How to Season, Clean and Care for Cast Iron

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There is nothing complicated about the cast iron skillet. You just need to first know what you’re getting yourself into.

Before cooking, cast iron needs to be seasoned. Seasoning a pan is easy. Rub it down with vegetable oil and bake it for an hour. This process creates a natural type of “non stick” layer on the pan and can be done as many times as necessary throughout the cast iron’s life.

After the first washing, never put soap on it. It’s good to wash your cast iron with soap when you first get it. But after that, keep the soap away from your pan because it will wash off the cast iron’s much-needed layer of seasoning. Instead use a hard-bristle brush to clean the cast iron with water. Or, for really tough spots, use coarse salt to scrub it clean.

Don’t ever leave it to soak in water. Soaking is a great technique for so many other dishes, but when it comes to cast iron skillets it means bad things: RUST. Dry it right away.

Keep metal far from it. Metal can damage the cast iron, breaking down the seasoning and cause it to flake. Use wood or silicon kitchen tools to cook with cast iron.

Re-season your cast iron as needed. If at any point you need to soap your pan — and it removes some of that slick seasoning — or if general misuse has taken away its beautiful sheen, just give your cast iron another good seasoning. You can never have too much seasoning.

Fry, sear, and cook in the cast iron as much as possible. That’s how cast irons maintain their seasoning.

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