Let’s talk about one of the most used pieces of cookware - the cast iron pan. What's not to like about cast-iron cooking? Cast iron is a centuries-old material that is adored by chefs and home cooks for the ability of superior heat retention, naturally nonstick surface, and unrivaled durability and value. Meat can be cooked at a lower temperature, resulting in a tender inside and deliciously seared outer layer. Cast iron is nearly indestructible and easily repaired.

Cast iron is very versatile and could be used with gas, electric, and ceramic cooktops, ovens, and open flames, as well as a range of cookware designs and outdoor barbecues. The majority of cast iron cookware (including cast iron skillets) on the market nowadays is pre-seasoned to prevent meals from sticking. Even with careful cleaning and maintenance, the cookware will need to be reseasoned at some point. So, how to clean and reseason cast iron?

How to Clean Cast Iron After Cooking?

The most essential thing to know about cast iron is that putting it in the dishwasher or leaving it in a sink full of water overnight will cause it to rust. Furthermore, because cast iron is fragile, do not "shock" a hot pan by running cold water over it; the sudden temperature shift may cause it to warp or shatter.

  1. Clean the cast-iron skillet after each use.
    Wipe the inside surface of the still-warm pan with paper towels to remove any excess food or grease. Remove any residues of food by rinsing under hot running water and cleaning with a nonmetal brush or non-abrasive scouring pad. We recommend using a tiny bit of soap and rinsing thoroughly.
  2. Use oil after each cleaning.
    Dry skillet completely, but do not drip-dry. After that - heat on low until all moisture has evaporated. Using paper towels, gently cover the internal surface of the pan with 1/2 teaspoon of oil. Wipe the surface with oiled paper towels until it appears black and smooth and there is no oil residue. Allow the pan to cool fully.

How to Season a Cast Iron Pan?

Flaxseed oil seasoning is a mostly hands-off process. The following treatment is recommended:

  1. To open the pores of an unseasoned skillet (new or stripped of seasoning), warm it in a 200-degree oven for 15 minutes. The best technique to remove the seasoning from a cast-iron skillet is to run it through your oven's self-cleaning cycle.
  2. Take the pan out of the oven. Add 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil, and with the help of a cotton pad rub the oil into the surface. Wipe the pan clean with fresh paper towels to remove any excess oil.
  3. Place the oiled pan upside down in a cold oven and preheat to the highest baking temperature. Heat the pan for one hour once it reaches its maximum temperature. Turn the oven off and leave the pan in the oven for at least two hours to cool.
  4. Rep the procedure five more times, or until the pan's surface is black and semi-matte.

How to Reseason a Cast Iron Pan?

If the cookware needs to be reseasoned, especially after cleaning with dishwashing solvent, do so before putting it in the oven to dry. Use paper towels to evenly apply 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil all over the interior of the pan. The oil should be rubbed into the surface until it is completely absorbed - repeat oil application from 3 to 5 times.

Allow it cool before storing the greased cast iron on the stovetop or in the oven for five to ten minutes.

How Easily Remove Rust From a Cast Iron Pan?

If the pan has a heavy layer of rust that is too tough to brush off by hand, you can remove it by immersing it in a vinegar and water solution. This approach is quick and easy, but be aware that immersing the pan in the solution for an extended time might cause harm to the pan.

  1. Fill a container with equal parts distilled white vinegar and water. Toss in the pan in the solution. You'll eventually hear a fizzing sound, which indicates that it's working correctly. 
  2. After an hour, check the pan to determine if the rust has disappeared or has thinned down enough to scrape off.
  3. Remove the pan from the solution and immediately rinse it under running water. Make a slurry of powdered cleaner and a few tablespoons of water, then remove any leftover rust with a stainless steel scrubber.
  4. After that, wash, dry, and re-season the pan.

Cast iron pans require time to maintain - throwing them in the dishwasher wouldn't work. On the other hand, cast-iron cookware will last a lifetime if properly taken care of.

Do you use cast iron pans for cooking?

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