How to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet, Simply & Naturally

 In Home & Kitchen Tips, Modern Homesteading

Cast Iron TrioA cast iron skillet is one of the best and longest lasting items to have in your kitchen. If taken care of properly, it will last you eons. Beside the longevity of cast iron skillets, they also have remarkable cooking versatility. Cast iron skillets can be used on the stove, in the oven, for browning, baking, sautéing, and just about everything in between! Cast iron skillets are non-toxic, non-stick, high heat resistant and relatively inexpensive. And unlike contemporary pans, cast iron skillets do not leave behind a toxic residue; in fact, most foods cooked in a cast iron skillet adds iron content to your foods!

To keep your cast iron skillet in tip-top shape all you need is a couple of items (non-toxic, mind you) that are commonly found in your kitchen- olive oil and salt!
To properly clean and maintain your cast iron skillet:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Use a wooden or silicone spatula and scrape away and discard any residue.
  • Add about 2 Tablespoons of salt and 2 Tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet.
  • Take several paper towels, wad them, and up gently scour the skillet.
  • Rinse the skillet in hot water. Then, using a clean kitchen towel or paper towels, wipe out and dry.
  • To ensure the complete drying, you can place the skillet in the oven for a couple of minutes. Once all the moisture is evaporated, remove from the oven (using a pot holder) and allow to cool slightly before adding the oil.
  • Add 2-3 Tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Instead of olive oil, avocado or coconut oil can also be used, as those are higher heat resistance oils.
  • Using a kitchen or paper towel, evenly rub the oil inside and around the skillet.
  • To “seal the deal,” place the conditioned skillet it in the oven for for about an hour.

If cast iron skillets are not “conditioned” on a regular basis the iron will eventually rust and corrode. Cast iron skillets, and iron in general, are porous and when they come in contact with air and water oxidation, or rusting, occurs. But, when oil is applied to the iron skillet and then heated the pores are sealed by the fats creating a layer of protection from the air.

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