One of the safe cookware that I love using is my cast iron skillet. It is one of the best, if not only, safe alternative to non-stick cookware.
This is how I clean mine, which can sometimes take me just under 5 seconds to 1 minute.
Before you read any further, make sure you season your cast iron skillet first. I already showed you how to season a cast iron skillet. After you done that, there are some things you need to know before you clean your well seasoned cast iron skillet.
Initially, when you prepare a cast iron skillet to be seasoned, you can use abrasive tools for cleaning. There are no built up seasoning on the pan that might get damaged. As for the pan itself, it is very robust. Hit it with a baseball bat and the bat will come off second best.
After the initial seasoning, you need to take better care on how you clean your skillet. For this you will need cleaning tools that gets rid of unwanted yuckiness and gunk that may have formed after cooking your lovely dish, while not damaging any seasoning.
This one is a must for any cast iron skillet owners. It will brush away garbage without touching the pan. This brush from Lodge is very sturdy, has a hole on the handle so it can be hanged anywhere and the handle feels great. Also, does a great job of not scraping off the seasoning that has been built up for months. And, looks good together with my Lodge cast iron skillet.
You can also use a sponge to clean your cast iron skillet. I sometimes use our regular sponge to wash our other kitchenware. It does a good job, but sometimes there are too much soap stored in the sponge.
You can get something like a steel scrubber which is specifically made for cleaning cast iron skillet. A steel scrubber not a steel wool, does not damage the seasoning. It is hygienic and very easy to store.
Paper towel and dry cloth
Your cast iron skillet hates water. Always make sure there are no residual water before storing it.
You will definitely need this for seasoning and to prevent rust on your cast iron skillet while in storage. I recommend using something that is less processed, such as lard, ghee or coconut oil. I use coconut oil on most of my cooking.
You can try Nutiva coconut oil, it has high smoke point. This makes it ideal for seasoning and cooking most dishes. What I love about it is that it’s organic certified, no chemicals were used.
Research showed that vegetable oil gets toxic when heated to a certain temperature. As well as oils that are high in polyunsaturates.
I am sure you already have one. You won’t need this all the time.
You might need this.
Cleaning your cast iron skillet
How I clean my cast iron is very simple and quick. If I can see that there aren’t really much to clean, I just wipe it with a dry towel and done. That’s it, literally takes me 5 seconds to clean my pan. This is how I clean my pan mostly after a light and fluffy pancake.
If it’s really dirty, this is what I do. I clean my pan right after cooking, yes while it’s still burning hot. You don’t have to do this, you can wait ’till it’s a bit cooler, but this is how you can easily get rid of any stuck on bits.
Remember how I said using sponge or steel scrub can get really hot while cleaning. This is the reason why, it’s because I wash it under hot running water. You can use gloves to minimize the heat in your hands.
I use hot water so that the temperature difference with the pan and the water is not too great. This prevents the cast iron skillet from warping. Using cold water on a hot cast iron skillet will definitely warp or even crack it.
Water too hot? Use stiff brush
This is where a long handled stiff brush is the favorites of many. Well, maybe not many, but it certainly is mine.
The long handle keeps my delicate, sensitive hands from the damaging effects of hot water. It’s just so much easier or maybe I have girly hands.
Occasionally, I get stubborn bits that won’t come out. Don’t fret! Use the salt to take off those nasty bits.
Sprinkle a good amount on the pan and add water. Scrub that pan. If it’s still there after being salty, you can add water into the pan and boil it. This will take it off, guaranteed.
Dry it good
After all those stuck on bits have been taken care of, you can towel your pan dry. How I clean mine, to save on towel a little bit, every penny counts! I use a clean tea towel to dry the pan inside and out.
I have so many tea towels hanging around my mother in law’s kitchen so why not just use that.
Sometimes, when I feel like I have a lot of time(bored), I put it back on the stove to make sure it is free of water by heating it up.
After cleaning the pan in and out with a tea towel or any clean rag that you may have and/or heating the pan on the stove, I then use paper towels to apply coconut oil. This saves me using too much paper towel. I think of it as being eco-friendly.
You can use any kind of oil you wish, but to be on the safe side you might consider using ghee, lard or coconut oil. Even olive oil is a great alternative to high polyunsaturated oils. Why you say? Research showed that vegetable oil can become toxic after being heated. Read more here. In parts, I talked about how vegetable oil can be toxic.
After applying enough oil to cover the pan in and out, you can put it back in storage.
That’s all food lovers. Simple and quick. Now, get cleaning!