How to Season and Clean a Cast Iron Skillet
Tips, Tools, and Techniques to Care for Antiques, Collectibles, and Other Treasures (Practical Guide Series)(University of North Texas Press, 2012), by Georgia Kemp Caraway, encourages readers to take care of their antiques and collectibles. Georgia Kemp Caraway shares ways to clean antiques that will not damage the surfaces. She also shares helpful tips about where and how to find and acquire antiques and collectibles. This excerpt can be found in “Cast Iron.”
Cast iron is an alloy of iron containing so much carbon that it is brittle and so cannot be wrought but must be shaped by casting.
Cast iron retains heat well, making it a popular choice for cooks, but it can be difficult to keep clean and sanitary.
Seasoning Cast Iron Cookware
To season a new cast iron skillet or griddle (or one that has been scoured), rub lightly with vegetable shortening. Coat both the exterior and the interior. Heat the utensil in a 250-degree oven for two hours. Vegetable oil is not recommended. It tends to leave a sticky coating.
The first few times you use cast iron utensils, cook foods high in fat, such as fried chicken or bacon, to build up the seasoning.
Wash cast iron after it has cooled with a little dishwashing liquid. According to the experts, detergents will not remove the seasoning. Do not soak the cookware.
If any food has stuck to the surface, use a scouring pad, then rub shortening over the area. Always be sure to oven dry or air-dry your cast iron completely to avoid rust. Store uncovered.
Never store food in cast iron cookware. The surface is porous and will absorb odors and flavors.
Cleaning Enameled Cast Iron
Clean with a soft pad or natural bristle brush. If food is stuck to the pan, it can be left to soak and then gently scrubbed with a nylon sponge. Never use steel wool or abrasives on enameled cookware.
Reprinted with permission from Tips, Tools, and Techniques to Care for Antiques, Collectibles, and Other Treasures (Practical Guide Series) by Georgia Kemp Caraway and published by University of North Texas Press, 2012.
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