Question about Cast Irons

Question:

I’m seasoning my cast iron skillets. Fried fresh hamburger in the big one for lunch. Then I realized I wasn’t sure how to clean it up. I decided to heat up a little water in it to loosen the crumbles, then I scrubbed it out with a kitchen brush, dried it, rubbed in some lard, and stuck it back in the oven on 350 for just a bit. Looks okay, but I still feel like it couldn’t really be clean. Don’t want to make the kids sick. Any suggestions. Seems like I use more paper towels than I do with a non-stick pan.

Liz

Answer:

Well, when you are first using a cast iron the worst things you can do is to use water and scrap it with a brush of any kind. Most people will tell you NEVER clean a cast iron skillet. Now, I’m not one of those people-lol. But let me tell you what I do because I only cook with cast iron. I have maybe two pots that aren’t but there not non-stick-(be careful because chemicals from the non-stick leach into your food while the only thing that leaches into your food from a cast iron is iron). When I first start using a cast iron pre-dark coating,I found it easier after all these years to get the coating I want by just cooking with it, usually just frying, no matter what type it is unless it’s one for cornbread or baking. But, I stopped seasoning it in the oven because it would be uneven or smoke up the entire house and it would smell horrible for quite a long time. So now, I just cook with it. I have several types including mini frying pans to the larger chicken fryers to two different types of griddles. I used to have more but I gave some to family/friends because I couldn’t lift them and moving with heavy cast irons wasn’t ideal but I will be getting more soon. I have my eye on a set with everything including saucepans…Sorry to get side tracked…

But, with the skillets and the griddles, I put oil in them and then used them to fry…eggs…sausage…chicken…whatever. The black coating comes from the accumulation of oil. I would put a light coating of oil on the handles and the rim etc. and just use it for a good while as a fryer and keep oil in it or rubbed on it. The gentle way to clean it is to use a dishcloth and wash quickly, never soaking or allowing it to submerge in water or it will rust and use only a spatula or something flat without bristles that will scratch off your coating. Pre-deep coating, don’t use tomatoes either.

Once it has a dark coating on it-(dark brown to black) then you can use my Mother’s method for cleaning pots which works with any type of pots including cast irons. Her method was to put water into the pan with a little dish soap and put it back on the stove with a fire and boil off the stuck-on food. The food should just slip off and if some is still a little stuck, use a plastic spatula to remove the food. Then dry it immediately and put a small coating of oil on it and just leave it, no stacking something on top of it. Once there’s a black coating, then you can use the pan for gravy’s and tomato sauces etc. I have usually two I keep on the stove, that’s where I house them, on the stove. My tiny cast iron skillet, I guess it’s a 6 inch size-(Shown Above) and a smaller griddle. I use those the most but I don’t put it where it can get wet and I don’t put other pots and pans with it either. I keep them separate.

I visited my sister once and saw her cast iron that I had sent her and she still didn’t have a coating on her’s after two years had gone by and that’s because she wasn’t cooking with it regularly. Make it a point to use it every day with oil. Once it has a dark coating on it-(dark brown to black)-then you can start using butter or margarine too and in no time you’ll have a nice black cast iron…really, in no time…The more you use it the blacker the cast iron’s will get. I hope that helps.

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About leasmom

Traditional Primitive Folk Art Painter living in Fort Wayne, Indiana
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2 Responses to Question about Cast Irons

  1. Nerissa Barry says:

    Hi,

    Seeing that you’re a green advocate (and blogger) I wanted to reach out and see if you were interested in an article that I recently have written. It’s on the Olympics and the steps they’re taking to go green and decrease the environmental impact that it has. While sports is something far from the topic of your blog, I think that you will find it interesting and informative, and not overwhelming on the sports content, besides a few facts on the last Olympics, it is primarily about the Olympics going Green.

    I’m looking to spread awareness of the fact that even though the Olympic Games are fantastic and unifying, they are it’s quite a carbon-rich event and are not that environmentally sound.

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