4 Tips for Caring for Cast Iron Cookware

Cast iron pots and pans are used by many chefs and accomplished home cooks. There are many benefits to using cast iron, and a number of different types of recipes can be cooked in these types of pots of pans. A quality cast iron pot or pan can last a lifetime. To ensure that you get the most out of your cast iron pots and pans, you should always follow the care instructions.

1. Season Cookware Prior to Use

Before using a cast iron pot or pan for the first time, it must be seasoned. This refers to filling in any small holes or pores in the metal with some type of grease or oil. To properly season the pan, a very light layer of oil should be rubbed into the cooking surface and then wiped out with a cloth or paper towel. You can use vegetable, canola, or sunflower oil as well as shortening or lard for this process.

2. Repeat High Heat after Seasoning

Afterwards, the cast iron cookware must be placed in a hot oven for 30 minutes. For the best results, this process should be repeated three or four times. After a cast iron pot or pan is seasoned, food will never stick to the pan since the seasoning process makes the cast iron completely non-stick. Over time, it is possible for areas of the pan to lose its seasoning. If this happens the pan can be cleaned and re-seasoned.

3. Do not Soak in Sink or Dishwasher

Unless you use your cast iron pot or pan everyday, it needs to be clean to prevent the oil used in the seasoning process from becoming rancid. This can be done using minimal soap and hot water. Cast iron should never be left to soak in the sink. Wash the pots and pans quickly and then dry them. Cast iron cookware should never be put in the dishwasher!

4. Store Properly

Cast iron pots and pans can rust if they are not stored properly. When you place your cast iron pots and pans in a cabinet make sure that they are totally dry. Do not place the lids on the pots and pans. If you live in a humid climate, you may want to place a couple sheets of paper towel in the pot or pan to absorb moisture.

Cast iron pots and pans have been used for cooking for hundreds of years. If you take care of your cast iron pots and pans, you will never have to spend a dollar to replace them.

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