A Guide to Your Cast Iron Cookware

Cast iron cookware was originally limited to simple frying pans and casserole dishes. Eventually, it expanded to other cookware products and is now available in sets of different kinds and sizes.  Plain cast iron cookware also later on evolved to enameled cast iron cookware.  Enamel cast iron cookware is cast iron coated with vitreous enamel.  The coating allows you to use the cookware without having to season it.  It also eliminates the tedious process of cleaning cast iron cookware.

The attractiveness of cast iron cookware sets since time immemorial can be attributed the materials’ ability to distribute and retain heat evenly.  It is also a non reactive metal so it does not interfere with the flavors of your dish. It remains the preferred cookware for outdoor cookouts especially now with the availability of cast iron enamel cookware which makes it more convenient to use and more stylish as it is now offered in different colors.  It was mostly available only in charcoal or gray color before.  This color made old cast iron cookware look very rugged and not pleasing to display in one’s kitchen.  The availability of colored enamel coated cast iron cookware made it pretty and displaying it in your kitchen without making it look rough is now achievable.

Seasoning cast iron cookware

cast iron cookwareWhen you use conventional cast iron cookware without seasoning it, food will stick to it and make it hard for you to proceed with your cooking.  For cast iron to be used in cooking it has to be altered a bit by greasing it and this method is called seasoning.  There are different techniques in seasoning cast iron.  The goal is to plug the pores of the cooking pan or pot with oils or fat to make it stick-resistant.  To do this, you put a thin layer of fat or oil to the cookware and place it inside an oven which has been preheated 350 degrees Fahrenheit or on a cook top on low fire or heat.

To allow your “seasoning” to last, do not wash the cookware with soap.  To clean the cookware, your may use rough scrubbing pad and hot water and you have to dry it immediately.

Advantages of Enameled Cast Iron

Convenience is the best advantage of enameled cast iron against vintage cast iron cookwareEnameled cast iron need not be seasoned, it can be used as is as it is already coated and has non-stick attributes.  Cleaning is also easier, either by manual washing with soap and water or by using a dish washer.

How can cast iron cookware last for generations?

A well taken cared off cast iron will last you a lifetime and beyond.  Seasoning iron cast may be a tiresome process but is very important in the upkeep of your cookware.  Proper washing would also add life to you cast iron and will prevent the need to re-season it.

Guide on Seasoning Cast Iron Cookware Set

  1. Clean the cookware with warm water. It is not recommended to use dishwashing liquid or soap.  To remove any food residues stuck on the cookware, use solid brush.  For residues which really need to be washed with soap, you may do so since you are about to season your cookware.  As earlier mentioned, seasoning is putting grease on your cast iron cookware and soap may take grease off.
  2. Make sure to dry the cookware completely with a clean cloth or paper.
  3. Using a clean cloth spread a thin layer of fat or oil over the cookware. Do not spread out too much fat or oil as the excess may turn sour and affect the flavor of your dishes or spoil them.
  4. Preheat your over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place the cookware bottoms up in the oven and leave it inside for an hour.
  5. Remove from the oven after an hour and allow cooling.

Proper Storage of Cast Iron

While using your cookware daily is recommended, there would be times that you may need to let your cast iron pan to rest and allow your other cookware to serve you.  Proper storage of cast iron is important for its useful life to last long.

  1. You may hang the cookware and make a display of them.  This way you ensure proper ventilation.
  2. If you must store in a cupboard, place a paper towel between each pan when storing.  The paper towel will absorb moisture that may develop during storage.  Do not cover the pan as it needs proper air ventilation.

A properly stored cast iron cookware could just be rinsed with water and toweled dry right before using again.  Do not wash with soap!

To know which the best cast iron cookware brand is, you may check out other cast iron cookware reviews.