Apr 20, 2009

How to season and care for your cast iron skillets

( My super quick beef pie cooked in my favorite iron skillet)

I am a good ole southern girl who loves her iron skillets. I actually only own one skillet that is not iron. If you follow the proper cleaning and maintenance procedures, and your cookware will last for many years to come. One of my skillets is over 40 years old. When my grandfather's house burned down in 98 we were able to sift through the rumble and get the iron skillets. He is still using those skillets today.

If you want to start using iron skillets you will need to know the basics-

When a cast-iron skillet is bought new, it must be seasoned before it can be used.
Seasoning is a fairly simple process.

How to season an iron skillet-

Heat the oven to 350ºF
Open the windows, this may cause some smoke.
Rinse the skillet with warm soapy water.
Dry skillet well.
Rub the skillet with a generous amount of lard.
Place your pan upside down on the top oven rack with a rimmed baking sheet underneath to catch the drippings. .
Let skillet cool, then pour out any leftover oil.
Repeat this procedure several times before using the skillet.

Cast-iron will rust if not maintained properly. By following a few rules, your skillet should remain rust-free and ready for use for a very long time.

Keep your cast-iron skillet in tip-top shape by following this rules-

Cast-iron should never be wet when not in use.
NEVER put your cast-iron skillet in the dish washer.
Foods cooked in a cast-iron skillet could contain twice as much iron than they would cooked by other, non-stick skillets.
Rusted cast-iron CAN be saved!!! Scour the pan with steel wool and then scrub the pan with hot, soapy water then scour with steel wool again before drying. Don't forget to reseason as described above!
When finished cooking with pan, scrub the pan under hot water. Place on a warm burner for a few minutes to dry.
When drying is done, drizzle some oil in it. Rub the oil over the inside of the skillet with a paper towel
Remove acidic foods from your pans immediately after cooking, and wash promptly to prevent damage to the seasoning
Never store foods in cast iron, as this can break down the seasoning


Tammy said...

I'm a little different in my seasoning method...I just rub it down with Crisco and put in a 250º oven for two hours...take out and rub down with paper towels and stick back in to catch the last of the warmth until ready to use oven again.

I agree with all of your rules...to add...when I suffered with anemia I was told to cook all of my tomato based dishes in the iron skillet as it would leach the extra iron.

Now...have you or will you share that beef pie recipe??

Crystal Lampe said...

Thanks Tammy!

I actually keep mine in the oven all the time. It is their storage place.

I will try to blog about the beef pie soon. It is so quick and yummy.