I respect copper, I appreciate Teflon, but I LOVE my cast iron cookware!
Check out the advantages –
- Lasts virtually forever
- Retains heat
- Adds a small amount of iron to your diet
- Can be placed in a hot oven, even used for cooking one dish meals
- Once properly seasoned, cast iron has a non stick surface
The rub is that last bullet point. How do you properly season cast iron to get that famous non stick surface? And once having obtained that non stick surface, how do you retain it?
How to properly season cast iron –
Start by washing inside and out with warm water and a mild detergent. Dry thoroughly. It’s a good idea to place the cookware on a stove top burner set to low for a few minutes to make sure all moisture is driven off. Next, using a paper towel rub a small amount of cooking oil (less is more) on the inside and outside of the pan. What kind of cooking oil? Vegetable, olive, and melted shortening all work equally well. Lastly, place the pan on the center shelf of a cold oven and heat to 375 degrees – give or take. Set a timer for about an hour, and turn off the oven when the time is elapsed. Let the oven cool with the cookware still inside. Remove the cookware when cooled.
How to retain the seasoning –
Most important: Do not wash! Even mild soap and water can degrade the non stick surface. Simply wipe clean with a paper towel. Isn’t this a little unsanitary? Perhaps. But what’s gonna live on a hot cast iron surface? If food sticks, use a scrapper such as the one made by Pampered Chef (no, I don’t own stock or get a kickback).
Lastly: You may have to repeat the seasoning steps to improve the non stick surface.
Oops. One more lastliest thing. They don’t make cast iron cookware like they used to. Your best bet for obtaining quality cast iron is garage sales, flea markets, swap meets and so on. Most important thing to look for (other than a sweet deal) is a smooth cooking surface. Some of today’s cast iron cookware has a pebbly cooking surface with just about defeats the non stick advantage.
So what do you think of cast iron cookware? Got any good tips or tricks? You can leave a comment here or even subscribe.