The dilemma of “How to keep my cast iron Shining black? Like my Armour :) “

cleaning tips for cast iron

Buying a cast Iron is the best decision you can take to transform your kitchen and life towards sustainable living.

  • Cast iron likes Indian weather and likes to be dry – don’t leave your pan to soak in water for long periods. Water will corrode your seasoned non-stick surface and rust wills start to form. Always store your cast iron pan in a dry location.
  • Never put cast iron pan in the dishwasher. Doing so will remove the seasoned surface.
  • Cast iron corrodes really fast so after cleaning your cast iron, dry it thoroughly and wipe it down inside and out with a small amount of oil. This also keeps it in prime shape for your next use.
  • Make upcycled cloth towels which can be used in place of paper towels for more eco-friendly cleaning, but make sure to use a towel you don’t mind turning black.
  • The best way to keep your cast iron cookware in excellent shape is to use it regularly. The oils from cooking keep the seasoned patina in place.

Should you clean it using soap?

This is one of the most debatable topic like why did WHO not talk about Corona earlier.  Many traditionalists say no soap ever – washing a cast iron pan is a crime. But to a cook who has never used cast iron, the thought of not washing it sounds unsanitary.  It’s true that excessive use of soap can begin to dissolve the seasoned non-stick surface and expose bare iron, leading to sticking food and rust spots.

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The method for washing with soap is simple. After your pan has cooled somewhat, use a paper towel to wipe any remaining food out of the pan. A warm pan will more easily release stuck on food; just be sure that the pan isn’t too hot for you to handle safely! Add a little hot water and mild non-toxic dishwash and use  coir or vetiver scrubber to quickly clean the pan, rinse, and then dry thoroughly. Follow as usual to season with a thin coating of oil before storing the pan.

Should you scour your pan?

There will be times when your pan has more food stuck on than can be simply wiped out with a handmade towel. To remove stuck on food, simply add some coarsely ground salt, scrub it a little, and rinse with hot water. Many chefs also swear by scrubbing with dry cornmeal or baking soda. A gentle scour with a scrubbing sponge will also clean well without doing any damage to the surface of the pan. You can also use natural cleaners made from baking soda.

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You should always avoid scraping your pan with sharp utensils or knives. Most manufacturers don’t recommend using steel wool, either. Instead, use these gentle scouring alternatives that won’t harm the surface of your pan but will get it perfectly clean. After scouring away the stuck on food, rinse well with hot water, dry thoroughly, and oil as usual before storing.

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If it’s really stuck, nasty one.

If the dinner dishes sat longer than usual on the counter and your pan has a lot of dried food left in it, the simplest way to clean it is to put enough water in the pan to cover the remnants of food and simmer for about a minute. Pour out the water, gently scrape away as much of the softened food as you can, and then use one of the above methods to finish the cleaning job.

Cast iron skillet for not just frying.

In a pinch, another way to get a really dirty cast iron pan clean is to coat the surface of the pan with coarse salt, then scrub the pan with the flesh side of half a raw potato. The combination of iron, salt, and potato creates a mild acid that helps to clean off the worst messes. But be warned – this method will also cut through the seasoning of your pan and it will have to be completely re-seasoned.

Don’t let confusion over cleaning keep you from using your cast iron. These simple cleaning methods have worked for generations of cooks, and they’ll work for you too. So try out a new range of cast iron pans, and rest assured that the cleanup will be the simplest part of the meal.

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