Cast iron skillets have been used for years in cooking and some people swear by them for certain dishes. ‘ I know my grandfather swore by a cast iron skillet in order to fry his famous fried chicken. yet, for many people cooking in cast iron can be intimidating because of the cleaning process involved before cooking with it for the first time and each time after.
The Benefits of Cooking in Cast Iron
There are many benefits to cooking with a cast iron skillet. Cast iron is heavy and gets incredibly hot and stays that way. It is great for foods that require high heat for cooking. This makes the cast iron an ideal choice for foods that need high heat.
But a good cast iron pan is only as good as you clean it, if not treated properly over time it will become unusable. Cleaning a cast-iron pan is called seasoning the skillet and we are going to explain how to do it below.
What You Need To Season Your Cast Iron Pan
- Dish soap
- Sponge or stiff brush
- Clean, dry cloths or paper towels
- Vegetable oil
- Aluminum foil
- An oven
- Get ready: Gather your supplies and then preheat oven to 350°F.
- Wash the skillet: Wash the skillet with warm, soapy water and a sponge or stiff brush. Cast iron should not normally be washed with soap, but it’s fine here since the pan is about to be seasoned.
- Rinse and dry: Rinse and thoroughly dry the skillet with a clean, dry cloth or paper towels.
- Add oil: Pour a little vegetable oil or melted shortening into the skillet. A tablespoon or two is plenty. Vegetable oil and shortening are the most commonly recommended oils used for seasoning, but according to Lodge, you can use any oil of your choice.
- Rub: Use a clean cloth or paper towel to rub the coat around the entire skillet.
- Flip the skillet over: Don’t forget the outside — and bottom — of the skillet. You want a thin coat of oil around the entire piece.
- Bake the skillet: Place the skillet upside down on the oven’s center rack. Place a sheet of aluminum foil below the rack to catch any drips. Bake for an hour.
- Let the skillet cool: Turn off the heat and allow to the skillet to cool completely before removing from oven. Once it’s cooled down, you’re good to go!
How To Clean A Cast Iron Pan
- Clean the skillet immediately after use, while it is still hot or warm. Don’t soak the pan or leave it in the sink because it may rust.
- Add hot water: Wash the skillet by hand using hot water and a sponge or stiff brush. (Use tongs or wear gloves if the water is extra hot!) Avoid using the dishwasher, soap, or steel wool, as these may strip the pan’s seasoning.
- Remove the stuck-on bits: To remove stuck-on food, scrub the pan with a paste of coarse kosher salt and water. Then rinse or wipe with a paper towel. Stubborn food residue may also be loosened by boiling water in the pan.
- Dry the skillet thoroughly: Thoroughly towel dry the skillet or dry it on the stove over low heat.
- Oil it liberally: Using a cloth or paper towel, apply a light coat of vegetable oil or melted shortening to the inside of the skillet. Some people also like to oil the outside of the skillet. Buff to remove any excess.
- Put it away: Store the skillet in a dry place.