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My Simple Cast Iron Care Routine
Posted By Shannon On November 5, 2010 @ 3:00 am In In the kitchen | Comments Disabled
Written by Shannon, Contributing Writer
For so long I avoided cast iron because I was intimidated by the seasoning and care process that I had read about. Then my husband came home and surprised me one day with a cast iron skillet. Of course I swooned - who needs flowers when you have Ma Ingalls-style cookware?
Still I procrastinated on putting it to use in my kitchen. When I finally did break down and prepare the pan for cooking I couldn't believe how easy it was. Now I use this pan most days of the week and love to fry eggs, make frittatas, and bake skillet breads with this non-stick wonder. All you have to do is keep it simple and you'll have a pan that cooks like a dream and will last a lifetime.
Most of us know by now that teflon is a toxic form of cookware. When I ditched my teflon I opted for stainless steel cookware  - which I love for sauces and soups. But I still believe cast-iron is superior for so many reasons:
The cast iron is sprayed with a soy-based vegetable oil and then baked on at a very high temperature.
If you're like me and avoid soy because it is not a health food , then you'll want to scrub this off with hot soapy water. Then place it on your stove over low heat and allow it to dry completely.
Cast-iron pans are only non-stick when they are properly seasoned. Seasoning a pan involves coating the pan with a heat-tolerant fat and then allowing it to bake into the iron, creating a slick surface.
Cast-iron pans are often used for high heat cooking, whether you're frying an egg or baking corn bread. For that reason I prefer to use a saturated fat, which is more stable over high heat, for seasoning. Good choices include:
Once your pan is clean and dry, and still warm from your stove top, add just enough fat to coat the pan bottom and sides. I then use an old cloth napkin to distribute the oil all over and soak up any extra. Then put your pan in a 250 degree oven for a few hours. You now have your initial layer of seasoning. You can repeat this process anytime you find that your initial seasoning isn't holding up.
The first thing to know when washing your pan is do not use soap. Soap will remove the layer of seasoning you just added. So, this is how I clean my skillet:
That's it! It sounds a bit more complicated than the care of your stainless steel pans, but really it is just a different process and no more difficult. I highly recommend cast iron cookware, and a simple care routine to keep it healthy.
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URLs in this post:
 Image: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/cast%20iron%201-e1288546173873.jpg
 stainless steel cookware: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00008CM68/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00008CM68&linkCode=as2&tag=keeofthehom-20
 average skillet: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00006JSUB/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00006JSUB&linkCode=as2&tag=keeofthehom-20
 buchmanphoto: http://www.flickr.com/photos/buchmanphoto
 their website: http://www.lodgemfg.com/use-care-seasoned-cast-iron.asp
 because it is not a health food: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2010/06/the-soy-decoy-dont-be-deceived.html
 coconut oil: https://secure.ttpurchase.com/F574EDF0-1E0B-90B3-0E8185B8A116425E
 naotakem: http://www.flickr.com/photos/naotakem
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