It's an age old question that is constantly being asked: How do I care for my Cast Iron Cookware? If you own cast iron cookware it's important to follow a few simple steps before you start using it to prepare your favorite meals. By properly caring for your cast iron cookware you'll be able to pass it down the family tree for generations to come.
GETTING STARTED: The very first thing you want to do is rinse your pan with hot water and dry it completely. Apply a thin layer of vegetable oil to the cooking surface of your pan and let it slowly pre-heat. You'll be ready for cooking once the pan is pre-heated. Always remember to avoid cooking cold food in your pan.
When you're done cooking in your pan you should use a stiff brush and hot water for cleaning. Using dish soap and other abrasive detergents should be avoided. Also remember it's never good to put a hot pan in cold water because thermal shock can lead to cracking and warping. Towel dry your cast iron pan completely and apply another thin coat of oil to the cooking surface. Never let your cast iron air dry and never put it in the dishwasher! If rust should happen to form on your cast iron pan simply scour it off with steel wool and re-season (see below). Always store your cast iron cookware in a cool, dry place or in an oven (remember to take it out before using the oven!).
RE-SEASONING: At some point food will start sticking to your pan or the color of your cast iron cookware will become dull. It's time to re-season! Rinse your cast iron with hot water and a mild soap. Make sure you dry your cast iron completely. Apply a thin coat of vegetable oil on the inside and outside of your pan. Place a sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom rack of your oven to avoid dripping and place the pan upside down on the top rack. Set your oven to 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake your cast iron cookware for at least one hour then turn off your oven and let your cast iron cool off in the oven. Make sure your cast iron is stored in a cool, dry place.
By following these simple steps you should be able to enjoy using your cast iron cookware forever!