I’m a relatively new cast iron convert.
Yes, I still use my non-stick teflons sometimes, but there’s just something about cooking with cast iron… It’s AWESOME.
Cast Iron Cookware can be a little intimidating (and heavy!) at first, but once you know what you’re doing, you’ll never look back.
Why Cast Iron?
- Heats up HOT, thoroughly and evenly
- Teflon has a LOT of chemicals
- Versatile – use them on the stovetop, in the oven, and even with charcoal while camping!
- Stick-free (if taken care of and seasoned properly)
Buying Cast Iron:
Buying new is the easiest option when purchasing cast iron, just because it’s easy to find. That being said, we are firm believers in the old saying: “they just don’t make it like they used to.” It’s a good idea to keep your eyes open at flea markets and thrift stores for cast iron in decent condition. My husband has a knack for finding awesome cast iron pieces at flea markets and thrift stores, but there are a few things to look for when buying cast iron used:
- Rust, scratches, and other build up – because, good news! Cast Iron can be worked on to get it back to its original state.
- Seasoning (look for how shiny it is- even if it doesn’t look great, it is possible to build up seasoning again and save the life of an old piece of cast iron)
Julia, over at I Believe I Can Fry, wrote a great article on re-conditioning your cast iron and it’s worth a read (don’t forget to read through the comments as well!) – and it’s an especially good resource if you have any old cast iron cookware in poor condition and in need of some TLC!
How To: Clean and Season your Cast Iron
Proper cleaning and re-seasoning is important for cast iron to maintain its integrity. When I moved in with my now-husband and began using his cast iron in the kitchen, I was intimidated and worried that I wasn’t cleaning his precious cast iron correctly (I wasn’t). But I learned how, and now I LOVE our cast iron pieces.
Here are some tips for cast iron upkeep:
1: Never use soap. (soap will strip the oils of your seasoning and it can even leave residue that will make your meals taste soapy)
2: Don”let it soak” (moisture promotes rust)
3: Use hot water and a good scrubby. Avoid any metal scrubbing pads, as they can scratch. If there is a food-crusty spot, I use a pinch of kosher salt to scrub at it, and I’ve also heard of using old coffee grounds. The salt works to break down leftover food gunk and scour the cast iron, AND it promotes the tasty seasoning of the cookware itself – which is very important when it comes to cast iron!
4: Dry thoroughly. I mean, the whole thing, all the way dry and preferably not air-dried – this will prevent rusting!
5: Season it. After it is dried, I use a dry kitchen rag with an oil or fat (lard, olive oil, flaxseed oil, whatever you have on hand) to oil up the piece. This helps it to keep its seasoning, which gets better and better with each use.
6: Warm it up! After each use, I stick whatever piece of cast iron I just cleaned onto the bottom shelf of the oven. You can also heat it up on the stove top. As the piece gets heated up, it is re-seasoned, and it’s ready to go for its next use!
- Get Rid Of Rust: use steel wool and hot water, but don’t go too crazy! You want to get rid of the rust, but you want to preserve the seasoning and not over-clean it.
- Avoid using metal utensils – just to be on the safe side and keep clear of unnecessary scratching
Stay tuned for some cast iron cooking tips… in the meantime, follow us on Pinterest and check out our Cast Iron Board!
Cheers to Cast Iron In the Kitchen!