How to season, use, and clean cast-iron cookware

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Seasoning iron cookware

Preparing a piece of cast-iron cookware, like a pancake griddle, is well documented, and even appears stamped on the bottom of some pans. Essentially, it is to thoroughly scrub the cooking surface with something like a copper scrubber, immediately grease the surface well with quality cooking oil (I prefer organic canola or safflower), the put in a very hot oven for an hour.

  1. Scrub with a metal scrubber.
  2. Rinse.
  3. Quickly dry and grease with a thin layer of oil.
  4. Heat in a hot oven for an hour.

Cleaning iron cookware

Less-well documented is how to clean ironware easily. The key is boiling hot water. If you use boiling water, you don't need soap and you don't need harsh scrubbers, unless you've done something horribly wrong in cooking. It's easiest to clean the pan while still hot from cooking—Add a little hot water, heat it on the stove if necessary to get it to boiling, then gently scrub any food particles and excess, only excess, grease away. If there's a lot of grease, don't saddle your septic system or treatment plant with it—Absorb it with a paper towel or newspapers, then continue cleaning as above. Just be careful not to scald yourself—I use a brush on a stick. Don't use metal or heavy-duty scrubbers that would remove the seasoning layer.