There is a reason that cast iron cookware is still in your parent’s (and grandparent’s) kitchen — cast iron is built to last a lifetime and beyond. Plus, it’s an extremely versatile and durable cookware to work with, and filled with its own rustic charm!
There are also many benefits to cooking with cast iron:
- Cast iron can be a safer option than most modern cookware; free from chemicals.
- It’s durable enough to cook on high heat.
- Cast iron cooks food evenly, and can keep food from burning.
- Cast iron can be adapted to different types and techniques of cooking.
However, it’s important to ‘seal’ the surface of your cast iron cookware before using, through a process called ‘seasoning.’ Taking your ‘seasoning’ seriously makes the cookware less likely to stick, protects it from corrosion and rust, and prevents food from taking on metallic flavors. (All TableCraft cast iron cookware comes in a ‘pre-seasoned’ state.)
With proper care, your cast iron will only get better with time and last for years to come.
How to Season Cast Iron Cookware
- Wash the pan thoroughly in warm soapy water, then hand dry immediately.
- Using a cloth or paper towel, grease the pan thoroughly with a thin coating of vegetable oil or melted vegetable shortening.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 degrees Celsius). Place the cookware in the oven for 1 hour.
- Remove while hot and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Wipe away any excess oil, being careful not to scrub clean.
How to Clean Cast Iron Cookware
- Wipe the pan clean with a sponge or dishcloth in hot water, without detergent. Be careful not to use abrasive scouring pads or steel wool.
- Any residue may be removed by adding boiling water, or by rubbing with a paper towel and coarse salt.
- Hand dry immediately after washing and brush with a thin coating of vegetable oil before storing.
- If stacking pans, place a paper towel between them.
Is your Cast Iron Rusty? Don’t Panic, It’s Not Broken
Without seasoning and proper care, cast iron can rust. However, it’s really easy to fix. Scour the rust with either a baking soda paste or a nonabresive product such as Bon Ami), working at the rust areas until they’re gone. Rinse, dry thoroughly, and rub with vegetable oil.
More Care Tips for Cast Iron
- Cast iron is not microwave safe.
- Always use heat protection gloves when cooking with cast iron, as it can get extremely hot.
- Cast iron is much heavier than traditional cookware. Always use care when lifting.
- Allow cast iron to cool to the touch before cleaning with cold water. Otherwise use very hot water.
- Do not soak cast iron, which could cause rust.
- Dry it completely every time.
For more tips on keeping your cast iron, read our 10 Commandments of Cast Iron