How to Care for Cast Iron

 

If you’ve just purchased a new cast iron skillet, you’ll no doubt want to learn the very best cast iron care for your pan to ensure it stands the test of time. 

Cast iron is an excellent material for cookware, being extremely durable, versatile, and heat resistant, making it perfect for everything from whipping up hearty one-pot meals to more experimental, sophisticated, dinner party-esque cuisine. 

While cast iron pots and pans are relatively low maintenance, it is still vital that you familiarise yourself with how to keep yours in the best possible condition to ensure it’s longevity and prevent it from getting damaged.

Everything you need to know about cast iron care

So if you want to learn more about cast iron care — including how to cook with, clean and store your new pan, then read on! Here, we have created an easy to follow guide that will help ensure you make the most of it, and it lasts for as long as you need it to! 

How to clean cast iron

When you first bring your shiny, new pan home, it’s best to give it a clean before you start to cook with it. However, washing it, especially if for the first time, should be done with care. Lots of people advise against using hot, soapy water on cast iron, but for the first wash, this can help make sure that all residue is removed and won’t do any damage to your pan. Just use a mild washing soap, and do so gently. After you have done so, give your pan a thorough rinse and use a soft tea towel to dry it thoroughly. 

Read more about cleaning cast iron here with our recent blog post. 

How to season or re-season your cast iron

Whether your cast iron pot is brand new or second hand, you should season it before you cook anything in it. Seasoning cast iron is a process that helps make it nonstick, and if you fail to do this, it could result in food sticking to the bottom of the pan, making it very difficult to clean off afterwards and could mean you scratch or scrape the bottom of your cast iron too. 

Even if your pan has been pre-seasoned at the factory, it’s worth doing it again, to ensure that you have the best protective layer down.

To season:

  • Spread a thin layer of oil over the skillet, making sure that you have covered the entire surface. There is much debate about the best oil to use to do this. Vegetable oil and grapeseed oil works very well. 
  • Once you have covered your pan, place it upside down on a middle oven rack that has been heated to 375°. (You can put some foil on a lower shelf to catch drips).
  • Leave the pan in the oven for an hour and then let it cool completely.
  • You can repeat the process a few times, which will build up the layer and ensure that your cast iron pan is as robust as possible. After this, the fat you use while cooking will continue to add further layers to the pan to keep it functioning at its best.

For more information about how to season cast iron, please read our blog post 

Storing and ongoing cast iron care

To store your cast iron, you should make sure that it is entirely dry before putting it away as not doing so could cause rust, which will effectively ruin your pan. A single paper towel placed on the inside of it can suck up any excess moisture and prevent it from being scratched by any other pots and pans that could be stacked on top.

When you are using your pan for day to day cooking, you should be able to clean it easily with some warm water and a soft sponge. Cleaning the pan while it is still warm (not hot) can help ensure food doesn’t stick to the surface, which will make the cleaning process even more straightforward. When cleaning day-to-day, it’s best not to use soapy water. 

Make sure that you are gentle with your cast iron when cooking. Using softer utensils such as wood or silicone is preferable as you minimise the risk of scratching the surface of the pan. This is particularly true when building up the seasoning.

By following the above tips, you can ensure that your cast iron pan is well cared for, and will remain ready to use whenever you need it!

If you are looking for cast iron cookware to get your winter warmers cooking - please take a look at our range of cast iron, or alternatively please contact us for more information!