Caring for our Cast Iron

Earlier this year Taylor and I got rid of our old, damaged & unsalvageable stainless steel and non-stick frying pans and replaced them with cast iron. We started a small, 6 1/2″ skillet Taylor got in his Christmas stocking. This little skillet is ideal for making perfect fried eggs (I’ll share my tips’n’tricks for that in another post) but obviously isn’t suitable for cooking a whole meal for the family! So we’ve expanded our collection to include a huge 15″ skillet, a 10″ square grill pan, a pig-shaped bacon press and the real workhorse of the group, a 10″ skillet that I use for EVERYTHING.

There are a lot of opinions on how to properly care for your cast iron. Taylor prefers to scrub the pan with just a little kosher salt and then wipe it out, but since I use the pans to cook foods both sweet and savoury I like to be a little more thorough. I’m just leery of trying to bake a dutch baby in a pan that still has an oniony vibe from last night’s dinner! After some trial and error (by error I don’t mean damaged pans, just needing another scrub) I’ve developed a method that keeps our cast iron clean and well-seasoned while also satisfying my need to scrub everything until it’s sparkling (cast iron never sparkles but when I’m done it does gleam).

You’ll need:
• kosher salt
• mild dish detergent
• cooking oil*
• sponge
• paper towel and/or clean, dry cloth

First, I like to use paper towel to wipe out the excess grease or any loose bits of food still on the pan (if necessary). Next, depending on the size of the pan and how dirty it is I sprinkle about half a tablespoon of kosher salt and squirt about half a teaspoon on dish soap- I uses Mrs Meyers Clean Day- into the pan. With a damp sponge, I scrub the soap & salt all over the inside cooking surface of the pan. Once the pan is scrubbed clean, I rinse it in the hottest water from my tap and dry it immediately all over (inside, outside, the handle, the bottom, and in all the little grooves and crevices of the logo) with a clean, dry cloth or paper towel. The last step is rubbing the entire pan all over (again it’s inside, outside, the handle, the bottom, and in all the little grooves and crevices of the logo) with a couple drops of cooking oil. That’s all, and it keeps our pans looking (and cooking) great!

* we use canola oil but you can use one of your own preference; you just want to make sure it has a high smoking point.

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