Cast Iron 101

castiron101

Welcome back – I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Let me preface this post by clearly stating I am not a cook, a chef, or any other iteration of a cooking pro. For me, cooking is a means to an end and I don’t find the joy in cooking that so many others do. However, I LOVE cast iron! It cooks food quickly and adds a ton of flavor, plus the clean up is easy and when maintained properly, can last a lifetime.

Over the Thanksgiving break though, I realized through my mom that not everyone understands how to properly use or care for cast iron, so I put together a few quick tips for you and an infographic for faster reference:

cast-iron-101

Using Cast Iron

Cast iron should always look slightly glossy when dry. This indicates that your pan is not dried out, is seasoned, and will help your food cook evenly.

Steak and meats are the best items to cook in a cast iron. I can seriously make a restaurant style filet in mine.

Cast iron can go from your stove into your oven when you’re cooking. This is great for broiling things, like a filet, or making a roast (I’ve been told).

NEVER clean your cast iron with soap after cooking. Simply run hot water on your pan and dry completely.

ALWAYS dry your pan completely to avoid rust. But, use a paper towel or dark colored dish towel because sometimes cast iron leaves black residue on towels that is hard to wash out.

I made a Pinterest board of some of my favorite cast iron recipes for you! 

Restoring Cast Iron

If you make a mistake or your cast iron rusts, like one of ours did, it is easy to restore. Here’s what to do:

Depending on the amount of rust, you may need to do a couple different things to remove it.

First, run hot water over your cast iron. If you have rust and food stuck on your cast iron, and notice that hot water is not loosening things up, you might need to put it on a burner for additional heat.

Second, use a steel wool (but not an SOS pad) scrubber to remove the rust and other particles from your pan. If this is not working, toss some coarse salt on to the pan, then continue scrubbing. Ours did not require this, but my husband has a lot of elbow grease.

Third, apply olive oil to a paper towel and then coat your pan in it, including the handles and the bottom. You want to apply the oil evenly and in a light coating. Too much oil or uneven distribution will make your cast iron sticky. It may take a couple of rounds of coating.

Finally, turn your oven to 350 and put your cast iron in for about 50 minutes. If you’re using a pan, rather than a griddle like we used, put your pan in upside down, with a layer of tin foil on the bottom rack to catch any oil drips.

When you remove your pan, it should have a more glossy appearance, be free of rust, and seasoned for cooking. Here’s our before and after:

 

 

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