Cast iron cookware holds a special position in our culinary corner because of its versatility. It retains and distributes heat evenly and the best part is that it knows no indentation, no wrecked handles, and no knob missing from the lids. However, taking good care of cast iron is important. Check out some of the easiest tips and tricks to help you take care of cast iron cookware effectively at home:
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF CAST IRON COOKWARE :
WASHING: After you have purchased your cast iron pan, it is perfectly fine to use gentle soapy water to wash it for the first time. But after that no more soaps and harsh scouring pads for they will not only remove the traces of food but also the seasoning. Forget running it through the dishwasher too. Every time you are done with cooking, wash your cast iron pan using hot water without delay. With the help of a spoon scrape the tough bits sticking on to the pan. Then rub the pan with paper towel to remove other traces of cooking residue.
SEASONING: Season your pan to create a non-stick coating. Preheat your oven at 300 degrees F. Put foil on your oven’s bottom rack and place the pan on the top rack. Heat for ten minutes and remove the pan. Use a paper towel or cloth to coat your pan with lard or vegetable shortening. Now place it back to the oven for ten minutes. Remove any extra fat that remains on the pan. Now, turning the pan upside down on the top rack, bake for one hour. Turn the oven off and let the pan cool itself in the oven. Repeat the process at regular intervals for better seasoning and maintenance.
DRYING: Do not soak cast iron cookware. Wash it using hot water and do away with cooking residue using a sponge. If bits of food tend to stick to the surface, scrub the skillet with a cup of coarse kosher salt and rinse with warm water. Dry it properly and heat it for 5 minutes after coating the skillet with some lard. Once it cools, wipe it off with paper towel.
Additional Tips :
Refrain from cooking citrusy fruits or tomatoes till your cast iron pan is well seasoned. Otherwise, your food may taste somewhat metallic.
Refrain from using vegetable oil while seasoning as the coating might turn sticky. While your cast iron pan is still new, start with cooking food items that has more fat content so that the seasoning gets better.
Abstain from storing food in cast iron pans as the surface might be affected by the acid contained in food.