Cast iron cookware has been a favorite among people since 5th century BC. The Chinese invented it first by putting the iron into molds. Steel was preferable in making things too. It was cheaper at that time, and people started using it to make things of daily use. After the 15th century, it became popular in the West.
If you haven’t used cast iron cookware in your cooking yet, you are missing out on something great. Cast iron cookware is famous for their resilience and the capacity of retaining heat for a long time.
People love using cast iron cookware for its amazing features which are different from the cookware made of other materials. Although cast iron cookware is recommended by many to use in cooking food, it has some downsides as well. It needs great care and seasoning if one wishes it to last for a long time.
Cast Iron Cookware
Cast iron is basically a combination of iron and carbon where the amount of carbon is 2%-4%. Other minerals such as silicon, manganese, sulfur, and phosphorus are also found in its composition.
It distributes the heat beneath the cooking pot evenly. It takes too much time to get heated after the fire gets turned on. On the other hand, it consumes a large amount of time to get cooled down if it gets overheated.
Cast iron cookware is vulnerable at times though the durability of this material is praiseworthy.
Pros of Cast Iron Cookware
- excellent heat retention capacity
- affordable price
- distributes heat evenly
- food gets cooked properly
- healthy and safe to cook food in
- amazing durability and sturdiness
- gives a good nonstick surface (if seasoned well)
- thick and heavy in weight
- not damageable easily
Cons of Cast Iron Cookware
- needs great care
- reactive to acidic food at times
- takes time to distribute the heat evenly
- takes too long to cool down
- hard to carry if too big in size
Why Does Cast Iron Cookware Need Seasoning and Cleaning?
‘Seasoning’ and ‘cleaning’ are like saviors of cast iron cookware if one intends to make it last. Without seasoning, cast iron cookware will almost start acting like a despicable enemy of yours. Without cleaning, cast iron cookware will make your life no less than hell.
The detailed discussion over seasoning and cleaning cast iron cookware is given below:
Seasoning of Cast Iron Cookware
Seasoning is a process to make the cooking surface non-stick and slick so that no residue stays or gets stuck on the cookware. Actually, proper seasoning helps cast iron cookware to protect the surface from rust, keeps food intact and away from reacting with the iron of the cookware.
Accordingly, it prevents the food from sticking on to the surface. In addition, enamel-coated cast iron cookware needs no extra seasoning as the enamel itself prevents the cookware from rusting.
Cleaning a Cast Iron Cookware Up
The cleaning process of the cast iron cookware is totally different from every other cookware out there as it needs intensive care if one wishes to keep it for a lifetime. There are arguments over how a cast iron cookware should get cleaned up which are quite debatable.
One group claims that wipes will do better cleaning as it needs no touch of soap and water whereas the other group believes in using a mild soap to wash it off.
How to Season Cast Iron Cookware?
- One must wash the cast iron cookware thoroughly with soapy water.
- Dry it up as quickly as possible.
- A thin layer of vegetable oil has to be spread or brushed all over the surface.
- Place the cookware upside down into a large oven with the heat at 375-degree Fahrenheit or 180 degree Celsius
- Bake for one hour straight
- Let it cool down by itself in the oven.
Repeating the same process gives the cast iron cookware extra protective layers which protects it from easily getting damaged. It is recommended by the experts to keep seasoning cast iron pan regularly to keep its features intact and make it long-lasting.
How to Clean Cast Iron Cookware Up?
- If the surface has rust stains, one must use a rust eraser first then season it again with oil.
- To scrub the food residue off, one must use kosher salt that is good for scrubbing.
- It is recommended to use soap while cleaning it up as it may harm the nonstick properties of the seasoned cast iron cookware.
- As cast-iron cookware tends to be reactive to acidic foods at times, it is strictly prohibited to marinate in this.
- Metal spatulas are enemies of cast iron cookware as it damages the surface and makes it scratchy and uneven.
- Boiling water in cast iron cookware causes corrosion.
Some people fear that cast iron cookware needs high maintenance after knowing about the seasoning and cleaning process of it. All it needs is just a little time and care, which increases the chances of its higher longevity and keeps the firmness and resilience intact for years.
If it’s seasoned and cleaned up well, assure yourself that the cast iron cookware will stay with you for a lifetime without getting damaged.
To conclude, it can be said that seasoning and cleaning the cast iron cookware is not a hard nut to crack. All you need is to follow some guidelines to make it last forever.