Quick and Dirty Cast Iron Care

Do you sometimes think about buying cast iron cookware and then decide not to because of all the responsibility you've heard comes with it? Might as well just get a second dog, you think. Or perhaps breed tropical fish. There has to be something better to spend your time on than keeping dish soap away from your cast iron frying pan, making sure the kids don't put it in the dishwasher, and occasionally rubbing vegetable oil or flax oil onto it to maintain seasoning. There has to be. 

Aw, come on. All good things take work. But just to make it a little easier on yourself, go ahead and start with pre-seasoned cast iron. That will allow you to avoid all that oiling and baking and oiling and baking and oiling and baking for years until it's "just right." From there, upkeep is simple. After cooking, scrub with a bristle brush or "Tuffy" pot scrubber until all debris is gone (some say scrubbing with salt also works, but I don't always have tons of salt in my house, so a pot scrubber works better for me). Then, I like to put it on a burner on low until it's dry. Once it cools down, I take a paper towel and give it a quick coat of canola oil, sunflower oil, lard, bacon fat, or crisco then store it. 

And that's really all it takes to maintain cast iron cookware. Your seared meats and vegetables are happy you go through the trouble!

For an extremely comprehensive guide to all things cast iron seasoning, go here. Or for an overview of the material and history, the ever helpful (if dubious) wikipedia

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