Discovering The Best Way to Care for Your Cast Iron Cookware
Cast iron cookware has a reputation for being versatile and is one of the most popular pans for cooking. It is also thought to be one of the most challenging cookware items to care for when it is extremely easy.
How to Clean Your Cast Iron Cookware
For years, professionals in the foodservice industry and everyday cooks have argued over the proper way to clean cast iron cookware.
The biggest debated question is, can you clean cast iron cookware with soap. Half say yes, it’s okay, and the other half swear it will ruin the pan.
After lots of research, the answer to this long-debated question is – you can clean cast iron with soap. Residential and foodservice grade dish detergent is not strong enough to remove the seasoning from your cast iron cookware.
When the soap or no soap debate began a long time ago, dish detergent was a lot more powerful. It contained vinegar and lye, both of which damage cast iron – it, striped the skillets and pans of the oil and even partially or in some cases, completely of the seasoning. Dish soap is now more environmentally friendly and does not contain either of those ingredients. Environmentalists and volunteers use dish detergent to clean wildlife. This proving dish soap is a mild detergent and will not harm your cast iron.
For those who believe that answer is incorrect and unacceptable, you have plenty of other options for cleaning your cast iron.
Some chefs prefer cleaning their cast iron cookware with kosher salt. While kosher salt is coarse and seems like scrubbing cast iron with it could be damaging, it is not. Cast iron is harder than salt, so it will not scratch, scrape, or remove the seasoning from the pans.
Dump a few tablespoons of salt into the pan and use a dry paper towel to wipe the skillet/pan out. Then give it a quick rinse in lukewarm water and dry the pan.
Brush & Scraper
Using a brush or scraper to remove the food is a good and simple way to clean cast iron. They are even gentle enough to use on enamel cast iron. Next, use a dry paper towel to wipe out any food you scraped off.
While some chefs in the foodservice industry season their cast iron cookware with bacon grease, others use the grease to clean the skillet.
Bacon grease is a natural fat, and once it has been sitting for a few hours, it cools and separates, making rubbing some grease on cast iron easy. Not only does it clean the pan, but it also shines the pan, improving its appearance. If you place it on the stove, the bacon grease can also season the pain after five to ten minutes. Bacon grease is a great and inexpensive way to take care of your cast iron cookware.
Baking soda is usually reserved for food that is tough to get off the skillet or pan. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of baking soda on the bottom of the pan, concentrated on the area where the food is clumped together. Use a scrub brush and scrub it off, then rinse with hot water. If the cast iron pan is not clean, repeat the process.
Eventually, your cast iron cookware has to be cleaned, or it will become rancid. The method you choose to clean it with is up to you. All the methods listed above are acceptable and will not harm your cast iron skillets or pans.