Many people (used to include myself) don’t care to use cast iron pans because everything sticks!
But did you know if you properly season, use, and care for your cast iron that won’t happen? The problem is, we’re all out of practice when it comes to using these fabulous ‘non-stick’ pans and we don’t know how to use them. So I’ll share a few tips I’ve learned along the way for using your cast iron pans and hopefully it’ll help you get the most out of them.
- Make sure the pan is correctly seasoned. If food begins to stick, you’ll need to re season it! And always season a new pan. Even if it states it’s pre seasoned. You will be unhappy with it if you don’t.
- Preheat the pan every time you use it. Place it over whatever flame you’ll be using (or in an oven with whatever temp you’ll be baking at) until it’s hot. To test you can place a few drops of water in the pan and if they sizzle and jump around, it’s hot enough! Take care though not to let it sit to long waiting for food, an empty hot pan could crack.
- Always have pot holders around! It takes awhile to remember that the handles get hot when your used to using modern pans and skillets.
- Use a bit of oil or grease each time you use it.
- If you do use a fat to ‘grease’ the pan before frying, make sure you don’t let it sit with just the oil/butter in it for to long before adding the food. It will begin to re season it and could become gummy and sticky.
- Use a hard edged stainless steel spatula.
- Don’t use knives to cut anything in the pan.
- Once cooled, clean right away. Don’t let it sit overnight with leftover, gunked on food in it. A dry rag should be all that is needed after frying if you have a perfectly seasoned pan.
- On the same note, don’t let it sit and soak for long periods of time in the sink. Moisture is not your friend when it comes to cast iron as it will cause it to rust.
- When washing stuck on/dried on food (especially for the first dozen times or so after seasoning) use only hot water and a rag. Mild soap only if you need it. Dry immediately. Pop it on a hot stove for a minute to make sure all the water is out. Heat is a must when drying them! Otherwise you’ll get rust.
- If you do have stuck on food in the pan, try boiling water in the pan to remove the gunk before you move on to scrubbing.
- Never use a dishwasher!!
- Spread a very thin layer of oil inside the pan after each washing. I try and remember to do this, and the reasoning behind it is the fact that it will save your pans from moisture in the air.
- Use often. The more you use it, the better the pan will become!
So now that we know how to use them, what do you use them for? I personally use them for anything that needs to be fried. Plenty of eggs, potatoes, veggies, chicken, ground beef, etc. I’ve also used them to make frittatas by cooking on the stove top for a few minutes and then finishing under the broiler. You can also make a traditional cornbread in these pans as well since the whole pan can go into the oven!
While these pans are very versatile, and can be used very much like modern non stick pans, there are some foods that will actually remove the seasoning. Like tomatoes. Because of their acidity, they may ‘eat’ away at the seasoning and cause you to have to re season over time. So just be aware that even though you’re using the pan like you should, some foods may not be suited to the pan like you’d think.
So do you use cast iron? What’s your favorite dish to prepare in it?
Part one – How to Season
coming up…..part 3 : recipes for cast iron
This post is linked to: Kitchen Tip Tuesday