How to maintain Cast Iron Cookware
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How to maintain Cast Iron Cookware

Most of us love to cook meals in a healthy manner. Using cast iron cookware in the kitchen is pretty common as it helps the food to cook evenly. A clean and seasoned cast iron cookware provides a perfect surface to cook vegetables or meat.

But maintaining cast iron cookware is a bit tricky as they rust easily. Hence it becomes indispensable to be aware of the ways to maintain these utensils. Remember well-maintained cookware will have a dark semi-glossy finish and won’t be sticky when you touch it.

Maintaining Cast Iron Cookware

The first thing to remember is that the cast iron cookware must be cleaned immediately after use. It is even better if you clean it when it’s slightly warm. Leaving the pan in the sink or soaking it in water is a strict No-No as it leads to rusting. Also, never put your pan in the dishwasher.

One should avoid using dish wash soaps/ liquids as this strips the pan’s seasoning. You can use mild soap for your cookware once in a while. Clean the pan using a sponge with hot water or maybe a firm brush. Never scrub it with metal scouring pads for regular cleaning.

If the food is stuck onto the pan, you can fill some water in it and simmer it for about 3-5 minutes. This will help release the food wedged on it and make cleaning pretty easy.

After washing, immediately wipe your pan with a cloth or paper towel. Ensure that the pan is completely dry.

Once dry, apply some vegetable oil/saturated fat with the help of a dry cloth (lint-free)/cotton/paper towel. This coating provides a protective layer, thus preventing your cookware from rusting.

Why does cast iron rust?

Cast iron cookware rust primarily when exposed to humid air or moisture. Hence it is essential that the utensils are wiped properly and dried completely. Even a few drops of water or humidity in the air can result in iron reacting with oxygen and form rust.

Cool, dry space with some air circulation is perfect to store such utensils. A place with warm/ humid air is not good for this cookware.

The maintenance of this cookware also depends upon the frequency of usage. If you use your pan/ skillet regularly, then any liquid fat is good. But these oils are not good for long-term storage as they go rancid in the presence of oxygen.

If you are not a regular user, use a heavily saturated fat like coconut oil, flax-seed oil, or butter as they provide a thick and complete coating.

Should you cook sour/acidic food in cast iron cookware?

Whether to cook acidic food in the cast iron cookware is a question that keeps bothering most of us. It is a general notion that cooking acidic foods like tomato sauce, wine sauce could leach iron from the cookware into the food, thus making it bitter or giving it an unpleasant metallic taste.

It is absolutely true that sour/acidic food if cooked for a long duration will change the taste of the food. However, if the pan is seasoned properly and you cook sour food for a short time, it doesn’t change the flavor. Cooking sour food in the cast iron cookware needs close monitoring.

Further, once the acidic/ sour food is cooked, remove it from the cookware immediately. Never leave the acidic dish in the pan.

If you have any old cast iron utensils in your kitchen which look damaged/blotchy, you can reuse them after stripping with steel wool and then re-seasoning. Do remember that the best way to treat rust is to avoid it in the first place.

So don’t hesitate to buy a cast-iron skillet, just follow the ground rules and you are good to go.

9 thoughts on “How to maintain Cast Iron Cookware

  1. First post. Congratulations. Impeccably written. I am so proud. Look forward to many more such interesting ones.

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