Yes, I love my cast iron pan. And yes, it is heavy and I have to use both hands to carry it off the stove. I always wonder how grandmothers used to use these heavy pans? They must have had some serious muscles! Or did they get strong because they used these???
Anyway, I hesitated to use the one cast iron pan I have in the past. And it's not because it's heavy, although, it is hard to flip my pancakes with it.
It's cleaning the darn thing.
It seemed so complicated to prevent rust from setting in.
But, not anymore. Thanks to Pinterest - yes, most people use Pinterest to find pretty things; I use it to find tips on cleaning pots and pans. I'm pathetic. I admit.
But, see how greasy and yucky the pan is? I'll show you how I cleaned it.
Apparently, all you need is some Kosher or coarse salt. I used Morton's Kosher salt because that's what I have but you can use any coarse salt. Just don't waste expensive sea salt or a Himalayan salt on cleaning. That would be one expensive way to clean a pan!
Add some water and scrub with dishwashing cloth or sponge. Salt will act as a scrubber and de-greaser so give it a good scrub.
See how all the grease just disappeared and water is beading on the surface? More importantly, look how clean the washcloth is? Initially, it was brown but once I rinse the pan with it, the brown coloring disappeared from the wash cloth too.
Let the water evaporate on med to high heat on the stove.
Add about 1 teaspoon of oil - I use olive oil - and coat the pan evenly.
That's it! This method will keep your cast iron pan protected from rust and is ready to be used again! This pan will outlive me....along with my LED lightbulbs.
Mine are well seasoned. I just add water to it bring it to a broil. Turn off stove and let sit for a while. Wipe all gunk out. I did buy a pan at a thrift store. I applied olive oil all over to it and put it in a slow oven for an hour, then turned off the oven. I let it sit in there until it cooled down and wiped off excess grease. It is slowly tuning a dark color. It was a wagner. A friend of mine told me that she found one after a flood that stood up pretty well. She put it in a camp fire to burn off all the built up stuff that was on it and then re-seasoned it. She still uses it.
So if you season the pan 'well', you never have to 'clean' it? I seasoned my pan when I first bought it but since then, the 'seasoned' part has come off and when I cook, I need to clean it afterwards. Without cleaning it, the blackened particles get stuck on the food, the next time I cook.
what would you suggest doing to clean up really greasy foods?
I have used this method for really greasy foods too. I just do it twice and it comes out really clean.
If you have gunky stuff stuck to the pan, add salt, and then, use a wooden scraper to scrape off the gunk. And after all the gunk is off the surface, then, I add the salt and repeat the procedure.
Hope that helps. 🙂
Erin N says
Great timing! Hubby and I were just saying there must be an easier way to get it clean than just scrubbing alone - can't wait to give this a try! 🙂
It totally works! You have to be careful with iron pans because if you scrub too hard, you can get the seasoning off. Coarse salt is just enough to get all the nasty grime-y yucky stuff off.
Let me know how it works out for you!
Lori Popkewitz Alper says
What a fantastic post. I'm a cast iron newbie and was wondering how labor intensive the cleaning process would be. If it was a big effort I'm not sure it would happen. Thanks for clarifying and making it look so simple!
Bonnie Lee says
I love my cast iron pans and use some that Fred's mother had too. They must be 60 years old. We store ours in the oven. The pilot light keeps them very dry so no possibility of rust there. Just remember to take them out before preheating the oven.
I cannot believe that I've been doing this wrong for such a long time! Thanks for sharing this Karen. I gave up my conventional frying pans years ago & I LOVE them. In fact I need to buy more!
Great tutorial! This cleaning method also works for dutch ovens.
My cast iron skillet outlived my grandma, so you're right about that...