Wonder how you can use cast iron from cooking to tools for an option that will last generations no matter what comes your way? The kind of tools you can pass down knowing your investment was well worth the money, time, and effort? This simple guide to Cast Iron will help you care for your investment.
Cast iron has a sturdy quality that will last the test of time, can be used when cooking over an open fire, and is trusted to provide a clean even heat for perfectly cooked food. A properly seasoned cast iron pan has all of the nonstick properties we have grown to Raleigh on and none of the chemicals of modern non-stick coatings that are known for leaving junk in our food.
Cast iron is one of my favorite things. I love the sturdy quality that makes it last through the years. I have seen cast iron do some amazing things. As a teen, I spent time working as an apprentice blacksmith with my now husband’s uncle. I learned so much as we gathered around the hot forge. One thing that left a lasting impression on me is that the base of the forge we used was to my surprise a cast iron frying pan. That sucker could stand up to the same heat that melted down rain road spikes enough for my small self to hammer into hooks and tools.
Cast iron tools are still valuable as they were so long ago. They dong break or fall apart like cheaply made tools too. And if they do get damaged cast iron tools can be repaired. Keep an eye out at yard and estate sales for these valuable tools. The most common cast iron you will find are cooking utensils. From cast iron skillets to baking pans, teapots to dutch ovens you will find all sorts of great items to stock a long lasting kitchen perfect for preppers that do not want pots and pans that will fall apart when you can no longer buy replacements at the corner store.
Pre-seasoned cast iron cook wear
Buying pre-seasoned cast iron will save you from the first step when buying new but they have only done the first step for you. Over the next few months, you will build coating up giving you the best non-stick pan you have ever had. The best part is all you have to do is cook with grease, oil, and fat. I mean anytime you make bacon, fry chicken, make fried potatoes, or ANYTHING with grease or fat use this pan and clean it the right way.
How to season or re-season a cast iron pan.
Whether you got a new an unseasoned pan, removed rust from an old pan you saved from an estate sale, or are restoring you need to season it before using it.
- Place a cookie sheet on the bottom rack of your oven. Preheat to 375.
- Wash and dry your skillet well.
- Coat inside of pan well with shortening or vegetable oil.
- Place upside down in your oven on top rack.
- Bake for 1 hour then turn off oven and let it cool naturally.
Maintaining a well-seasoned cast iron skillet
The biggest rule of cast iron cookware to is never use soap. NEVER. Let’s repeat that don’t use soap. That’s because dish detergent, dishwashers, scoring pads, and other cleaners can strip your pan of the seasoning that protects it from rust and makes your food not stick to the pan. You know that thick coating was hard earned. I know some of you are cringing at the thought of this one. You will get used to this one.
- Remove debris from your cast iron using chainmail for the best results. Yep, like a night in shining armor used to wear.
- Rinse out your cast iron pan after each use.
- Dry well and remove unwanted cooking residue with a paper towel.
- Rub with a bit of shortening and store on the bottom rack of your oven. When using the oven and not the bottom rack feel free to leave your cast iron in.
Caring for cast iron Tools
The kitchen is not the only place you can use cast iron. Old fashioned cast iron hand tools are amazing and will last a lifetime. The perfect item you can pass down knowing that it will stand the test of time. This is one time you don’t want a good seasoning. A slip of the hand would be a bad thing when working with a hand drill or saw. You do on the other hand still want to protect your tools from rusting so they are ready to use without needing a repair first.
- Keep your cast iron tools clean and dry.
- Coat in a light bit of oil after heavy use or every three months for tools with very little use. You do not need a lot just place a little on a cotton cloth and buff your tools to a shine.
Cast iron tools should be stored where they will not be exposed to water from rain or flooding. If they are in a damp space they will need more attention then if you live in a dry area. Humidity does effect rusting just slower than otherwise. If tools get wet in use dry well and oil before storing.
Help my cast iron has rust!
Lucky you. Cast iron is extremely durable. Grab some sand paper or even a sand blaster if doing large areas, sand it down, wash well and re-season. Your ruined pan will be fresh as new.
Have you found an old rusted unusable cast iron pan, dish, or tool? You look at it thinking that it does not stand a chance. I have good news for you a simple process called Electrolysis will bring your cast iron treasure back to life. Never walk past old rusted cast iron again because you know you can fix rusty, grimy, gunky cast iron with a little work. Check out this video showing you how to restore cast iron.
Try baking bread for a valuable prepping skill.