Cast iron has played a major role in our world’s history, with the earliest cast-iron artifacts dating back all the way to 5th century BC. Throughout the centuries, cast iron pots and cauldrons became popular because they were highly durable, cooked meals evenly, and made food taste better. Fashioned with thick handles and long legs, they were specially designed for cooking over a hearth or fire, which was the most common form of fuel in a home during those times. But eventually, stoves were introduced into residential kitchens, logically eliminating the need for legs and handles. As a result, the flat-bottomed cast iron pot was invented, and eventually dubbed the skillet.
Today, cast iron skillets are still among the most popular methods of high-heat and heat retention cooking for these same qualities. Even better, innovative advances in the cookware industry have further improved the natural science behind cast iron cooking! There are even several sizes, colors, and shapes to choose from on the market, so there is one for every cooking need!
If you are interested in improving your cast iron cooking skills, it all starts with cast iron skillet best practices. Continue below to learn the top 4 tips for using and caring for a cast iron skillet.
❶ Do Not Wash It
Your cast iron skillet is special and more delicate than you think. It cannot withstand the astringent properties in dish detergents, let alone the abrasive textures of scrubbing pads and sponges. This means they cannot be washed in the same way as conventional cookware. You see, it gets naturally “seasoned” with a light coating of oil every time you use it. Not only does this enhance the flavor of your meals the more you use your cast iron, the congealed oil settles within the minuscule holes of the skillet, thus creating a natural seal that protects against burning, rusting, and more.
❷ Periodically Deep Clean It
Just because you are not supposed to wash your cast iron after every use does not mean you never clean it at all. Periodically clean away the caked on remnants of past meal preps by adding one cup of water to the skillet, and then putting it on high heat. This will boil off any solid debris stuck to the surface. If this does not do the trick, use kosher or sea salt and a paper towel to gently scrub the gunk away, and then repeat the process.
❸ Store Cast Iron in a Safe Spot
You do not want to dent, chip, or nick your cast iron skillet because it can cause rust formation, and negatively affect the quality of sear you get on your food. Be sure to store your cast iron skillets flat so they cannot topple over. You can also store them in between your other pots and pans so long as you use layers of felt or paper towel to prevent scratching.
❹ Avoid Using Metal Utensils
Unless using extreme care and focus, avoid using metal spatulas, spoons, and other utensils while cooking in a cast iron skillet. The metal can be too abrasive, and potentially scratch the surface of the skillet. And as mentioned before, scratches can lead to rust and uneven cooking. Instead, stick with a trusty and safe wooden spoon or plastic spatula.
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