The exact origin of the cast iron cookware is unknown but it definitely has been around for a long time. Cast-iron cauldrons were first used in Asia 1,300 years ago. Before the 1960s, cast iron pots and pans were the cookware of choice but eventually its popularity dwindled when non-stick Teflon cookware was introduced. Over the last decade or so, however, home cooks everywhere have gone back to good ol’ cast iron pans after realizing that it offers several key benefits:
- To start with, cast iron is inexpensive. This is true when you compare it to Teflon and ceramic cookware.
- Next, cast iron is nearly impossible to destroy. If you’ve ever own one, you know this to be true.
- It also has superior heat retention which makes it ideal for various applications including baking bread.
- Finally, it’s available in a variety of styles and sizes. You can buy cast iron pans, pots, grill pans, skillets, Dutch ovens, and a lot more.
In spite of all the features and benefits of cast iron, there are still some who are reluctant to buy this kind of cookware due to its reputation for being tough to clean. It also tends to corrode fast. But the truth of the matter is that if you know how to take care of your cast iron pans and pots, you’ll find that these issues are unfounded. If you season your cast iron kitchenware it will not rust and food will not stick onto it.
Cleaning a cast iron pan
Cleaning a cast-iron pan entails no more than wiping it down with a cotton dishcloth or paper towel. Even if there’s food stuck to it, it will come right off as long as it’s well seasoned. If there are some stubborn particles, you can simply scrape them off using a spatula.
If these steps still aren’t enough, you can do the following:
- Place the pan in the sink.
- Add half an inch of warm water.
- Sprinkle half a cup of salt to the mix.
- Scrub the pan with a sponge or a stainless steel scrubber.
- Rinse the pan.
- Place it inside your oven that has been pre-heated to 350F until the pan is completely dry.
Seasoning cast iron before you use it is a must. And every time you expose it to water (even after drying) you need to season it again. Follow these steps:
- Preheat your oven to 350F.
- Wipe down your cast iron pan with oil all over (preferably vegetable oil).
- Place into the oven for one hour.
- Let it cool and wipe down with paper towel.
- While slightly warm, drizzle with flaxseed oil or any neutral vegetable oil.
- Wipe with a paper towel.
Aside from what we’ve talked about above, you also need to know how to properly store your cast iron cookware. The rule is to completely dry them before you store them. Even the slightest moisturize will lead to rusting. To be doubly sure, place a cloth or paper towel onto the pan when you store it in your kitchen cabinet.
Be sure to also inform your other household members of the special way to care for your cast iron cookware. If you use maid services like Merry Maid or Molly Maids, you should also make it a point to give them special instructions when cleaning and storing your cast iron pots and pans.