Have you recently bought a new cast iron cookware knowing its health benefits? Wow, that's great! So, now is the time you have got to learn how to wash, season, and maintain your cast iron cookware. Please know that cast iron is very strong, and with a little practice, you can learn how to take care and restore it anytime.
This blog is going to help you with the basic tips on cleaning your cast iron cookware, seasoning and maintaining it.
- Your First Cast Iron Cleaning
- How to Clean Cast Iron After Cooking
- Season Your Cast Iron Pan
- Storing Cast Iron cookware
1. Your First Cast Iron Cleaning
If you are just peeling the sticker off that new cast iron skillet, the very first thing you should do is wash the skillet. This washing will be slightly different from the daily upkeep because we’re going to suggest hot, soapy water!
Maybe you’ve heard that you shouldn’t use soap on cast iron, but that’s not exactly true. When it comes to new and used skillets — a little soap and water is a good thing. This first wash removes factory residue or rust bits. Make sure you rinse and dry the pan well after this first washing.
2. How to Clean Cast Iron After Cooking:
Let's start with a very basic premise that we can all agree on: A dirty cast iron pan needs to be cleaned. The question, then, is how. One of the most widespread beliefs is that you can't use soap, and the reason you'll usually be given for this is that soap is powerful enough to strip away the seasoning you've worked so hard to build up.
Soap is good at washing away grease and dirt, so perhaps it's understandable that people think it can also wash away seasoning. However, it's important that once you're done cooking in your pan, you should go ahead and wash it with some warm soapy water, wiping it with a kitchen sponge. If there are a few stubborn burnt-on bits, you'll be fine using the synthetic scrubber on the back of many kitchen sponges, as it's not as harsh as steel wool. Here we would like to share some scrub techniques for your help:
Put the pan in a sink, fill about ½ inch of warm water, then add a half cup of coarse salt (the salt will act as an abrasive to cut through food remnants). Immediately scrub the pan with a nylon scouring pad. Rinse the pan clean with water, then place the pan in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes or so until it’s completely dry (to prevent rusting). You can also put it on a stovetop over high heat till it doesn’t smolder.
Remove it from the oven/stovetop and allow it to cool slightly. Then while the pan is still warm, sprinkle a little vegetable oil. Wipe the oil with a paper towel, wait for a minute or two and wipe it again to remove any remaining oil.
Cast iron pans are made from pure iron ore. It is normal for it to rust in case it is in contact with water/moisture. Hence its worthwhile to share some tips to take care of heavily rusted pans:
Put the pan in a sink filled with hot, soapy water, then scrub it with a steel-wool pad or a metal scrubber. Wait 10 minutes or so, then scrub off the rust with steel wool and soapy water. Rinse the pan in clean water, dry it in an oven or stovetop, then wipe it down with oil.
3. Season Your Cast Iron Pan:
The seasoning on your cast iron skillet is what makes your cast iron skillet nonstick. The seasoning process is not very difficult, check out this video to see it for yourself:
The main thing you need to know is that seasoning is a hard, protective coating on the pan that's created by rubbing the pan with oil and then heating it. When exposed to heat, each layer of oil transforms into an extremely thin, plastic-like coating. As those layers build up, the pan becomes increasingly protected against rusting (which, in its stripped-bare state, it will rapidly do just by sitting in the open air), while also developing the nonstick characteristics that make cast iron so useful.
Once you've established your initial layers of seasoning, the most important next step is to use your pan as often as you can, especially for anything that involves cooking with fat or oil: searing meats, frying bacon, sautéing vegetables, frying chicken, etc. With each use, you'll set down successive layers of seasoning that will only make your pan better and better.
4. Storing Cast Iron Cookware
Where you store your cast iron is a lot less important than how you store your cast iron. First off — your cast iron should always be bone dry before you stack it or hang it. Rust is the enemy of your well-earned seasoning! Second, we love a single paper towel slipped into the skillet for storage — especially if you’re stacking it with other pots and pans. It wicks away any moisture and protects the pan’s surface.
Every pan has its own quirks, but cast iron, in particular, has a reputation among home cooks for being high-maintenance. Don’t let that scare you off—a cast iron skillet can last a lifetime (or longer!) and is easy to maintain if you follow the few simple cleaning tips & techniques, seasoning and storing methods shared above. And the best part is that even if you ever mess it up, cast iron is easy to restore as well.
It’s also important that you purchase your products from a trusted and experienced brand in the market. That’s why Meyer proudly offers the widest range of cast iron cookware. With an extensive range that perfectly suits the cooking styles of everyone in the family!
Get durable cast iron cookware from the brand that's been trusted for over a century - Meyer