Cooking with an iron skillet can be helpful for individuals who are not getting enough iron in their diet and are hesitant to take an iron supplement. Taking care of an iron skillet is essential to ensure its longevity and optimal cooking performance. Here are some tips to help you care for your iron skillet:
Proper seasoning is crucial for maintaining and building a natural non-stick surface on your iron skillet. Seasoning creates a protective layer that prevents rust and enhances the skillet's performance. To season your skillet, follow these steps:
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
Wash the skillet with hot water and mild soap, if needed, to remove any residue.
Thoroughly dry the skillet with a towel.
Apply a thin layer of vegetable oil or flaxseed oil to the entire skillet, inside and out.
Place the skillet upside down in the oven on the top rack, with a baking sheet or aluminum foil on the bottom rack to catch any drips.
Bake for about an hour.
Turn off the oven and allow the skillet to cool inside the oven.
Repeat the seasoning process a few times initially to build up a good layer of seasoning.
After each use, it's important to clean your iron skillet properly. Here's how:
Avoid using soap or harsh detergents, as they can strip away the seasoning. Instead, use hot water and a stiff brush or a non-abrasive scrubber to remove any food residue.
If there are stubborn bits stuck to the skillet, you can use kosher salt as a gentle abrasive to scrub them away.
Rinse the skillet thoroughly and dry it completely using a towel.
To prevent rust, it's crucial to ensure the skillet is completely dry. You can place it on the stovetop over low heat for a minute or two to evaporate any remaining moisture.
Additional Tips and Warnings
Avoid soaking: Never soak your iron skillet in water or leave it to sit in water for an extended period, as this can cause rusting. Also, avoid using metal utensils that can scratch the surface of the skillet.
Re-seasoning: Over time, the seasoning on your iron skillet may wear off or become less effective. If you notice food sticking to the surface or rust starting to develop, it's time to re-season your skillet. Simply follow the seasoning process mentioned earlier.
Storage: Store your iron skillet in a dry place to prevent moisture buildup. You can place a paper towel or a clean cloth inside the skillet to absorb any excess moisture and help prevent rust.
Don't overconsume iron: Iron is one nutrient that it's possible to get too much of. If you are intentionally upping your iron intake make sure you watch out for signs that you've had too much.
By following these care tips, you can maintain the quality and performance of your iron skillet for years to come.