I started replacing most of my cookware with cast iron due to the health benefits of added iron. One of my children had symptoms of a diet-related iron deficiency due to sensory sensitivities and I needed ways to include more iron in his diet. CLICK HERE to read about the symptoms of a diet-based iron deficiency. I had avoiding cooking with cast iron in the past due perceived cleaning difficulties. Now that I know how to care for cast iron cookware, I am never going back to other types of cookware. CLICK HERE to read about the benefits of using cast iron cookware.
How to Care for Cast Iron Cookware
When I first tried to use cast iron cookware, I thought that it couldn’t be washed. I did all sorts of time-consuming and crazy methods to try and clean my pans. After cooking, I would dump rock salt in and rub it around trying to remove foods and oils. Next, I would wipe it out the pan with scrap fabric or paper towels to try and get it clean. It was a miserable process and I just started to avoid using my cast iron. I hated cleaning the cast iron so much I even donated some of my cast iron cookware. I regret this now, but at the time, cast iron cleaning was just too involved.
A second chance on how to care for cast iron pans:
The health benefits of cast iron compelled me to give cast iron a second chance. I read about how to clean and season cast iron and it was a little overwhelming. Then someone brought up cast iron in a facebook group and mentioned that they just washed it. I thought, What!? You can’t wash cast iron! I was wrong. You can wash cast iron and I do it everyday.
An overview of how to care for cast iron:After cooking in my cast iron, I wash the pan just like I would any other pan. I set the pan on my sink divider and wash as I would any other pan using a scrub brush or scouring pad. Although you may be able to wash with only water after cooking some items, I have found after cooking something with fat content (e.g., ground beef), dish water is really needed to get the pan clean. Then I dry the pan right away and rub a thin layer of oil over it. I just dip my fingers in coconut oil (you can use any oil) and rub a thin layer over the inside of my pan. If the pan looks like it needs to be seasoned, I stick it in the oven at 350 degrees and bake it for an hour. If you forget the pan and leave it longer, no big deal. It won’t ruin it. Just turn off the oven and pull out the pan after it cools down or when you happen to remember in the next day or two.
Summary of How to Care for Cast Iron Cookware
Steps on How to Care for Cast Iron Cookware:
- Wash with water or dishwater.*
- Rinse and dry thoroughly.
- Rub with a thin layer of oil.
*Using dishwater may result in needing to season the pan more often.
Steps for Seasoning a Cast Iron Pan:
- Rub with a thin layer of oil.
- Bake at 350 degrees for an hour.
- Repeat as needed for a non-stick cooking surface.
Additional Cleaning Tips
Make sure that the pan is thoroughly dried after cleaning to avoid rusting. You can bake or heat on the stove to make sure no water remains. I live in a dry climate, so I just dry with a towel and then oil.
Buy Your Easy Clean Cast Iron Cookware
CLICK HERE to read about my top picks for cast iron for everyday cooking.