Cast iron skillet has always had a special place in the culinary world since before our time and now.
One of the best characteristics of a cast iron skillet is that it can retain heat for a longer period of time as well as distribute it evenly.
Their sturdy and durable nature ensures that they last for a longer period of time –often outlasting all alternative types of metal cookware. So much so that, an average skillet will actually improve as time passes due to its ability to withstand external pressures.
When the time comes to toss in a steak for cooking, expect to find an evenly cooked, perfectly medium rare, piece of meat with the pink juicy tinge you are looking for in the center (learn how to get a reverse sear steak)
In general, cast iron cookware is substantially cheaper than the alternative. You can find a decent skillet within a 30 US dollar range. Provided that you take care of the cookware and maintain it properly, it is an investment that is worth making for sure.
Some Tips for Cooking in Cast Iron Skillet
- Every time you use your cast iron skillet, give it a wash and hand dry it to maintain its quality.
- Feel free to use your skillet on an electric stove top, gas stove top and even put it in the oven.
- Always give time to your pan in order to pre-heat and cool off properly before using it or storing it.
- Since cast iron retains heat very well, you don’t need to use a high flame to maintain heat levels.
There are three (3) basic features that you need to be careful about when it comes to taking care of your cast iron cookware. They include:
Seasoning is when oil is applied and baked into the skillet. This process prevents the build-up of rust and allows your skillet to possess the characteristics of a non-sticky pan without having the protective layer pasted on.
As long as you keep repeating the process twice a year, at minimum, your cast iron should remain in the best shape possible:
- Use a high smoke point oil like soybean.
- Refined oil is better for the purposes of seasoning.
- If you find that your seasoning is sticky, oil is building up and the skillet needs to sit upside down in the oven for an hour at minimum.
- Wiping off dark residue from it is completely normal and will stop with regular use.
Unlike normal pans, cleaning cast iron are not created for soaking and extreme washing. Their cleaning process is fairly simple and extremely quick. You will get the best results if you clean cast iron in the following ways:
- Rinse it with hot water immediately after use and wipe it dry.
- Refrain from using dishwasher liquid, or any other chemical.
- Use a scraper if there has been an excessive build-up of any foreign materials.
- Spray the cast iron skillet with oil after you have washed or wiped it clean to ensure it retains it quality.
Any item that you purchase needs to be looked after or it loses its integrity overtime. This rule applies to any cast iron cookware as well. For proper maintenance, you should adopt the following practices:
- Store them in a cool and dry place because a warm and humid climate will cause rust to form.
- Refrain from stacking the cast iron cookware because despite being able to withstand external pressure, prolonged exposure could be damaging.
- Keep the pan lubricated at all times so that rust does not accumulate.
- Always ensure that you clean your cast iron skillets and other cookware right after use.
The Best Cast Iron Skillet & Cookware
If you are looking for companies that manufacture the best cast iron cookware, the following three (3) are the ones you should turn to.
Lodge is known for their range of cast iron cookware as they are all pre-seasoned, economical and carefully created to retain heat and distribute it evenly. Additionally, side components of cookware like handles and lids are created to be very durable.
- Outdoor Gourmet
Outdoor Gourmet has an all-inclusive cast iron cookware range that is perfect for multiple purposes, even camping. It is considered to contain the most diverse variety of pots and pans, extremely affordable and highly durable. They are sure to give you great value for the money you spend.
Much like Lodge, the cast iron cookware that comes from Bruntmor is also pre-seasoned, highly durable, sturdy and cheap. Additionally, it is known for the effective distribution of heat. Not only is it great for your kitchen but it is also perfect for camp fires.
How to Clean a Rusty Cast Iron Skillet
There will be times when your cast iron skillet will somehow defy the purpose of seasoning and give into to the humidity and warmth, resulting in the collection of rust.
At this stage, you must act fast and look for ways to clean the rusty skillet before permanent damage is done.
The way you can clean the rust off is through:
- Using steel wool until you see the surface of the skillet.
- Wash the skillet with warm water using a splash of dish soap.
- Once the cleaning process has been completed, dry it off and cover the pan with oil to prevent the growth of rust.
- You might want to oil the handles and the bottom as well since you don’t want to leave your skillet venerable to any type of external harm.
- Put it in the oven at 400°F and leave it there for an hour.
- Once it has cooled down, you will have effectively restored your skillet to its former glory.
The best thing about cast iron skillet is that you can repeat this exact process a couple of times until you have the desired result without harming the integrity of your cookware.