How to Treat Your Cast Iron Right, from the Experts at Lodge
In celebration of our One Pan, Two Plates cookbook series, we’re partnering up with our friends at Lodge Cast Iron to give away both cookbooks and a classic 12 inch Lodge skillet. You’ll be armed with recipes and a tool to last you a lifetime! Head over to @chroniclebooks or @lodgecastiron on Instagram to learn more and enter today—contest ends Sunday, 2/5 midnight PT.
In the meantime, Lodge has supplied us with some useful tips on how to care for your cast iron skillet; we promise they aren’t as intimidating as they seem (just don’t put them in your dishwasher!).
So you’ve got a new cast iron pan…now what? Cooking and caring for your cast iron is simpler than you think. Here’s a list of some of our most commonly asked questions to get you started.
Do I have to season my cast iron when I buy it?
Nope! We do that for you. When we make cast iron in our foundry in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, we spray a thin layer of vegetable oil onto the surface and and bake it at a high temperature in a large oven (you can see how we make cast iron here!). This provides a protective layer of seasoning on your cast iron, giving it an easy-release surface that’s 100% natural.
Any cooking tips?
Low and slow! Before you throw in the bacon and eggs, preheat your cast iron for a few minutes to bring it to the right temperature. Since cast iron retains heat very well, we recommend using a lower heat setting than you would with other types of cookware. Too much heat can cause food to stick!
What’s the best way to clean my cast iron?
There are dozens of methods floating around for cleaning cast iron, but they all usually adhere to the same basic principles: clean the skillet, dry it completely, apply a thin layer of oil. Here’s what we recommend (and you can watch a video of this here):
- Wash your cast iron by hand with a scrub brush. While we don’t recommend using anything too abrasive on your cast iron like a metal scouring pad or harsh detergents, it can withstand a little soap.
- Dry it promptly.
- Apply a thin layer of cooking oil to the surface with a cloth or lint-free paper towel. This works even better if done while the cast iron is still warm!
How do I maintain the seasoning on my cast iron?
The best way to care for your cast iron is to use it! Cooking in it regularly using any kind of cooking oil is a great way to keep your pan looking and performing well. If your pan becomes dull, gray, or gets rusty, it could probably benefit from being seasoned.
How do I season my cookware?
Seasoning cast iron is easy. Just follow these steps:
- Wash your cast iron by hand.
- Dry it promptly.
- Apply a very thin layer of cooking oil to the surface of your cast iron, inside and out, with a cloth or lint-free paper towel. Go easy on the oil—you just want a thin layer, not enough to drip or run when you tilt it.
- Place your cookware upside-down in an oven at 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit for at least one hour. Let it cool in the oven.
- Repeat the process as needed. Each time you repeat it, your cast iron will become darker and smoother.
Are there certain foods I shouldn’t cook in new cast iron?
A squeeze of lemon, a few tablespoons of tomato sauce, a dash of soy sauce—acidic foods in small quantities are just fine. But large amounts of very acidic foods like vinegar, tomato sauce, and citrus can eat away at the seasoning when cooked for long periods of time in new cast iron. The same goes for foods that are extremely alkaline, like beans.
We don’t recommend cooking these foods for long periods of time in new cast iron cookware because they can damage the thin layer of seasoning on the pan. If you have well-seasoned cast iron cookware that has had years of use, however, (it will appear very dark black and with a mirror-smooth finish) acidic or alkaline foods won’t be a problem.
How should I store my cast iron?
You can store or hang your cast iron cookware anywhere you like, as long as it’s in a dry place. If it has a lid, it’s best to store it uncovered to prevent moisture from forming inside.
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Don’t miss out on your chance to win your very own 12 inch Lodge skillet and copies of One Pan, Two Plates and One Pan, Two Plates: Vegetarian Suppers! Head to @chroniclebooks or @lodgecastiron on Instagram to enter.
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