How often do you cook with a cast iron skillet? Though they’re not the most commonly used of all kitchen tools as they have a bad reputation of being “high maintenance,” cast iron skillets are often unbeatable for a wide variety of recipes. The pans themselves are incredibly durable, they last for a very long time if you take care of them and they spread the heat around the pan quite evenly. Chances are we probably have a cast iron sitting around somewhere that’s rusted or unused and we’re not quite sure what to do about it.
Truthfully, cast iron skillets are actually quite easy to use and maintain if you know what to do. More specifically, it’s even easy to bring a very old and worn cast iron skillet back from disrepair with just a few straightforward steps. No matter what state your pan is in, follow our easy guide to restore it and make it good as new.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- cast iron skillet
- steel wool
- dish soap
- canola oil
- paper towels
Here’s what you do:
1. First, take your skillet out and set it on a cutting board—if it has any rust or grime on it, we’re about to take it all off. Get your piece of steel wool and add a couple drops of dish soap into the pan. Scrub it thoroughly all over without using water, taking off as much rust and grime as you can. Be sure to do the inside, the edges and all around the pan (including the handle). When you’ve scrubbed enough, rinse the entire thing off with water and scrub it one more time with a scouring pad.
2. Because water is iron’s natural enemy, be sure to dry the pan off very thoroughly and quickly using a towel. After that, put your pan on a burner and turn the heat on to let the heat take 100% of the moisture out of the pan before proceeding.
3. After it’s completely bone-dry, get some paper towels and pour a few tablespoons of canola oil into the bottom your pan. Once again, be sure to rub the oil all the way around the inside, the edges and the outside all way up your handle. The surface of a cast iron skillet is porous, and as such it absorbs the oil you wipe into it and forms a protective, non-stick coating.
4. After it’s all spread around, wipe up all the excess oil you can with the dry part of the same paper towel (or use a new one if necessary). This step is important as well—if you don’t take all the extra oil off the pan, it may still come out sticky after putting it in the oven when you’re trying to use it later.
5. Once you’re ready, put your cast iron skillet in the oven at about 450 to 500 degrees. Leave it in there for about an hour so that the oil breaks down and actually combines itself with the surface of your skillet. After an hour, turn the oven off and leave the skillet in there to cool off. When it’s finally done, you should have a nice glassy surface that’s as good as new!
As you can see, cast iron skillets are incredibly durable and can be made to look brand new—no matter how worn they are. After you’ve restored one of these pans, be sure to take care of your pan to preserve its cooking surface! Don’t clean it with water and soap. Instead, scrub it down after cooking with some salt and a rough sponge and always coat it with a thin layer of new oil before storing it. Happy cooking!
Have you tried this method out for yourself? Let us know how it went in the comments.
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Source: Cooktop Cove