Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Cleaning & Seasoning Cast Iron Cookware

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There is something about cooking in a cast iron skillet that makes me feel like I have it together in my kitchen. 
 
 
For some people, the ability to incorporate a new ingredient, or a fancy dish may boost their culinary confidence... not for me. 
 
 
Maybe its because I was raised in the country?  Or maybe its because I've seen my mama and grannies use them for years, and I know that good things always come from their kitchen? 
 

 
Who knows?  I just know I love to use my cast iron cookware.


Just like most loves, it doesn't come without a little work.  There is an art to cleaning and seasoning cast iron cookware, so that your food tastes great!
 


 
 
 
 
There are two components to making sure that your cast iron helps the flavor of your food, rather than messing it up - it all boils down to (ha! pun intended) how well you clean and season your cookware.
 


Seasoning the cast iron is crucial... and then, using the cast iron according to the seasoning only enhances the flavor of your food. 



Seasoning Cast Iron Cookware:

To initially season new skillets/dutch ovens/etc., I will use Crisco (I like to use Crisco, because I can see it cover the cast iron), take about a tablespoon in my hand and smear it all over (inside and out).  I turn my oven on 250, turn the skillet upside down with a cookie sheet below to catch drippings, and let it rest in the oven for a few hours. 


(Let's be honest - if anybody knows anything about good cookin'... it's Minnie.  I love that character!)
 
 
Anytime I cook with bacon, etc., I will typically rub the leftover grease all over the skillet, and let it sit before I rinse.

If I purchase a skillet second hand, I will usually use a scrub brush/brillo pad to take the original seasonings off.  You will be able to tell when you are working the original seasonings down.

Then, I re-season the cookware.
Lets be honest - you don't know where that pan has been or what its been through... (((Shivers))).


As you use your pan to cook, it will absorb the flavors (mainly because of the way you will clean it - we will talk about that in a second), so be careful what you use your pan for. 

Many people have specific pans for different dishes. 
For example, if you often brown onions and garlic in a certain skillet, you won't want to cook an upside down pineapple cake in the same skillet.  That cake will taste like fajitas, y'all!


 

 Cleaning Cast Iron Cookware:

**Warning**This part can be difficult for some...  If you are a soak everything in bleach and scrub your cookware until there's no Teflon left kinda person, cast iron may not be for you(if you're using Teflon, by the way, we can't be friends... ha!).

 Cleaning your cookware correctly is crucial - it keeps it from rusting (eww!  Nobody wants rusty food), and it ensures that your seasonings will stay intact.

But, it really is a breeze!

To clean, simply wash the piece with a stiff brush or sponge under hot water (I may let it sit under scolding water for a few seconds, especially if there are stuck on bits of food).  If you need to really scrub, you can use a rough salt/water mixture, like sea salt or kosher salt.

The key to this step is - no soap & no chemicals.
Like I said, the cast iron will absorb most anything you put in it, those suds will seep below the surface.

Once you are done cleaning your cookware, the drying part is just as important...

Make sure that the cast iron doesn't stay wet - dry it completely, and turn it upside down to allow excess water to roll off.





Easy enough?  I love my cast iron pieces, and there's something timeless about an old, lovingly used cast iron skillet.



Go season a skillet, y'all!

-Heather

((PS - I have a board on Pinterest that is FULL of tips for caring for cast iron, and recipes that you can make in your cookware!  Check it out, below))


Follow Stringtown Home's board Cast iron on Pinterest.


21 comments:

  1. Hi Karen, visiting from Brenda's. Pinned and following you on Pinterest. Hugs to a very kind lady.
    Joy

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! You are too kind!

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  2. I'm coming over from Brenda's blog, too. Just wanted to say that you did the nicest thing by offering to replace her sun for her!
    That is very generous of you. She is a dear--I love her blog. Thanks for the cast iron skillet care information--I'm pinning it to my Cleaning Hints and Tips board.

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    1. Aww! Thanks! She really is so talented. I thoroughly enjoy Cozy Little House, and it seemed fitting, considering she does so much for everyone else.... little does she know exactly how much happiness her blog brings...

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  3. Hello Heather. I just saw your wonderful offer over at Brenda's Cozy Little House and had to come over and say thank you. Today has been a day full of people doing wonderful, kind things for one another. I hope it continues. I enjoyed your post on cleaning cast iron cookware. I am now going to wander around your blog. It looks like a blog I will come back to time and time again.

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    1. Thank you for your sweet words! Isn't Brenda's blog the greatest? I've always loved seeing that sweet sun in photos, and I was a little crushed when I saw that it had broken. Thank you for stopping by and saying kind things about my site. It really means so much!

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  4. Hi Heather, I too am visiting from Brenda's blog. How kind of you to send her another sun to spread happiness throughout hr garden! Loved your hints on the cast iron. I so fail in cleaning mine, will never touch it again with soap, I promise!

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    1. Ha! No soap! :) Thank you for stopping by, and reading a bit. And, I do think that her garden must be a wonderful spot - all of those pictures she captures really are amazing, huh?!

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  5. Hi Heather, so nice of you to offer Brenda of Cozy Little House a new replacement for her broken sun! I will be back to visit your blog again....I have enjoyed what I have read here today. I am following you on Pinterest too. Thank you for being such a kind person.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by! And, for your kind words.

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  6. I'm here from Brenda'a blog too. So so sweet of you to do that! I'm enjoying your blog now too.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! She's one of my favorite bloggers.... I was happy to have the opportunity to send a small thank you!

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  7. This is a wonderful post, Heather! I have been wanting to get a cast iron pan for quite awhile, and with your great hints I went ahead and ordered one from your link. Hopped over from Cozy Little House...I love your kind and generous spirit...I'm following you now on Bloglovin.

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    1. That is so sweet!! Thanks so much for reading, and for ordering! I hope you enjoy your new skillet... they really are wonderful!

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  8. I don't cook much. Got rid of my oven so I could have a washer!
    Brenda

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    1. I don't blame you! We have too much stuff! The other day I was trying to purge some of the ((many)) things that I have and don't need, and honestly felt like I was having a panic attack - the stuff is overwhelming sometimes.. I'm not sure why or how we have acquired so much, but living with only necessities is good for the soul!

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  9. Thank you for your kindness to Cozy Little House!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and for your kind words. It really was a small deed compared to what she's done for my tiny blog! She's a hard worker in the blog world, and really deserved a bright sunny face in her garden. I loved the old one so much in her photographs. I hope she grows to enjoy the new one, as well.

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  10. Many people have specific pans for different dishes. I am exactly this kind! In my opinion it is the perfect solution if you want to cook more than one thing. It is not right to mix the scents. Best regards!

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  11. hi was just seeing if you minded a comment. i like your website and the thme you picked is super. I will be back. Carpet Repair in Grand Prairie at ekoserve.com

    ReplyDelete

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