You may or may not already be convinced, but let me tell you, cast iron-pans truly will change your life in the kitchen. Cooking with them improves the depth of flavor in food, and they can be used well past one’s lifetime if properly cared for.
This post will give some basic instructions to help encourage your love and regular use of these amazing, essential kitchen pans.
Some of you may have received cast-iron from family, or maybe you registered for one for your wedding but have kept it tucked away in the back cupboard because it seems too daunting to deal with. After all, non-stick cleans in about 2 minutes after use, right? Right. But, overtime you will be enjoying that non-stick substance in the food you eat. Yum, plastic!
Enough about what doesn’t work and back to the topic at hand. If possible, find a convenient way to store your cast-iron pans so you have easy access. In our small space, hanging them on strong hooks works great for us. The only downside can come from seasoning with a little too much grape seed oil. Then, I might find a little pool of oil below the hanging pan. Thank goodness for wet rags!
Once you have a hot pan and the oil has spread around, you can begin cooking just about anything you can imagine. I cook some type of eggs almost every day, meat for salads, sautéed veggies or stir fry and much more. Here is the makings of a middle-eastern dish my grandma cooks called Macgloobie. It is a simple dish featuring onion, cauliflower, rice and ground beef. Perfect skillet food!
This next step in caring for your cast-iron is very important! It will save you time and energy. Once your food has finished cooking and you serve up, keep the skillet on the stove with the burner off, but add some water to it and let it sit while you eat. The water will help any food residue come off quickly from the pan and make clean up much easier. Here is the aftermath of my egg breakfast:
DO NOT USE SOAP when washing your cast-iron. Soap is harsh on the pans and will strip away the good oils that you have built up. If you follow my steps to care for your pans, you will not be tempted to use soap.
After you have cleaned and dried your pan, re-season it with a good oil such as grape seed or coconut. Over time, you will notice your pan sticks less and less and eventually works just as well as a “non-stick” competitor.
If you are kind to your cast-iron pans, they will be kind to you. I can’t imagine using anything else on my stove! Ask a relative if they have one they aren’t using, or start fresh with a new set of your own. They can’t make you a good cook overnight, but they sure do help ordinary food taste extraordinary.