How to get your pan ready
pots and skillets have a protective coating on them,
which must be removed.
American companies use a special
food-safe wax; imports are covered with a water-soluble shellac. In
either case, scrub the item with a scouring pad, using soap and the
hottest tap water you can stand. Avoid buying
cast iron pans or skillets with wooden handles;
these are useless for oven cooking and most camp cooking.
If the utensil comes with a
cast iron lid, like a Dutch oven,
make sure the lid fits properly
on the pot before purchasing it.
Also cure the lid's inside the same as the pot.
Otherwise, use a glass lid or whatever you have.
You season a cast iron pan by rubbing
it with a
relatively thin coat of
neutral oil (I stress a light coat of oil).
NOTE: Use vegetable
oils (canola, sunflower, etc.), shortening (like Crisco shortening) or
lard for seasoning your cast iron pans.
I recently experimented and found out that food-grade coconut
oil/butter also works great.
Place the cast iron pan,
upside down, in the oven, with a sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom to
catch any drips. Heat the pan for
30 to 60 minutes in a 300 to 500 degree oven. Once done, let the pan
cool to room temperature. Repeating this process several times is
recommended as it will help create a stronger "seasoning" bond.
The oil fills the cavities and becomes
entrenched in them, as well as rounding off the peaks. By seasoning a
new pan, the cooking surface develops a nonstick quality because the
formerly jagged and pitted surface becomes smooth. Also, because the
pores are permeated with oil, water cannot seep in and create rust that
would give food an off-flavor.
Your ironware will be
slightly discolored at this stage, but a couple of frying jobs will help
complete the cure, and turn the iron into the rich, black color that is
the sign of a well-seasoned, well-used skillet or pot.
Never put cold liquid into a very hot cast
iron pan or oven. They will crack on the spot!
Be careful when cooking with
your cast-iron pots on an electric range, because the burners create hot
spots that can warp cast iron or even cause it to crack. Be sure to
preheat the iron very slowly when using an electric range and keep the
settings to medium or even medium-low.
Unless you use your
cast-iron pans daily, they should be washed briefly with a little soapy
water and then rinsed and thoroughly dried in order to rid them of
excess surface oil.
If you do not do this, the surplus oil will become rancid within a
couple of days.
- Every time you cook in your
pan, you are actually seasoning it again by filling in
the microscopic pores and valleys that are part of the cast-iron
surface. The more you cook, the smoother the surface becomes!
NOTE: All new (not old
pots) cast-iron pots and skillets have a protective coating on them,
which must be removed. American companies use a special food-safe wax;
imports are covered with a water-soluble shellac. In either case, scrub
the item with a stainless steel scouring pads (steel wool), using soap
and the hottest tap water you can stand.
If the pan was not seasoned properly or a
portion of the seasoning wore off and food sticks to the surface or
there is rust, then it should be properly cleaned and re-seasoned.
Seasoning a cast iron pan is a natural way of creating non-stick
cookware. And, like you cook and clean the modern non-stick cookware
with special care to avoid scratching the surface, your cast iron
cookware wants some special attention too.
after I use my cast iron skillet, I do the following:
Using and Caring
For Your Cast-Iron Skillet
Let the pan cool. Wash it with
dishwashing soap and water.
Never soak or let soapy water sit in the pan for any length of time.
Rinse thoroughly, then dry with paper towels.
A lot of people disagree with
using dishwashing soap and water to wash cast-iron pans. A chef told
me that if a health inspector ever found a pan that had not been
washed with soap and water in his kitchen, he would be in trouble.
Plus the grease that is left behind will eventually become rancid.
You do not want rancid oil in your foods and body.
put cast-iron cookware in the dishwasher.
Place the cleaned cast iron pan on the
heated burner of your stove for a minute or two to make sure that it
is bone dry. While the pan is still hot and on the stove burner,
lightly oil inside of pan (I mean a light coat) with a neutral
Use vegetable oils (canola, sunflower, etc.), shortening (like Crisco
shortening) or lard for seasoning your cast iron pans.
I recently experimented and found
out that food-grade coconut oil/butter also works great.
Leave pan on the hot burner of stove for
a few minutes. Remove from hot burner and wipe excess oil off the
pan with a paper towel.
Store your cast iron cookware with the
lids off, especially in humid weather, because if covered, moisture
can build up and cause rust. Be sure that you place a couple paper
towels inside to make sure that any moisture that forms will be
absorbed by the paper towel. Never put the
utensil in the dishwasher or store it away without drying it
To see our selection of great cast iron pans available
for you, click on this link:
Please don't throw away that old cast-iron skillet that was your mothers
Clean it! As long as it has no
cracks or nicks, you can clean, season, and use it.
I personally have three old
cast-iron skillets - a 10-inch and a 12-inch skillet, two large
griddles, and a Dutch Oven. I love my cast iron pans!
There are several reason that people rave
about their cast-iron cookware. Besides being an ideal heat conductor,
cast iron heats evenly and consistently, it is inexpensive and will last
a lifetime (actually several lifetimes) with proper care, and it is an
old-fashioned way to cook fat free.
(See Cooking with Cast Iron below on the left.)
When well seasoned, a cast-iron pan will be stick resistant and require no
The benefits of cast-iron pans are terrific:
Foods glide out of it as from no pan made with Teflon; it goes from
stove to oven; no special utensils are needed to cook in it; it won't
warp, and cleanup is a cinch. It's time people realize the culinary
wonder that a cast-iron pan can be!
Professional chefs consider cast-iron pans
to be precision cooking tools, as these dependable pans enable precise
control of cooking temperatures. Their heat retention qualities allow
for even cooking temperature without hot spots. Cast-iron pans can be
used on top of the stove or to bake in the oven. All our grandmothers
had cast iron skillets and
stove-top griddles. In fact, your grandmother swore by
it and the pioneers depended on it.
If you don't own a cast-iron
skillet, it's well worth the time and money to invest in
one. You can find them for sale on the internet, at cook stores
everywhere, thrift stores, flea markets, or you can scour the tag and
yard sales for one that might look as if it has seen better days. If the
pan is rusty or encrusted with grease, buy it anyway. Don't worry! I'll
tell you how to get that new or old one into shape so you can enjoy it
for a lifetime of fat free
cooking. You'll be able to pass the pan on to your own
children and grandchildren.
The first most common
mistake of why people do not like cast iron is that they say everything
sticks. If food sticks to your cast-iron pan, your pan is NOT seasoned
right and you need to re-season it. Cast iron is a natural non-stick
surface and if your pan is seasoned correctly it WILL NOT stick!
Pan: Choose the size most
comfortable for you. I recommend the 10-inch one, as it's the best
tradeoff of size and weight. Personally, I own 10- and 12-inch models
because on occasion, I'm called on to feed large groups of people.
Want to make the greatest pancakes you've ever eaten? Want your French
toast to have that crispy edge so prized at breakfast time? You need to
get a cast-iron griddle pan and get it good and hot on the stovetop.
They work fine on electric or gas ranges, or over a campfire if you're
Before anyone ever thought of a crock pot, there was the cast-iron Dutch
oven. Dutch ovens have been used for hundreds of years. Nothing will
hold a good, even temperature better than the heavy metal of this
monster pot, and it can go from stovetop to oven without missing a beat.
I guess there is as many ways to season your pans as
there is cooks. We all have our preferred way of doing it.
However, the most ways mentioned here will work for you. Just have
a little patience when starting the first time you use it.
Now go and have fun with your new pan.
Also remember if you should have any questions
or problems you can always contact me and I will help you over your
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