How to Save Your Cast Iron From a Rusty Demise
A cast iron skillet or pot is a cook’s friend for life! It will get you killer cornbread, the best scrambled eggs and the most crispy, heavenly sweet potato hash you’ve ever known, just to name a few. It can, however, be a bit temperamental, and require some special TLC if you want it to last and last.
Here, we show you how to season your pan, clean it, store it and, perhaps most importantly, we show you how to remove that pesky layer of rust you accidentally let form.
Season Your Cast Iron
You’ve probably heard of seasoning a cast iron skillet, but what does it actually mean? It’s not about the salt and pepper. It’s about creating a protective coating for the iron. When you season a pot or skillet, you are creating a moisture barrier, as well as a non-stick surface. The more you season a pan through the years, the better that protective surface will become. Not to mention, food from a well seasoned skillet just tastes better.
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Using a paper towel and some vegetable shortening, grease your skillet, inside and out. You want to cover it in shortening, but don’t drown in. A nice thin layer will do the trick.
3. Place the skillet, upside down over a piece of aluminum foil in the oven. It’s important to have it upside down, so the oil runs off and doesn’t pool.
4. Bake the skillet for one hour. Then turn off the heat and let it cool in the oven completely.
You have now seasoned your pan.
Cleaning Your Cast Iron
You never want to use soap on cast iron, it strips it of its seasoning and can lead to rusting. Also, cast iron reaches incredibly high temperatures, so there’s no need to worry about the absence of soap for disinfecting.
Simply add some hot water to your pan, and use a sponge for light cleaning or a scrubbing brush for caked on messes. Once your pan is clean, dry it thoroughly, until no moisture remains.
If you have to do a lot of scrubbing, it’s a good idea to re-season the pan.
Remove Rust from Your Cast Iron
Nothing is more frustrating than when you go to use your cast iron skillet, and a layer of rust has formed on the inside. Thankfully, there’s a solution.
1. Add 1 cup coarse salt to your skillet, along with a few tablespoons of hot water.
2. Using steel wool and scrub, scrub, scrub. It may take a little while and require some serious elbow grease, but your pan will be good as new!
3. Once the rust is removed, give the skillet a good rinse, dry it thoroughly and re-season it.
Store Your Cast Iron
Again, moisture is cast iron’s worst enemy, so you want to avoid it at all costs. Store it in a cool, dry place and cover it with a paper towel, instead of a lid.
The paper towel will keep off dust, and prevent moisture from forming on the surface.
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