Did your holiday gifts include a cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven? Even if it’s pre-seasoned, it’s still good for you to know exactly what to do to take care of the finish, and how to renew it…just in case.
Here at Lehman’s we’re proud to sell USA-made Lodge Logic® cast-iron cookware. It’s hugely popular because it’s pre-seasoned. This means a vegetable oil coating is applied at the factory, and baked into the cookware. Cast iron, like any iron, has small pores, and the vegetable oil keeps the iron safe from rust. With a light rinse in the sink in hot water, a towel dry and an thin coat of oil rubbed in, this pre-seasoned cookware is ready to use right out of the box. Read more here.
Cleaning Cast Iron Cookware
Always hand wash your cast iron cookware. Never put it in the dishwasher.
Usually, hot water and a clean dishcloth is all you need to clean a cast iron pan.
Use hot water and a tool like our Skrapr® to remove any cooked-on food. The Skrapr® is strong enough to get the gunk off, but is kind to the seasoned finish.
Dry your cast iron thoroughly, inside and out, with a fresh, dry towel if at all possible.
Then, put a small amount of vegetable oil on a paper towel, and rub into the pan. You want enough oil to bring back the pan’s shine without being sticky.
On the inside of the pan, this will keep the seasoning in good shape, and on the outside of the pan, it’ll keep rust away.
If you need to stack your pans, do it carefully, so the layered pans don’t chip into each other’s seasoning. You can put a paper towel or paper basket-style coffee filter in between for protection. Dishtowels will soak up any oil that’s present, and that may damage the seasoning. The paper items can be reused.
What happens if the seasoning breaks?
Sure, it can happen. And it’s easy to fix. First, wash the piece you want to re-season with hot, soapy water, and stiff brush so it’s completely clean. You may hit bare iron, so be prepared. Because you’re going to rework the piece, using soap is OK–even our friends at Lodge agree. Don’t have a stiff brush? Get medieval on that pan: try our new Chain Mail Scrubber and hot water to get the pan spanking clean.
Using a fresh, dry dishtowel, make sure that the pan is completely dry. Then, apply vegetable oil. You want the oil layer to be very thin and even, because you’re going to bake it in.
Line lowest rack of the oven: Lodge recommends using aluminum foil; you can use a non-stick mat like ours too, but you’ll need to clean any oily drips off it when you’re done.
Once the oven’s lined, Lodge recommends baking the cookware bottom side up (in other words, with the cooking surface facing the oven rack) in a 350° to 400° oven. Minimum recommended baking time is an hour, but leaving it in longer won’t hurt anything. Old-timers insist you should “cook” your cast iron up to four hours, or even overnight.
Once your baking time is finished, turn the oven off, and don’t open the oven door! Leave the cookware in the oven to cool naturally.
If the cookware isn’t quite as seasoned as you’d like, you can repeat the oiling and baking until you’re happy with the new finish.
Here, you can see our country living expert Karen Gieser use a Skrapr® on a cast-iron pan. See how easy it is to use.
From our friends at Lodge, a good way way to clean cast iron: