Have fun, Mike

  5. Nice tips! If at all possible, I’d suggest NEVER letting water touch your cast iron pan! Sounds scary, but all you really need to do is pour some coarse salt into the still warm pan (or heat it under low heat) and use some tongs to rub a paper towel around in there, moving the salt all around the pan. The salt will pick up all the nasty bits and turn black. Then just pour the salt out and wipe the pan with a clean paper towel and you should be good to go! Takes all of 30 seconds and there’s no concern of rusting!

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