Cleaning, Restoring, and Prepping a Cast Iron Pan or Skillet: Everything You Need to Know

Have you ever wondered about the best strategies for cleaning a cast iron pan, restoring a cast iron skillet, or generally prepping with these seemingly fancy utensils? If so, then you wouldn’t be alone. Indeed, many of us dream of owning a cast iron pan or skillet. However, when it comes to making the most of these tools, we’re often a little out of our depth. And, over time, your stunning cast iron pan or skillet may end up turning rusty, discolored, and lacking that all-important cast iron seasoning. It’s not an ideal scenario.

Luckily, though, we’re here today to help. We’ll look at all aspects of caring for these utensils, from cleaning and prepping a cast-iron skillet through to restoring a rusty cast iron skillet and more. Hopefully, this will help you make the most of every cooking experience.

WHY CHOOSE A CAST-IRON SKILLET?

Why choose a cast-iron skillet? Well, aside from the fact that cast-iron skillets look simply stunning, they are also exceptionally effective. Cast-iron skillets are excellent for evenly transferring heat. In turn, this makes them an excellent option for cooking many types of ingredients. Whether it’s for searing delicious roasted root vegetables or cooking a whole bird for a feast, the final result will surely be a flavor sensation. What’s more, their non-stick nature (when given a generous reseason across the cast-iron surface) is also something that many people appreciate.

In terms of cooking, we’ve mentioned that cast-iron skillets are excellent for evenly transferring heat. There’s actually another notable cooking benefit, though; both curing and reseasoning ingredients are made easy in a cast-iron skillet thanks to their shape and effective ability to spread heat throughout the ingredients, giving even more delicious results at the end of the day.

Cast-iron skillets are excellent tools to use alongside premium-quality, ultra-fresh ingredients. Of course, finding these can sometimes be difficult; luckily, the Fish app allows you to check with local shops and suppliers to find those delicious ingredients locally. It won’t be long before your newly restored cast iron skillet can help them to meet their full potential.

LOOKING AFTER YOUR CAST-IRON SKILLET

We’ve clarified that investing in a cast-iron skillet may be a good choice for your kitchen – but there’s a slight drawback to consider. While cast-iron skillets often offer a superior standard of performance compared to other cooking utensils and pans, they do take a little more TLC. It’s still a great trade, though; with just a little TLC and cleaning caution, you’ll help keep your cast-iron pan looking its best for years to come.

Why is carefully cleaning a cast iron pan so important? Cast-iron skillets have seasoning around their surface, which provides a non-stick finish. However, if this should get damaged, you may end up with a rusty cast-iron skillet that needs careful repair work and reseasoning. As such, keeping your cast-iron pan in good condition is the best option, where possible.

Before starting, prepping your cast-iron skillet is vital. Indeed, while cast-iron pans offer excellent non-stick properties, this is only achieved through seasoning and reseasoning. Therefore, before you start cooking, make sure you’ve seasoned your cast iron pan effectively.

What’s more, though the seasoning will help with the non-stick nature, you should ensure your cast iron pan has been given a generous amount of seasoning to keep it non-stick; meanwhile, fats should be used to lubricate the skillet itself. Furthermore, to keep things clean and prevent sticking, you should always heat the fat before cooking. Indeed, this will help prevent frustrating sticking, which could leave you having to restore your skillet.

How Should I Clean a Cast-Iron Pan?

If you need to clean your cast-iron pan, then a gentle wipe over with a damp tissue or cloth should usually be enough. Indeed, cast-iron surfaces don’t do overly well when they come into contact with water. As such, this can lead to a very rusty cast iron skillet in little to no time at all.

Besides, because your cast-iron skillet should always be well seasoned, why would you want to waste all of that delicious cast iron seasoning by just rinsing it down the drain?

Of course, there does come a time when your cast iron pan does need to be cleaned. Namely, this should occur if you’ve used it for any ingredients that will quickly go bad and potentially cause health problems. That’s fine – occasional cleaning for your cast iron pan is okay, so long as you take great caution.

One option for washing your cast iron pan might include pouring boiling water over the pan while it’s still hot. This will cause all of the water to instantly evaporate, searing the surface of the pan to help clean it a little while doing as little damage as possible. As explained by Lodge, a little soap is also fine; just don’t go overboard, as this could damage the skillet’s properties.

WHEN THINGS GO WRONG: RESTORING A RUSTY CAST-IRON SKILLET

We all like to think that things won’t go wrong – but, from time to time, they inevitably will. Luckily, though, we’ve got some great tips for restoring a rusty cast-iron skillet when all hope otherwise seems lost. Don’t worry. It’s not as tedious or back-breaking a process as it might seem.

So, how can you restore and reseason a rusty cast-iron skillet? Well, don’t panic; there are options! Fine steel wool may be enough to remove surface rust if the skillet hasn’t been left for so long. If this alone doesn’t get the rust off, you may need slightly different strategies. Warming your rusty cast iron skillet in the oven may help if the rust is stubborn.

If this alone still isn’t enough, you may want to resort to good old soap and water for restoring your cast iron skillet. However, this should ideally be one of your last steps. After all, this may damage the surface of the cast-iron skillet. In such a scenario, you may need to cure the cast iron skillet before it goes back in the oven.

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