Cast Iron pans: Why they’re great and how to take care of them
While we’re waiting to move into our new house, I’ve taken to researching old fashioned household products that will stand the test of time. One item that I have tried and absolutely love is cast iron cookware. So far I have two skillets, one small (6″) and one large (12″). I started with the small skillet on a whim one day, and fell in love with how sturdy it was and how evenly it cooked. It’s also fantastic that I can use it outside on the fire, in the oven, or on the stovetop… oh, and the food tastes great too.
Cast iron is amazing for anyone looking to live life with as few harmful chemicals as possible. Cast iron is non-stick, but unlike Teflon it’s not that way because of chemicals, and the coating won’t come off either! Cast iron pans also have a reputation for lasting a very, very long time (as long as they’re well taken care of).
There are many articles online about the best methods to care for cast iron (this is one of my favourites), but for the most part the advice is the same:
- Don’t use soap or harsh abrasives to wash them. Scour only with a metal brush. I have actually found very little to no need to scrub my cast iron as the non-stick coating is so great already.
- Make sure that your pan is well seasoned. To season use a few tablespoons of flaxseed oil (or another oil, but flaxseed seems to be the favourite) and let it warm up gradually in the oven to 300 degrees, upside down. Let it heat in the oven for about an hour, and then turn the heat off- letting the pan cool gradually for about an hour.
- When you’re cooking with your cast iron, use a small amount of oil in the bottom of the pan.
- Once you’re done cooking, let the pan cool down for 10-15 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water and scrape off the excess food. I then put a tiny amount of oil on the pan and let it cool down completely upside down in the oven.
- If you’re storing your cast iron in a drawer or cupboard put a piece of paper towel in between the items to allow air flow. Once we’re into our new place I’m planning on hanging our cast iron items on the fireplace.
I’ve got my eye on quite a few cast iron items, including a dutch oven and a griddle. Someday I’d also like to get a cast iron waffle pan like this one: