View Full Version : Cast Iron Pans


letsrockit
07-22-10, 02:47 PM
What is the best way to celan cast iron pans? Especially when they have baked on gook that needs to come off? What do you do with the leftover grease?

And how do you keep them well-seasoned?

:D

OnlyMe
07-22-10, 04:02 PM
I let the grease congeal, then wipe it out with a paper towel, which I throw away. Then I take a bamboo scraper I have (it's a little square thingy, about three inches on a side, supposed to be for cleaning dishes, I got it at a grocery store) and scrape the baked on gook off with it. If it doesn't get all the stuff, then I put a tablespoon or so of salt in the pan and scrub with a paper towel again, that usually gets off everything.

To keep it seasoned, I'll wipe the whole pan down with olive oil and (you guessed it) a paper towel. Then I let it sit on low heat for ten minutes, turn off the heat and let it cool down. I have to have a nice loud timer on, or I risk forgetting about the pan and making a smokey mess.

Dizfriz
07-22-10, 04:16 PM
There are a lot of ways to take care of cast iron cookware, most of them work so pick the one that best suits you.

Here is mine:

I love cast iron and have been cooking with it for many moons so to speak.

I will describe my old bachelor method. It works for me.

For the most part, I just wipe mine down with a paper towel or rag. If food bakes and gets too thick then wash with soap and water but don't scrub too deep in the bottom. One of the things that makes them so good is once the pores get fulled up, a cast iron pan becomes pretty much non stick.My oldest pan's cooking surface is as smooth as a piece of glass.

When I am forced to scrub, I after either put some oil and heat on the stove top or simply cook a couple of pieces of bacon and rub in the grease then wipe clean.

For my grease: I live in the country and have a septic system, therefore I do not put grease down the sink (it is not a good thing to do anyway as it will clog up your drainage from the sink). If there is a lot, I sometimes pour the cool but still liquid grease into an empty water bottle or cold drink can and then cap the bottle or put a sandwich bag over the can with a rubber band and throw away. If it is something like bacon grease, save and put in the fridg.

Good luck. Cast iron cooking is the best at what it does.Take good care of it but good enough is good enough. If you stay relaxed about it, the pans will last your grandchildren's lives.

Dizfriz

Lunacie
07-22-10, 04:42 PM
We're still using the cast iron griddle that my grandma-in-law gave us. My daughter uses it as much as I do, and her daughter is learning to cook on it now. Maybe it's because it's so old and well-seasoned that I don't worry about it. I give it a quick swish with a soapy net scrubbie and a quick rinse in hot water and let air dry. Not a speck of rust on it anywhere.

I only give it a quick wash after using it to grill burgers or something really greasy like that. Otherwise I just wipe it off with a paper towel and leave it sitting on top of the stove until we use it again. We use it at least twice a week, often more than that. It's wonderful for a grilled cheese sandwich. My daughter likes it for frying eggs -but I prefer my little teflon pan for that.

βĩο₱Ħعℓĩᶏ
07-22-10, 07:02 PM
If you've got some really old cast iron that's quite rusty and/or has crusty layers of food on it you can use a grinder to clean it up...

For cleaning after use I let it cool and run hot water over it. I scrub it out with a non-soaped coarse dish brush with a scraper at the end, or will use a scotch bright pad. If it is bad I will soak in hot water for awhile and if it is particularly bad I will make a paste of baking soda and salt let sit for awhile then clean as normal.

I will then dry lightly, put back onto the oven and heat it up to evaporate all the water and open pores. Then to season I use a bit of canola oil (I find olive oil has a lower smoke point, and I swear I can taste that flavor...),spread it around (brush, spatula, paper towel, just picking up the pan, any which way I feel like) and wipe out excess. Turn off the burner and leave it.

