Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday: Cleaning Cast Iron

A year or two ago, after reading about the dangers of teflon (and other non-stick brands), especially if scratched. I got rid of all my non-stick skillets, dug through the basement and found the cast iron skillet we used for camping, and hit a couple discount stores to get a couple smaller cast iron skillets (at the time I bought new because I was impatient & it wasn't yard sale season, I later realized that, as a vegetarian, I'd made the right choice. Cast iron is porous so if you cook meat (or use lard for seasoning) it gets into the pan, and comes out into food cooked later, not something I want).

So, I started using my cast iron skillets. For the most part I liked them, but with eggs they were HORRIBLE!! The eggs stuck to the pan SO bad! I figured out that if I let it sit for awhile and the egg dried off I could kind of scrape it away and then wash the rest out but still, it was frustrating, my solution was to cook eggs less often LOL.

And then someone told me the secret to cleaning cast iron!! Actually they told me 2 secrets. The first one is, because cast iron holds the heat so well, never cook w/ it at high temperatures. My normal method of starting with the burner on high & turning it down once the pan was hot doesn't work with cast iron because the pan keeps the higher temperature. Once I trained myself to never turn the burner past med. the eggs stuck a LOT less.

But here's the better secret. No matter what you're cooking, once you're done, pour some water into the skillet & turn it up to med-high heat. Wait for it to get close to boiling, then use a pancake turner or something (I use the little plastic scraper that came with my Pampered Chef stoneware) to gently (and it will take NO effort) scrape the food loose. Then just dump out the water, and rinse away any pieces off food that remain (you also don't want to use soap on cast iron, it can strip the seasoning). To dry, just set it back on the hot burner for a few minutes & the water will cook away. Add a light layer of oil to re-season, and you're good to go!

And that's what works for me! To read lots of other tips, check out Rocks In My Dryer.

3 comments:

The Roaming Southerner said...

Those are great tips!!!!! thanks for sharing!

Ann said...

I'm gonna give it a try!

Frazzmom said...

I also love my cast iron griddle- but since it has no sides the water trip doesn't work for me. I put it in the sink and run very hot water over it. Turn off the faucet, dump some salt on it and scrub. It works every time!