There is a myth out there that cast iron needs to be coddled within an inch of its life. Never clean with soap! Only scrub with salt! Slather it in lard and put it in an oven for 24 hours! The list is long and complicated, and has scared many cooks away. However, the truth is that it’s all a farce. These things are workhorses and it’s super easy to take care of them.
If you are reading this, you are probably already own one. But in the off chance you don’t, let me take a moment to praise the mighty ways of the cast iron skillet.
First of all, they retain heat like crazy, which makes them perfect for searing and charring. You can also take them from the stovetop to the oven to the tabletop, all the while avoiding extra dishes.
Not to mention, they are virtually indestructible. My dad purchased a couple of cast iron pans for me twelve years ago and they practically look new. Need more proof? He inherited a set of pans from his mother and they are still going strong decades later.
But back to the original topic, here’s how to take care of your cast iron:
1. Clean your cast iron pan with mild dish soap (like Mrs. Meyers) and the rough side of a sponge. Sometimes I bust out a brush if I need extra scrubbing power.
2. Rinse with water. Then, transfer your pan to the stovetop and dry it over a low flame. Allow it to cool down before putting it back in a cabinet.
3. Every third or fourth use, go an extra step and season the pan with some oil. Once it has cooled down, pour a small amount of oil onto a clean rag or paper towel and apply it to the inside of the pan.
If food is still stuck to the bottom after a scrub with a sponge or brush, boil a bit of water in the pan to loosen it up and try again with the brush.
Et voila! After just a few easy steps, you’re back in business and ready to start cooking again with your cast iron skillet.