Well-kept cast iron cookware is a joy to use and possess. They are versatile, cook evenly, are relatively easy to clean, and last for decades! They just need some maintenance and thoughtful care.
How To Store Cast Iron Cookware?
- Thoroughly clean the cookware. Rust is a frequent problem when leaving untreated cast iron cookware exposed to liquids. Steel wool or a soapy scouring pad is usually sufficient to remove surface rust. If, however, the rust has seriously affected the surface, leaving marks, scraping or sanding treatments may be necessary. Another common problem is dirt that doesn’t go away (usually food left there for days). If by chance you have an anthill on hand, you can leave the pot at the mercy of the “creatures”, and make them work hard.
- Heat the oven to 120-150 ° C.
- Coat the cookware with lard or bacon fat. Do not use vegetable oil, because it would leave a sticky patina on the surface, and the cookware would not be treated properly.
- Put the cookware upside down in the oven. To collect any dripping, put an aluminum foil or cookware on the bottom shelf. After 15 minutes remove the cookware from the oven and drain the fat.
- Put the cookware back in the oven and leave it for another 2 hours.
- You should repeat the procedure several times to make the treatment more resistant over time. Also, the first time you use the cookware tray to cook high-fat foods, such as fries or sautés: the fat present in these foods will make the treatment more resistant.
- You can enhance the treatment with fries, sautés, or with other high-fat cooking methods. If you make French fries, fried onions or meatballs, use the cast iron pot as well: it will thank you!
- Remember to never leave the cookware unprotected. If you use it, grease it first with a thin layer of oil.
- To reprocess a cookware, clean it, dry it and simply follow the steps described above.
- For vegetarians, margarine or other vegetable seasoning is a good substitute for lard or bacon. Alternatively, the cookware will also be treated by repeated use over time of olive oil or peanuts. Finally, pass a sheet of kitchen paper or a dish towel over the surface.
- To remove rust, you can also use an anti-rust spray, which you can find in hardware or DIY stores. Follow the instructions on the bottle: they are quite simple.
- Keep the cookware in a dry place, such as in the oven or on the lower shelf of the stove, so that it does not get damp.
- The dark layer that forms on the surface is a good thing: do not scrape it off with degreasing detergent or abrasive materials.
- Read the anti-rust spray warnings carefully. It is poisonous if ingested, but it is exceptional for removing rust. If in doubt whether to use it or not in relation to the dishes you intend to prepare, forget it.
- When not in use, always keep the cast iron cookware clean and dry.