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?