With most of us having more time to experiment and perfect our cooking or at least we're hoping that by buying the right cookware it might inspire us to finally turn on the oven (we're all for supporting local businesses but there's only so much Thai takeaway you can eat), it's important to know how to take care of your pots & pans after you use them.
Cast iron, the heavy-duty brother of stainless steel, is bound to last you for a long time to come and is the ultimate when it comes to cookware (we would know). Cast Iron is also a very dense metal so it's less likely to get damaged or ruined during cooking, and holds onto heat extremely well, making your meals delicious every time.
Popular for frying or baking, cast iron cookware delivers in both flavour and practicality, but you must know how to properly take care of it. Luckily for you, you've come to the right place! We'll let you in on some cleaning must-do's (are they a thing?!) to make sure you can keep cooking safely for many meals to come.
Wash Your Cast Iron Before First Using It
This might not seem like a very important step but it is if you want to remove any dust, cardboard debris or other bits and pieces from the surface of your pan/pot (which should be all of you).
There's some debate about whether or not you should or shouldn't use soap with cast iron but we recommend it. If you properly take care of your pan/pot (by following these steps) you should only need to wash it with soap twice a year.
Make sure you rinse the pan/pot and dry it thoroughly before using.
* Pro Tip*, pop your pan/pot in the oven for a few minutes to make sure it's completely dry.
Season Your Cast Iron
If you've just bought your cast iron cookware then there's a chance this step has been done for you but if not, it's super simple and will ensure no food sticks to the surface of your pan/pot.
When we talk about seasoning we don't mean rubbing your cookware with spices (although that does sound like a lot of fun). The term 'seasoning' is used to describe the process of applying oil and heating it so it creates a sturdy and durable layer of non-stick goodness.
We recommend using either vegetable or rice bran oil for this as olive oil has too strong of a flavour and may affect the ability of the pan/pot.
- Apply oil to the pan/pot, rubbing it all over
- Heat it in the oven for one hour at 230ºC
- *Tip*, place the upside down in the oven and place a baking tray underneath the baking shelf to catch the excess oil
Once this has been done, the oil will have formed a strong bond, locking in the perfect non-stick layer, making sure you pan/pot is conditioned and ready to go.
You'll know when it's time to re-season your cookware as the food will begin to stick to the surface or it will start to look rusty.
How To Clean For Daily Use
- Rinse with warm water and use a brush or scraper to help get rid of those stuck on food bits (don't use soapy water).
- If your food is really stuck on there, try using a combination of salt and oil to scrub, then rinse it and wipe clean.
- Dry the pan thoroughly and coat it with a thin layer of oil (just a teaspoon will do the trick).
- Store it until you're ready to use it again.
What To Do & What Not To Do When It Comes To Cast Iron
- Use gentle utensils when you're cooking with cast iron. Wood, silicone and rubber are your new best friends!
- Don't store in your cast iron cookware (this is a no-brainer, you shouldn't be storing food in any pan or pot regardless of what it's made out of).
- Make sure you're cleaning the pan/pot straight away after cooking. We know you might be tempted to sit down and eat the delicious food that you made but your pan/pot will thank you for it and reward you with the best quality cooking every time.
- Never use your cast iron cookware on high heat (like ever). Warm your pan/pot on low-med while you meal prep.
- You can also rub some oil on the exposed surfaces on the rim and the lid to prevent rusting.