Iron Pan

Iron Pan

If you don’t own a cast iron skillet, now is the time to invest in one

Cast iron griddles are the best quality type of griddle you can purchase. They are heavy, but they are very durable and they heat up fast. The cast iron makes the food turn out much better than an iron made of Teflon or some other material. This is because the griddle heats food evenly and consistently. Some people are still cooking out of cast iron griddles that their mom and grandmother used. As long as there are no cracks in it, go ahead and use it. They are stick resistance and do not require using oil.

The cast iron griddle allows food to glide out without sticking. This makes cleaning up much easier. The griddle can be used on the stove top or in the oven, depending on your preference. Chefs all around the world consider cast iron griddles a must have item in their kitchen.

If you don’t own a cast iron skillet, now is the time to invest in one. I promise you won’t be disappointed. You can find them online at a great price. Yard sales and flea markets are also great places to find them at low prices. Some people are disappointed with their cast iron skillet, claiming everything sticks to it. Not to worry, this can easily be resolved. It just isn’t seasoned right. Seasoning or curing cast iron means filling the pores and voids in the metal with grease of some sort. As this grease gets cooked in the pan will have a smooth nonstick surface on both the inside and outside.

For best results, pre-heat your cast iron griddle before adding anything to it. Water droplets should sizzle when sprinkled on the pan. If they don’t allow it to heat more, then try again. Once they do heat up, the get very hot. Most griddles to day have a handle that stays cooler, but a pan made of cast iron will have a very hot handle, so remember to use a pot holder. Do not pour large amounts of cold liquid into a cast iron pan. This may cause the pan to crack.

 

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How to take proper care of a cast iron pan?

Help me please, I just got a very nice cast iron pan! Never had one before.
What works best for you to keep it stainless, non-sticking and prevent carrying tastes of past dishes? How do you store it?

BEFORE ANY USE

If you purchased one that is preseasoned, then you are largely on your way. You might want to take some time and season it once or twice yourself so that you can practice.

Seasoning Process for new cast iron:

If the pan needs to be seasoned, then simply cover it with vegetable, canola, or olive oil. Make certain that the entire surface (both the inside of the pan and the outside) is coated and use a paper towel or to gently work the oil into the surface. You bare hand also works well for this. With the inside of the pan, you can swirl some oil around for the initial coating. Wipe away the excess with a paper towel or two.

Place the pan or skillet upside down (with the surface used for cooking the food facing down) in a preheated 350° oven for an hour. You might want to place a baking sheet or some foil underneath it to catch any excess oil that might drip off during cooking. When an hour is up, allow the pan to cool to room temperature before you try and remove it.

You might need to repeat this several times in order to develop a decent layer of seasoning. The pan should have a dark black surface when it is ready for use.

COOKING

Try to cook fattier foods the first several times you use the skillet-hamburgers, fried chicken, etc. AVOID foods that are acidic, as they can break down the seasoning. It can also react with the iron, causing off tastes and colors in your food.

Try to use the pan frequently.

Never put hot liquids into a cool pan, or cold liquids into a hot pan, as the metal can fracture due to the sudden temperature change.

CLEANING & STORAGE

Never use soap to clean cast iron, as the chemicals will break down the seasoning. Use a stiff-but not wire- brush to clean the pan while it is still somewhat warm. Some people, including myself, will also use rock salt or regular granulated salt to add some scouring power.

If the pan has some food that will not come off, you can try placing it in an oven and running the oven’s self-cleaning feature through a full cycle. Leave the pot or pan in the oven until it is cool enough to handle. Alternately, you can try to heat the pan enough to dislodge the stuck food. If you are still having trouble, then you might need to use soap and simply reseason the cookware again.

The pan must be dried thoroughly of ALL water droplets before it is placed in storage.

After drying, I like to put some regular olive oil or corn oil into the pan, particularly the inside, swirl it around, and remove the excess with a clean paper towel or two. This will help to bolster the seasoning after each use.

It’s a good idea to go through the full seasoning process occasionally to make certain that a good layer of seasoning is always present.

Make certain that you store than pan in a place where it will not be exposed to moisture. If you want to place the pan on a hook or some other raised storage, make certain that the hook can support the pan’s weight. Cast iron is very heavy and can bring down some storage racks if they are not fitted properly or cannot carry a heavy load.

If the item in question is a pot or Dutch oven, you should place at least one or two folded paper towels between the pot and the lid to avoid entirely cutting off the air flow into the pan, as rust can form during long periods of storage.



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