With most of us having more time to experiment and perfect our cooking, it's important to know how to take care of pots & pans after we use them.
Cast iron cookware, the heavy-duty brother of stainless steel, is bound to last you for a long, long time. It's no wonder why they're so popular — the most stylish casseroles on the market is cast iron material!
While it's popular for frying or baking, and delivers in both flavour and practicality, you also have to know how to properly take care of cast iron. Lucky for you, we'll let you in on all you need to know! From what it means to 'season' a cast iron, to cleaning do's and don'ts — our tips will make sure you can keep cooking safely for many years to come.
How to Wash Cast Iron Cookware
Once you bring this new beautiful piece of cookware home, you want to remove any dust, cardboard debris or other bits and pieces from the surface of your pan/pot.
There's some debate about whether or not you should or shouldn't use soap with cast iron — 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 Before First Use
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 the interior surface
- Heat it in the oven for one hour at 230ºC
- Tip: Place the pot 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 Cast Iron For Daily Use
- Rinse with warm water and use a brush or scraper to help get rid of those stuck on food bits (you don't need to use soap on cast iron for daily cleaning, but if you want to, use small amounts so it doesn't wash off your seasoning!)
- 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.
Do's and Don'ts When Cooking with Cast Iron
- Use gentle utensils when you're cooking with cast iron. Wood, silicone and rubber are your new best friends!
- Don't store food 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 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.
Thinking of gifting a friend a pretty cast iron casserole? Don't forget to share these tips with them too!
And we hope you have the best time in the kitchen with your precious cast iron piece.
The Matchbox Family