Cleaning a Cast Iron Skillet
Cleaning a cast iron skillet is simpler than cleaning other skillets and cookware. The fact that’s cast iron is made out of iron means you can use abrasive scrubbers or cloths on the surface without worry of damaging it. You also don’t have to use any dish soap, in fact, using dish liquid on a cast iron surface is discouraged because it will remove the seasoning layer from the surface. All you have to do to clean cast iron is wipe it clean and rinse thoroughly. In the cases where your cast iron skillet is so far gone and rusted to the point, it is unusable, though, rest assured there are ways of cleaning to return it to new condition. Nick, the author of Macheesmo lifestyle blog, can show you how to clean a pan with burnt on food or rust easily, plus how to re-season it after.
If you have always wondered how to clean a frying pan once it gets to the point of being rusted, the process will be very different from cleaning other skillets in your home. While using harsh materials on non-stick pans is discouraged, it is usually fine with a cast iron pan, especially one as rusted as Nick’s. He employs a steel wool scrubber, hot water, and liquid dish soap to remove all the rusted bits from the cast iron skillet. This is not an everyday task, and not recommended for cast iron, because when dish soap is applied to the surface, it lifts the oils that have built up in the skillet over years of cooking. These oils are what is called the seasoning in a skillet. If you have a skillet that is as rusted out as Nick’s, or have found one at a garage sale, antique store or own one as a family heirloom, this cleaning process will become necessary, though. Once you have employed Nick’s cleaning methods and re-seasoned the pan, proper care will ensure you won’t have to go through as intense a process.
The best thing to maintain cast iron, so you don’t have to go through intensive cleaning measures again is to cook in it frequently. Cast iron loves fat but dislikes anything acidic. The iron absorbs any fat whether it be butter, oil or the juices from meat, which makes the surface more non-stick over time. These oils also protect cast iron from rusting over time. Anything acidic will lift the oils out of the cast iron and make it less non-stick. If the surface of your cast iron skillet is getting dull and losing shine, before storing it is an excellent idea to grease it lightly with oil. Hopefully, you won’t have to go through this detailed cleaning your cast iron for a very long time.
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