How to clean your cast iron
The trusty old Cast Iron pans and skillets, we all have them. Maybe your Mom gave it to you, or your Grandma, heck I don’t even know where the ones we use in my home came from, but those suckers are durable, useful and long lasting. They also come with a persistent greasy mess that seems almost impossible to clean.
But, fear not, it’s much easier than you might think to keep these pans in use. Let’s start with the number one rule; NEVER USE SOAP. I repeat, do NOT use soap or a dishwasher to clean them. This is imperative if you want to keep using your Cast Iron pans to make scrumptious meals.
Next, you will need to make sure you have 5 basic tools that you most likely already have in your kitchen:
– Potato (large)
– Sea Salt (course)
– Oil (preferably vegetable)
– Paper Towels
First, turn your oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit) and throw in the dirty pan for about 30 minutes (make sure to scrape off whatever gunk you can previous to placing the empty pan inside). Remove the pan and let cool. Heating the pan first will help break up all of the grease and rust, making the scrubbing much easier.
Next, cut your potato in half. This will serve as your scrubber (I hate wasting food, so I suggest saving the other half to cook later). You will use the end of the potato (uncut side) as a handle. Place about 2 tablespoons of course sea salt in the pan and shake around until the salt coats the entire surface. Once you have the salt in the pan you will begin to scrub with the open end of the potato. You want to scrub in small, circular movements. Think of this step as exfoliation for your pan.
The salt will begin to turn brown and will see the rust and grease start to lift from the pan. If you need to add more salt, go for it. If you feel like you want to dump the salt out as you go and continue to add more, do it. The amount of salt and scrubbing will vary depending on how dirty the pan is. There is no such thing as too much salt or scrubbing though, as long as you stick to using the tools listed.
You can continue by scrubbing the edges, handle and bottom of the pan as well. Once you feel like you’ve successfully lifted all of the mess from the pan, dump the last of the dirty salt in the garbage. After, rinse the pan lightly with cool water and dab dry with a paper towel. Once dry, take about half a teaspoon of oil and drop it in the center of the pan.
You will want to use a clean paper towel to lightly spread the oil on the pan. Make sure to get the oil everywhere that you have scrubbed (edges, handle and bottom included) but also make sure to not use too much oil. The amount will vary depending on the size of the pan, but what you are going for here is a very light coat. You can think of this step as moisturizing your pan. Basically, we’re giving the Cast Iron skillet its own little facial.
The last step is the same as the first; again place the pan in the oven. You can also use a stovetop, but I only suggest doing so if you have a gas-operated stove (you want an actual flame heating the pan). If you do not have a gas-operated stove, use your oven again (at 350 degrees) but only for about 10-15 minutes this time. You can’t really ruin any of your hard work by overheating the pan, but it’s not necessary to keep it in any longer to complete the job. Once you have heated the pan, let it cool, wipe gently one more time and voila! Your Cast Iron pan is as good as new. Clean, refreshed and ready to go for your next Sunday breakfast.
Know anyone else with dirty cast irons sitting in their kitchen? Show them “How to clean your cast iron” for their sake!
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This post was written by joe