I know, I’m in love with Calphalon, but my second and longest love is cast iron. I learned to cook with cast iron before I even hit my teens and let me tell you, we treated those pans well. It’s kind of a thing of pride. My dad has always loved cast iron and they are some of the lowest maintenance pans in the world. What other pan can you use for camping, stove top, baking, AND self defense? Here are some tips I learned on how to clean cast iron pans.
How to clean cast iron
- Season your new pan according to the directions on the label…or not if it comes pre-seasoned. If you bought your pan used, rub the entire inside of the pan with oil. (Do not use olive oil as it can get rancid – great tip from Hallee the Homemaker) Heat in the oven at 250-325 degrees for 1 hour. They say you can heat it upside down so extra oil drips out while heating. If you do this please make sure you place something under it to catch the drips. I prefer to heat it right side up and wipe it down with a rag while hot to get all excess oil out.
- DON’T USE SOAP. Yes, I’m yelling. No, don’t do it. Now don’t get all “That’s so gross. What about bacteria?” on me. Don’t do it. Can’t handle that? Don’t use it. That easy.
- Stuck on junk? (Hello, scrambled eggs.) Easiest way to get it loose is to fill the pan with water and bring it to a high boil. Presto. Junk comes right off. You will likely need to re-season the pan if you clean it this way. Best way to know is if the finish looks dull after drying.
- Got grease? Wipe that pan out really well, wipe with hot water and a sponge/dishrag and dry.
- Want that pan perfectly seasoned on fast forward? Season it several times before use for the perfect finish.
- Every time you HAND WASH your pan, rub a light finish of oil over the inside surface.
- Do NOT air dry your pan. I dry over medium heat after cleaning until it’s dry. Leaving it wet will ensure more work – RUST!
- The dishwasher is not a shortcut – NOT dishwasher safe.
- Got rust? Scrub with salt and oil to get the rust spots out. Re-season as needed.
Need cast iron?
- Consignment and thrift stores
- Yard sales
- Cast Iron Cookware
What to make
- Deep Dish Pizza – pre-heat the pan along with the oven for a nice crispy crust.
- Pumpkin Cornbread – Again, I pre-heat the pan. This time with butter, before adding the batter.
- Pancakes – pre-heat the pan. Once the pan is nice and hot, turn the burner down, add butter and batter. Adjust heat as needed so pancakes won”t burn but this is the way to crispy edged pancakes that still melt in your mouth.
- Bacon – watch the heat but bacon turns out beautifully when fried in cast iron.
Don’t fear the cast iron. It’s pretty easy to work with and fairly hard to ruin. Actually, I never heard of any one ruining a cast iron pan and not being able to bring it back to useability. I’m sure it’s happened somewhere, sometime, but cast iron cookware can stand up to pretty much anything. That’s why it’s passed down from generation to generation. Just make sure to remember it heats well and just keeps getting hotter so you will want to learn the tricks to maintaining an even heat on your stove top.
What’s your cast iron story?
Hate cleaning stainless steel pans?
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