The most important fact about cast iron cookware is that it supplies you with iron every time you cook.
Iron is important for your body in many ways. Its deficiency is linked to anemia, muscle weakness, sleep problems, menstrual pain and many other issues.
Cooking your food in cast iron cookware helps ensure that your body gets enough iron.
However, be careful when cooking highly acidic foods, such as dishes that include tomatoes or lemon juice in your cast iron cookware as it may result in metallic-tasting food. Wait until your cast iron pan is well-seasoned before cooking such foods.
Seasoning is Important
Cast iron is a material that can rust easily. To prevent rusting and increase the lifespan of cast iron pans, seasoning is important.
In this case, seasoning means applying a layer of animal fat or vegetable oil to the pan and baking it into the cast iron. This provides a stick-resistant coating to ensure healthy and stick-free cooking.
Scrub your cast iron skillet thoroughly in hot soapy water and dry it completely.
Apply a thin layer of vegetable oil on the skillet. Preferably, use flaxseed oil.
Place it upside down in your oven at 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bake it for 1 hour, then allow it to cool in the oven.
You may have to recoat your cast iron and heat a few more times, until the surface it develops a dark, semi-matte surface.
When the finish starts to look dull, season your pan again.
Clean It While Warm
Just like other cookware, cast iron pans need to be cleaned on a regular basis.
However, do not be tempted to let the pan sit a few hours after cooking before you wash it. Once the pan cools down, the food particles also dry onto the pan. Such food particles are much harder to remove.
You must try to clean your cast iron cookware while it is still warm. Just a quick wipe with a cloth or paper towel is all that you need to clean the pan.
If stubborn foods get stuck to your pan, put some water in it and bring it to a boil. All the food particles will loosen up. You can even use a stiff brush to clean the pan, but make sure the bristles aren’t made of any kind of metal.
At the same time, avoid soaking the pan in water for a long time and dry it thoroughly on a heated stovetop before storing to prevent rusting.
Never put your cast iron cookware in the dishwasher.
Scrub with Salt
Though it may sound strange, salt is considered the best tool to get rid of grease on your cast iron pans and skillets.
For best results, use coarse kosher salt.
While the pan is still warm, sprinkle some salt on it and add some water.
Use a soft sponge to gently scrub the surface to get rid of any stuck-on food or grease.
Rinse with warm water, then dry it on a heated stove.
You can even apply a very thin layer of oil with a cloth or paper towel prior to storing. This will help prevent rusting, the enemy number one for any cast iron cookware.