Care & Use
A little love goes a long way.
Love your skillet and it will love you.
Cast-iron needs a little love from time to time to keep it in good condition and to maintain its non-stick seasoning. This may seem like a little bit of a hassle, but if you take the time to care for and use your skillet correctly it will last you a lifetime.
Seasoning Your Skillet
- Set your oven up with a foil covered drip tray underneath the shelf you intend to place the pan on.
- Pre heat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
- Using a kitchen cloth or paper towel spread about a teaspoon of vegetable oil (grapeseed, canola etc) over the cooking surface of the pan. Make sure that the coating is thin and evenly spread. Any pooling will give you an un-even finish.
- Place the pan upside down to further prevent pooling.
- Bake the cookware for at least one hour. After the hour, turn the oven off and let your skillet cool in the oven.
- Store the cookware uncovered, in a dry place when cooled.
- You can repeat the process if you like, but once you have created the initial seasoning it will naturally build up and improve with use and time.
Repairing and Re-Seasoning
Everyone does it from time to time. You have your pan nicely seasoned and it has a beautiful, natural non-stick surface. You accidentally burn something in it and the surface gets damaged. Not to worry. The beauty of cast-iron is that with a little effort you can restore that surface and carry on using it.
- Take a steel wool, scrub the surface of your pan to remove all the burnt-on food and to level out the surface. Basically, we want to remove the entire seasoning surface.
- Then simply follow the instructions above to re-season your pan.
You will notice that the non-stick surface will take a few uses to become what it once was, but you will soon put this terrible incident behind you and it will be like it never happened.
Cleaning your Skillet
Cast-iron loves food. Burnt on fats and oils are what makes up the natural non-stick coating. This coating is perfectly healthy and safe. With this in mind we advise you simply use a nylon scrubbing brush and hot water to clean your pan. You can use a little soap, but it’s not necessary. Dish soap is formulated to break down oils and fats and it will deteriorate your seasoning.
You can also use a plastic food scraper like those often found on the back side of nylon scrubbing brushes to remove any stubborn food material stuck to the surface. Never use harsh cleaning products or steel wool to clean your pan, these products should only be used to re-season.
Over time you will become familiar with the black slick looking surface that represents a perfectly seasoned pan and then you will know what clean, well-seasoned cast iron looks like. You are not looking to scrub you pan until it has a dry completely oil free surface, it should be a little oily.
This advice may seem a little disconcerting, but from a food safety point a cast iron skillet will reach 150 -200 degrees Celsius during cooking. Most professionals will tell you that any bacteria are likely dead at around 65 degrees Celsius. In fact, the oily surface prevents rust build up and stops any water from impregnating the porous surface of the pan, which would create a superior environment for bacteria to grow.
A few simple tips for using your Skillet
The natural seasoning build-up on a cast iron skillet is made up of burnt on oils and fats. Acidic liquids break this down. While we understand that deglazing is a common and integral part of cooking it is important to know that this process will reduce your season and so we advise you to avoid this for the first few times you use your pan. Once you have a solid season build up you can start deglazing and creating sauces in your pan.
As a general rule we also suggest avoiding long reductions. Quick sauces created by deglazing your pan after cooking meats are fine, but long reductions will remove your seasoning.
Storing you Skillets
Storing your skillet correctly will go along way to helping to maintain the non-stick seasoning and preventing rust. If you use you skillet often right on the stove top is the best place for it, but pan hooks above the stove or a counter top pan rack are also great alternatives. Ideally give your pan a thin coating of oil before storing and just make sure to store in a dry place.
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