Cast iron cookware is one of the oldest types of kitchen ware available out in the market today. And they have been around for the longest time for a good reason. Cast iron is considered to be one of the most durable types of material used for cooking, and is also one of the most cost-efficient. But even though these kinds of cookware do not need extensive maintenance, it is also very important that you give them ample attention if you want them to last for as long as they are designed to.
Season before use
This is a very essential step that must be done to your pans before use. Seasoning is an ingenious and effective way to make your pans non-stick. Aside from that, it can turn cleaning into a breeze as well. To season, you'll need to create a glassy coating on the surface of your cast iron cookware with multiple layers of oil. Rub the surface of the pan with neutral food grade oil (vegetable oil, shortening or lard) and remove the excess with a paper towel. Heat the pan upside down in the oven for half an hour at 450 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Take out the pan and cool. Repeat this process 3 to 4 times for a stronger "bond".
Wash with water and soap
This is a subject of debate for many cooks. Some say that washing will only require water. However, soap is much needed to remove the oil residue on the surface of your pan after cooking. When oil is left on the cookware, it can turn rancid over time - greatly affecting the quality and the taste of your food. Most experts also discourage the use of dishwashers as they may not thoroughly remove the oil residue.
Never use detergent or a scouring pad
Using detergent and a scouring pad can remove the seasoning from your cast iron cookware. As a result, the non-stick feature may disappear, making cooking and cleaning extra hard. If food residues are stuck on the surface, slowly remove them with a table knife or a spoon.
Never rinse hot cast iron cookware with cold water
Although cast iron is a very durable material, the extremely contrasting temperatures may lead the cookware to crack. Instead, wait for it to cool down a few degrees before rinsing it with water.
Store cookware without their lids
This is a very important step as storing your cookware with lids on can build up moisture - which can in turn lead to rusting. This is especially true if you are living in areas with humid weather. Put pieces of paper towels inside the pans instead. Position them in such a way that they can easily absorb any moisture formed on the surface.
So there you have it, simple tips on how to keep your cast iron cookware in tip top shape. Follow these tips and get to cook with these wonderful kitchen wares for years and years to come.
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