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Author Topic: How the hell do you clean cast iron cookware??  (Read 1756 times)

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Offline Basquo

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How the hell do you clean cast iron cookware??
« on: February 04, 2007, 12:13:14 PM »
A few years ago my mom gave me a set of cast-iron skillets.  Last night I "seasoned" one and used it to pan-fry a steak (Thanks Martha!)

But now I need to know how to clean it.  I wiped out as much as I could but there's still gunk in it.  I know you're not supposed to put them in the dishwasher or soak them, or even use soap at all, right? I can't put it back in the cabinet the way it is! Help!

Offline Miss Philicia

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Re: How the hell do you clean cast iron cookware??
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2007, 12:20:58 PM »
I wash mine lightly.  I know theoretically you're not supposed to but mine have been used for over a decade so they are seasoned anyway.  I think if I had skillets hanging on one of those racks that mount on a ceiling I would do otherwise, but my kitchen is small and I store them in a cabinet with other pots/pans so not doing so would be impractical.
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Offline Tucsonwoody

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Re: How the hell do you clean cast iron cookware??
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2007, 12:37:10 PM »
Here's a couple of ways I found on the web:

After seasoning the skillet the first time, and after using the skillet, I use coarse salt such as Kosher salt, and scrub it around in the skillet with a paper towel. Dump the salt and rinse the skillet in cold water. Wipe dry with a paper towel (if you still get a brown stain on the paper towel, dump more salt in and repeat the process), and then wipe a thin film of olive oil in the pan. Stick the pan in a plastic bag until ready to be used."

or

Perhaps the most difficult thing for a particularly fastidious cook to do is refrain from using soap or detergent in the cleaning process. Seasoned cast-iron utensils may be cleaned very nicely with boiling water and a stiff-bristled brush. (I have a short-handled brush with stiff nylon bristles that I use only for cleaning my cast-iron skillets.) And often, say after making cornbread, I merely brush the skillet vigorously, wipe it with a damp sponge, and dry it with a paper towel. It is important to dry cast-iron utensils well after use; they will rust unless thoroughly dried. Cast-iron utensils will darken with use, turning from a steely gray, when new, to dark gray or black.
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Offline RapidRod

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Re: How the hell do you clean cast iron cookware??
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2007, 12:42:42 PM »
Reheat the pan and take paper towels and wipe clean. If you wash with soap, reseason as soon as you wipe it dry by using cooking oil, bacon grease and wipe excess off with a paper towel. You can use a dishwasher but don't use the heat dry setting or you'll rust it and then you will need to use an SOS pad or plain steel wool to get the rust off, before you reseason. Little work to keep nice, but you can't beat cast iron.

Offline poet

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Re: How the hell do you clean cast iron cookware??
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2007, 04:23:06 PM »
My mother used to use soap and water on her set of cast iron frying pans and never seasoned them.  We did hand dry everything, so rust never developed.  I used to give mine, post-seasoning, a quick wash, with or without soap but then dried it by heating it up again on the stove.  I am a little leery about the plastic bag and oil only because you want to make sure cast iron stays dry.  Win
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Offline stillhere

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Re: How the hell do you clean cast iron cookware??
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2007, 04:52:35 PM »
cast iron is great but it takes a while to build up the seasoning....and fabulous blackness. I scrub mine with plastic scrubby things and maybe just a tiny bit of soap rinse well and heat it up to sort of burn away anything thats left. I like to lightly oil it before putting it away. I think the trick is to use it often and you'll get the feel for it.after  around ten or twenty uses it will come naturally..

Offline dtwpuck

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Re: How the hell do you clean cast iron cookware??
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2007, 04:57:25 PM »
boil water in it.  If you're trying to get rid of grease, add some lemon juice.
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Offline Basquo

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Re: How the hell do you clean cast iron cookware??
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2007, 05:26:45 PM »
Brian just called me and said "The answer is Tomato Juice."  I asked him how he knew I got sprayed by a skunk this morning because I had no idea what he was talking about.  Turns out he's been lurking here, and so he was takling about cleaning the skillet! I don't have tomato juice but I do have tomato sauce so I've put that in there to sit for a bit then I'll rinse and wipe and let you know how it turns out. Thanks for all the suggestions!

Offline Basquo

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Re: How the hell do you clean cast iron cookware??
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2007, 07:00:18 PM »
Hooray!  The tomato sauce worked!  I let it sit for about 45 minutes, then rinsed it out, wiped good with a sponge, then dried it with a towel.  It's still got it's texture, but it's not so messy that I can't put it in the cupboard.

THANKS BRIAN!!!

Offline Jean-Yves

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Re: How the hell do you clean cast iron cookware??
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2007, 01:53:57 AM »
For the occasions when mine wont wipe clean.. after removing the food that has cooked, bring it to high heat and add about a half cup of water. It should really sizzle! Scrape with a spatula. What you are doing is deglazing the pan as in making a sauce. All of the junk will quickly loosen into the water then you dispose of the water. Wipe dry and apply a small amount of oil.
    Seasonig often needs to be redone. If your food is sticking to the pan, it is time to re-season.
Jean-Yves

Offline mjmel

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Re: How the hell do you clean cast iron cookware??
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2007, 06:45:39 AM »
Mom used to use soapy water then use scalding hot water to rinse off soap residue ; any moisture steams off the metal. She wiped it off with a dry towel just after scalding it; then just stored in the cabinets. I have never been able to keep mine smooth and seasoned as she did. I believe the reseason process is ongoing for a few years till it gets all mellow and shiney smooth. Clean off the stuff that accumulates lest you risk getting yourself sick. Food sticking to bottom is NOT "seasoning" it. Initially, it's a PITA. Makes you want to leave it in storage and go with the non-sticks.  ;)

Offline Grinch

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Re: How the hell do you clean cast iron cookware??
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2007, 09:43:18 AM »
Washing it with a green scrubby and hot water works well.  Except for a few exceptions I use one of 3 cast iron pans every day.

After washing dry the pan then place it on the stove for a few minutest to thoroughly dry it. Then while its still hot put a bit of oil on a paper towel and apply a thin coat of oil. Let it cool, then put it away.  One trick to seasoning it really well is coat it with oil and put it upside down in a hot oven for several hours.  The whole idea is to leave a layer of carbon in the pan.  It acts like a really good non-stick surface and gives very good even heat distribution.

Offline Jean-Yves

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Re: How the hell do you clean cast iron cookware??
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2007, 04:21:10 PM »
Here's a link to Lodge Cast Iron's site on proper care.
http://www.lodgemfg.com/usecare1.asp

 


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