Cast iron is awesome, awesome, awesome! It's the most rewarding cookware EVER. As the others pointed out... it lasts generations and if properly taken care of it's essentially non stick, food tastes better, can get to higher temperatures than non-stick can w/o breaking down and leaching PFIBs... can sear a steak and then place it for finishing in the oven...

I am super jazzed others love their cast irons too! I get really weird looks most the time when I tell people what I cook with...

Amtram
07-22-10, 07:38 PM
I've had a glass cooktop for the last 5 years, so the cast iron is gone from my life. However, I used it for almost everything back when I had gas stoves.

If the gunk is horribly crusty, put the cast iron and a cup or so of ammonia in a dark plastic bag. Twist the bag up so it's airtight, and let it sit in a sunny spot for a day or two. At that point, you should be able to get most or all of the grease off and start seasoning from scratch. If not, repeat as needed.

To season, don't use soap. You can rinse it with hot water, scrub it with an abrasive sponge, but keep the soap away, and don't soak the pan in water! In the beginning, you'll want to wipe the water off, then put the pan in a 250 degree oven to finish drying. Let it cool a bit, then wipe some oil all over the inside with a paper towel, and pop it back in the oven for about a half hour.

After it's seasoned, then all you need to do is hot water, scrubbing sponge, paper towel, and then dry in the 250 degree oven. At that point, things shouldn't be sticking, so you shouldn't be accumulating any gunk or bumpy stuff.

BJC81
07-23-10, 02:49 AM
Cast iron pans rock!!

letsrockit
07-23-10, 09:01 AM
I let the grease congeal, then wipe it out with a paper towel, which I throw away. Then I take a bamboo scraper I have (it's a little square thingy, about three inches on a side, supposed to be for cleaning dishes, I got it at a grocery store) and scrape the baked on gook off with it. If it doesn't get all the stuff, then I put a tablespoon or so of salt in the pan and scrub with a paper towel again, that usually gets off everything.

To keep it seasoned, I'll wipe the whole pan down with olive oil and (you guessed it) a paper towel. Then I let it sit on low heat for ten minutes, turn off the heat and let it cool down. I have to have a nice loud timer on, or I risk forgetting about the pan and making a smokey mess.


Perfect ! Thank you - but why do you turn the pan on low heat to season it? Are we supposed to do that? I have just been puring veggie oil in it - with a real thick coating - and letting it sit on the stove like that until the next use...

letsrockit
07-23-10, 09:11 AM
Wish I had known this in the beginning lol

I have had my cast iron pan for 2 years, but have only began using it on a some-what regular basis for the past few months.

Anyway, I had been rinsing in hot tap water to clean, and scraping th gunk off, as you all said.

The other day I noticed that the bottom of the pan looked like it was peeling off or somthing!!!! I put a salt paste in the pan and scrubbed it out wtih a paper towel - that got everything off, but now there are weird looking marks on the bottom of the pan - like gray blots where the cast iron has worn off or something.

Is this normal?

Thanks for the advice on cleaning - wasn't sure if I was doing it correctly - you guys are awesome!!!

Also, I will start seasoning over the heat on the stove top :)

Marspider
07-23-10, 09:47 AM
I've used washing powder, the enzymes help break down the grease.

OnlyMe
07-23-10, 11:45 AM
Perfect ! Thank you - but why do you turn the pan on low heat to season it? Are we supposed to do that? I have just been puring veggie oil in it - with a real thick coating - and letting it sit on the stove like that until the next use...

Mostly it's easier, partly because I believe (that means it makes sense but I haven't really done the work to know) that it takes less energy and is therefore thriftier. It's only a touch up, the initial seasoning and any major reseasonings should be done in the oven; but this seems to work to keep things chugging along.

Amtram
07-23-10, 03:15 PM
You don't want to put a thick coating of oil on. That's going to lead to sticky globs. Pour a tablespoon or so in and wipe it around with a paper towel then heat the pan up. That's all you need, you just need to do it a dozen or so times before it's seasoned well.