Cleaning a cast iron pan may sound like a daunting task, but I will try to make it easy for you. Cast iron pans are renowned for their durability and ability to impart delicious flavours to your food, but they do require a bit of care to maintain. In this guide, we’ll break down the cleaning process into simple steps, ensuring your cast iron pan stays in top-notch condition.
Step 1: Gather Your Tools
To clean your cast iron pan effectively, you won’t need a cabinet full of fancy cleaning products. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Warm Water: Avoid using hot water, as extreme temperature changes can cause your pan to warp.
- A Soft Brush or Sponge: Choose a gentle scrubbing tool to avoid damaging the seasoning.
- Kosher Salt or Baking Soda: These natural abrasives will help lift food residue.
- Paper Towels or Cloth Towels: For drying and applying a thin layer of oil.
- Vegetable Oil or Shortening: To re-season your pan after cleaning.
Step 2: Let It Cool
After you’ve finished cooking, allow your cast iron pan to cool naturally. Avoid pouring cold water into a hot pan, as this can lead to cracking.
Step 3: Scrub with Salt or Baking Soda
Once your pan is cool to the touch but still warm, sprinkle a generous amount of kosher salt or baking soda onto the cooking surface. These natural abrasives will help break down stuck-on food without damaging the seasoning.
Take a soft brush or sponge and gently scrub the pan’s surface, paying extra attention to any stubborn spots. The coarse texture of the salt or baking soda will assist in loosening food particles.
Step 4: Rinse Thoroughly
Under warm running water, rinse the pan to remove the salt or baking soda and the loosened food residue. Be sure to use a gentle flow of water to avoid splattering.
Step 5: Dry Completely
Use a clean paper towel or cloth towel to pat the pan dry thoroughly. It’s crucial to remove all moisture to prevent rusting.
Step 6: Re-season Your Pan
To maintain the natural non-stick coating of your cast iron pan, it’s essential to re-season cast iron pan after each cleaning. Here’s how:
- Place your clean, dry pan on the stove over low heat to ensure it’s completely dry.
- Apply a small amount of vegetable oil or shortening to a paper towel.
- Rub a thin, even layer of oil over the entire pan, including the cooking surface, sides, and handle.
- Heat the pan on low for a few minutes until it begins to smoke slightly.
- Turn off the heat and let the pan cool completely. Your cast iron pan is now ready for the next cooking adventure.
To keep your cast iron pan in prime condition, here are some additional tips:
- Avoid Soap: While it’s okay to use mild soap sparingly, it’s generally best to avoid it, as it can strip away the pan’s seasoning.
- No Soaking: Never leave your cast iron pan to soak in water, as this can lead to rust.
- Use Gentle Utensils: Opt for wooden or silicone utensils to prevent scratching the seasoning.
- Store Properly: Store your pan in a dry place, and if you stack multiple pans, place a paper towel between them to prevent moisture buildup.
Cleaning a cast iron pan doesn’t have to be a complex chore, you can easily maintain your cast iron pan’s exceptional performance and longevity. Remember to let the pan cool, scrub gently with salt or baking soda, rinse, dry thoroughly, and re-season. By following these straightforward steps and practising proper maintenance, your cast iron pan will continue to be a trusted companion in your kitchen, enhancing your cooking adventures for years to come. Happy cooking! Also check out tea pot made of cast iron, you might like it.