Ideally when people buy new kitchen equipment, they start using it to cook with immediately. Doing that may be okay with certain equipments, but not with your cast iron pan. Before you unleash your masterchef cooking skills, you need to season your cast iron pan. Without it, your cast iron pan will start rusting; and it won’t be long until you have to discard it and purchase a new one.
There are three things you need to take care of while owning/ buying a cast iron pan, like how to season cast iron pan, cleaning it, and maintaining its quality.
1) Seasoning: Traditional cast iron pans don’t come with a non-stick surface. It has to be seasoned, or coated with cooking oil and baked in an oven at 180℃ for an hour. After this, wipe it with dry paper towels before getting it ready for use. The non-stick coating can be reinforced every time you heat the oil in a pan, and the process can be accelerated by seasoning it as often as you like.
2) Cleaning: A cast iron pan isn’t meant for the typical ‘wash with soap’ process. For best results, rinse the pan with hot water immediately after cooking. If you need to remove burned food, scrub with a mild abrasive like coarse salt, and a non-metal brush to preserve the non-stick surface; you can also use a few drops of mild dishwashing soap once in awhile. If the pan gets a sticky coating or develops rust over time, scrub it with steel wool and season it again. If you want to prevent rust, dry the pan thoroughly and lightly coat the cooking surface with cooking oil. Cover it with a paper towel to protect it from exposure to dust.
3) Maintaining Tips:
Cook over low heat, to avoid damage to the pan.
Use plastic or wooden utensils to prevent scratching.
Once you’ve cooked acidic foods in your pan, immediately remove them and wash the pan to prevent damage to the seasoning.
Do not store foods in a cast iron pan, as this can break down the seasoning.
Avoid drowning the cast iron pan in water.
If the pan is still hot, do not put cold water into it; this will result in the pan developing cracks or warps.
Cast iron pans are one of the toughest and most enduring types of cookware you can find in the kitchen. However, if not maintained well or cleaned properly, you will find yourself back the stores quite often, looking for a brand new pan. Make use of the above tips and you’ll have the ideal cooking partner that will last much longer.