Cast iron cookware lasts a lifetime. It cooks evenly and adds iron, a beneficial nutrient, to your food. Cast iron that is well-seasoned is nonstick, and there is no need for additional oil for cooking. One pan can go from the stove top to the oven, making it very versatile. Cleaning cast iron is not like cleaning your regular pots and pans. To clean a cast iron skillet requires few steps and should be done on a regular basis. Take care of your cast iron skillet properly, and you will able to enjoy cooking in it for many years.
After cooking, allow the skillet to cool. Wash it with a little dishwashing soap and water. Do not let a pan sit in dishwater; rather, wash it immediately. Dry it with paper towels.
There is a lot of debate by iron skillet users about whether or not to use soap and water on your skillet. For health reasons, you should clean it with soap and water, but do not soak the skillet. Dishwashing liquids can strip the seasoning from your skillet, so you may have to re-season it a little after washing.
Put the cleaned skillet on the stove top and heat it for about 2 minutes until it is thoroughly dry. While the pan is heating, apply a thin coat of vegetable oil to the pan. Leave it on the stove for a few more minutes and then remove from the burner. After the pan cools, wipe out the excess oil.
Place a few paper towels inside the skillet and store without lids on. The paper towels will absorb any moisture and keep your skillets from rusting.
While the skillet is still hot, pour boiling water inside it. Scrub the skillet lightly with a stiff brush, which will help to remove any stuck-on food. If your skillet has developed that prized patina finish, substitute a small plastic scrubber in place of a brush. Pour out the water and rinse thoroughly. After rinsing, dry the skillet completely with paper towels.
Apply a thin coat of vegetable oil by spreading it with a paper towel. Be sure to oil the edges as well as the corners of the side and bottom. Heat the skillet on the stove top for a few minutes and then allow it to cool. After it is cool, place paper towels in the bottom and store until you use it again.
Always use lard or vegetable oil to season your skillets. Avoid the use of olive oil as this tends to make your skillet sticky. Also ensure that the skillet is completely dry before you put it away.
Results from using cast iron on an electric stove varies. Although they cook extremely well on gas stoves, the heating element on an electric stove may centralize the heat more in one area of the skillet.
Always wash your skillet immediately after using. This will help to minimize food sticking in spots where the seasoning may be thin.