Please also review my post: Care of your Non-Stick Skillets
Starting to Rust?
You said that your cast iron was starting to rust. Also, food probably sticks to it when you use it.
Seasoning Your Cast Iron
- You will want to do this with a new cast iron pan as well.
- Wash it in warm, soapy water and scrub all rust off of it using steel wool or other abrasive surface. Towel dry immediately.
- Put into your oven and start preheating the oven to 350º.
- In five minutes, take it out. The oven will continue to preheat.
- Using canola oil or corn oil pour oil and smear it in with your fingers or a paper towel, rubbing it into the iron. Both sides! Be careful not to burn yourself.
- After it has been coated with oil put into an oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour
- Let it cool, then rub OFF the old oil then rub another coat of oil into it and put in oven at 350 degrees for another hour. Turn off the oven at 45 minutes into the cycle, but do not open the door.
- Let it cool completely, then wipe excess oil off it. This only has to be done once unless it burns or you use soap on it.
Cooking with Your Cast Iron
- If it has been weeks (or more) since using your cast iron, rinse it before starting to heat the pan.
- Always rub a bit of Canola oil on your pan when it begins to heat up
- Spread the oil over the surface
- Use medium to medium-high heat
- Always let it preheat completely before cooking in it.
- Do not cook over 500º
- Always use potholders or mitts. The handle will be hot.
- Never use in a microwave
- Never allow liquids to completely boil away.
- If cooking on a ceramic or halogen cooking surface always lift the pan, do not slide it. Sliding it will damage your cooking surface.
THE PENNY TRICK – If you are boiling water, put a penny in the bottom of your pan. If it boils dry (which will ruin your pan) the penny will start to rattle because of the boiling water beneath the penny. The rattling will tell you your pan is nearly empty (usually) before your pot is destroyed.
Cleaning Your Cast Iron
- Never put water onto the cooking surface until it is 250º or less in temperature
- Let the hot water tap get as HOT as possible.
- If you want, boil water on the stove.
- Pour the hot water over the cooking surface.
- Scrape with a metal spatula if necessary.
- NEVER use soap on it, that will remove the coating.
If you DO use soap on it, you must season it again.
- Dry immediately and completely with a towel before putting it away.
- If I’ve used the oven, I put it into the warm oven to help it thoroughly dry.
- Never use bleach
- Never use oven cleaner
- Never clean in a dish washing machine
- Never use a Brillo pad without seasoning it afterward.
- Do not store your pan with the lid on, as it inhibits air flow.
Why you Never Want to use Soap
- The oil creates almost a Teflon surface on the skillet.
- It was the hot oil time after time after time that gave scientists the idea for Teflon, but cast iron is better because there are no chemicals.
- If you use soap, it cuts the oil and your pan starts to rust again.
- If you ever HAVE to wash it in soap, repeat the entire seasoning process again.