Many chefs sing praises to by the cast iron skillet, and with good reason. A well-maintained cast iron skillet can last decades. The durable pan may need a little rotating to heat it properly, but it stays hot which makes it a great tool for cooking meat. Plus, routine seasoning makes your pan more non-stick and you can use it in an oven, on the stove or even over a campfire.
The trick to ensuring that your cast iron skillet lasts forever is to treat it like a baby. Take good care of it, love it and your cast iron skillet will love you right back. If you're wondering how to properly clean a cast iron skillet, wonder no more.
Try this method giving your cast iron a deep cleaning.
1. Scrub it with soap and steel wool
Believe it or not, it's okay to wash a cast iron pan with mild soap and water. Whether it's brand new (and you need to prep it for seasoning) or it's older and needs freshening up, use steel wool dipped in water and mild soap to wash scrub the skillet inside and out. Rinse with water and scrub again with a tough sponge.
2. Dry it thoroughly
Water means rust. So make sure you dry your pan with a towel. Then, place your pan on a burner, turn it on and allow the heat to remove all of the remaining moisture. Once it's completely dry, remove it from the heat.
3. Oil your pan
Add a generous amount of flaxseed oil to the bottom of your pan. Flaxseed oil is a great option because it lasts longer, according to Tasty, but Canola oil will work fine. You'll want to apply oil to the entire pan (including the handle and backside.
4. Wipe the oil off
Take a clean section of paper towel and wipe as much oil off as possible. The porous surface of the pan will absorb what it needs, so don't be afraid that you'll wipe too much off.
5. Bake your skillet
Set your oven as hot as it will go (up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit), flip the skillet upside down and bake it for an hour. If your pan is still sticky when you pull it out, you either didn't rub off enough oil or your oven wasn't hot enough. Allow it to cool completely before removing from the oven.
Here are a few bonus tips to make cooking and cleaning with cast iron a little easier.
1. After you're done using your pan over a campfire, try making a scrub made from sand or salt and some oil. Scrub and rinse. Dry your pan over the fire, coat with oil and heat again over the fire to seal the oil.
2. If your pan is lightly used, you can spray it with a little bit of oil and wipe it until all of the food is removed.
3. When cooking with your cast iron pan, allow the pan to heat up for at least 10 minutes to ensure even cooking.
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