Cooking is more than a way to make the food that keeps us alive, it’s also a time-honored tradition that can be quite enjoyable. Since many people spend a lot of time in the kitchen, there are also plenty of gadgets that help to make things easier. Sometimes, however, going with an old staple is the best choice, and that is the case with cast-iron.
Cast-iron has been used for years and is both time-tested and proven to be a great way to cook your food. If you are interested in making the most out of the use of your cast-iron pan, it’s important to know how to season and clean the skillets properly.
One thing you can do is to start out with a pan that is already seasoned – that already has a layer of baked-on oil. That being said, it is still important to treat the pan properly before you begin using it. It is even more important to care for a pan that is new to you, especially when you buy an older cast-iron skillet secondhand.
How Do You Season A Cast-Iron Skillet?
You can create the perfect nonstick finish on the cast-iron skillet by following these steps:
1. Scrub the cast-iron pan gently with soap and water, rinse it and allow it to dry completely.
2. Line the lower rack of the oven with a rimmed baking sheet or a piece of aluminum foil and preheat the oven to 350°F
3. Using a paper towel, coat the cast-iron pan, inside and out, with a light layer of vegetable oil, canola oil, or melted vegetable shortening. Those oils have high smoke points so they will not get sticky as they bake on. Butter or olive oil should not be used for seasoning cast-iron pans.
4. The pan should go on the top rack of the oven upside down and bake for one hour. Turn the oven off and leave the pan in the oven to cool completely. This is the process that will build up a layer of oil, helping to smooth out the rough texture of the cast-iron and produce a nonstick finish without having to spray it with chemicals.
5. Repeat. You may find that an additional round of seasoning or two is necessary to build up the nonstick finish before you begin using it. You can also add seasoning naturally to the pan when you cook bacon, pork chops or steak.
Cleaning A Cast-Iron Skillet
You can clean a cast-iron skillet easily by simply rinsing and wiping it with a clean washcloth or soft sponge. Make sure you use very hot water and dry the pan thoroughly. You can also rub the clean pan with a light layer of vegetable or canola oil and put the pan over medium-low heat for a few minutes.