Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cast Iron Pan cleaning instructions

This week Shannon over at Rocks in my Dryer is talking about buying jeans at a thrift store and a few hundred other people will also be giving their tips that work for them. Go ahead and leave a comment here first, then head on over to Rocks in my Dryer.

My Tip for you this week is...
How to clean an already seasoned cast iron pan or how to get your rusted or old cast iron pan back into use. Already seasoned means that you have been using your pan, oiling it, using it, oiling it, etc. If you have a brand new pan & it doesn't have this nice thick coat of black on in it, then I would recommend skipping the soaking in soapy water part. Use hot water and salt and then the oil. The black coating will come in a few months.

This pan has been used to make bacon or hamburgers or something and is now ready to be cleaned.

I usually take a silicone scraper and get all of the grease and bits out of the pan and put it in a small grease can. This weeks grease can is Publix brand crushed pineapple!

My cast iron pans are sitting on the counter with hot hot hot water in them. I let the pans sit while I finish up the rest of the dishes. wash wash wash. clean off the stove, wipe crumbs from the counter. OK, done.

I either put the pans into the hot soapy water for about ten minutes or I let them sit on the counter with hot water. Either way is just fine. Don't soak for very long - all you want to do is just break up that top layer of grease. The one that came from cooking tonights meal. Or...

I dump out the water and grab my nylon scrubby sponge, pour some Ivory liquid soap onto the sponge and then scrub the oily bits off the pan. I know all of this is just making some folks twitch. Soap and cast iron pans are a no no to a lot of folks. If your pans are well seasoned and you give them a nice coat of oil, this process here is not a big deal. I'm just taking off the top layer of oil, which is the layer from cooking.

If there are still some bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, pour in some regular salt. Scrub the bottom of the pan with the salt and a paper towel. I use Bounty Select a Size. scrub scrub scrub done! (Rinse with hot water after this step) It comes right up usually. If you still have just a little stubborn spot - just leave it. It'll get oiled and come right up by the time you are ready to use the pan again. Or do as I do and just leave it. The spot has been washed, rinsed, sanitized and oiled. It'll burn off in the next cooking!

Here is the star of the show. My little can of solid Crisco shortening. I have one can that is just for the pans. It usually lasts me about a year.

I heat the pan up real quick, just to get rid of any of the moisture in the pan from all of the soaking, scrubbing and rinsing.

I turn off the burner. Then I take a small piece of papertowel that I have swirled around in the Crisco container to get a nice blob of shortening and I oil the pan.

Let the pan cool and put away.

This seems like a lot of steps and fiddling around, but each pan takes about 3-5 minutes. If I soak the pans I am usually doing that while I dry the dishes, taking out the trash, or something else in the kitchen.

In the comments I am noticing that some of you think this is too much work -- This instruction is for really stuck on foods or when the pans need scrubbing. I know that people are sometimes afraid to use their cast iron for fear of something sticking. If you keep the pan oiled up, things just don't stick and if they do - use the tips above.

The everyday use of the pan, I rinse, wipe, heat and oil.

Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to go see other great tips at Rocks in my Dryer.


gingela5 said...

Great advice! I have an iron pan but I haven't even used it yet. You're inspiring me to break it out and use it so I can clean it! I'm such a nerd!

Mommy Bee said...

Oh geeze, that sounds like a lot of work!
We have a lot of cast iron, and the best thing we have found is to wash it while it's still hot (so dump the food into another container, don't serve it from the pan)--just use a plastic scrubby brush and HOT water on a HOT pan. No soap. When it's all still hot it will come clean pretty easily, and if you don't use soap then you will not need to re-season it. It will keep its seasoning (grease) in the pan and become a non-stick pan after a while!

Tammy W said...

I alway rinse out my cast iron pan after using it and a uick squirt of cooking spray and turn the burner on under it for a minute to dry it thoroughly! like a charm

imbeingheldhostage said...

We once had cast iron skillets that burned in a house fire-- you can even salvage those! Nothing like cast iron, and always worth the trouble :-)

MooBeeMa said...

I adore my cast iron skillet! Thanks for the hot tip.

Marcia said...

See? You are the cleaning queen, because I don't think I'd ever fry a thing if I had to do all that :)

I use teflon-coated nonstick pans - that's it. They each last about a year (which is fine) and then I "release them" (throw them out) LOL

Marcia from Organising queen

Betty Beguiles said...

I tried this last night. It worked great. Thank you!

Debbie said...

Your cast iron looks so good. I really do need to take better care of mine. Thanks for the reminder.

ilovemy5kids said...

I'm going to have to find mine. :)