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Tips For Cooking With Cast Iron

Chicken and Vegetables Grilled in Cast Iron SkilletA cast-iron skillet may be one of the most useful tools in your Charleston kitchen. If this is your first time using a cast iron pan, you might have a lot of questions about how to cook with and care for your pan. While there are a few things you definitely should know before you cook with cast iron for the first time, following these simple tips will give you the confidence to reach for this pan each time you are ready to prepare your next culinary masterpiece.

The first thing to know about cast iron is that there is a wide range of skillet types and sizes. It is important that you use the right size cast iron pan for the dish you want to make. Most professional chefs recommend a 10-inch skillet for everyday use. Some cast-iron pans, however, can weigh up to 25 pounds! If you’ll rarely be cooking large quantities, the 10-inch pan would serve you well.

Before using your cast iron pan, most manufacturers suggest that you “season” it first. It only takes some oil and your oven to create a hard, nonstick surface on your cast iron pan to make it work better. To season a cast iron pan, all you need to do is rub a light coat of vegetable oil over both the inside and outside of your pan. Then, place the pan upside-down in a 500-degree oven for about an hour. What’s great with cast iron cooking is that this seasoning process happens naturally every time you cook chicken or steak in it. The fat from the meat adds a new coating to the pan’s surface. This makes your pan perform even better.

When you are done preparing your cast iron, you can start cooking. There are some foods you shouldn’t make in a cast iron pan. You should keep that in mind as you plan each dish.  Do not cook scrambled eggs in a cast iron pan. They tend to bond with the iron, making clean-up a nightmare. The pan’s material makes it unsuitable for cooking tomato sauce in. The acidity in the tomatoes would give your food a metallic flavor. Lastly, don’t cook salmon or any oily fish in a cast iron pan. The oils will bond with the pan’s surface and make everything you cook in the pan after that taste fishy. A dish people usually make in a cast iron pan is cinnamon rolls. But if you made the rolls in the pan after cooking fish in it, the rolls will taste like salmon. I don’t think you would like salmon-flavored bread.

Always remember these tips to make your first attempt at cast iron cooking a success. First, you must preheat the pan before cooking. Most beginners often forget to preheat the pan before putting the food in it, often resulting in longer cooking times and burnt or inedible food. If ever you end up burning something in a cast iron pan, do not soak the pan in water to remove it. Instead, try to use a salt scrub to clean your cast iron pan. Some cooks use salt and half a potato to scrub their cast iron pan clean. After that, they simply wipe it with a little dish soap and water. Do not use too much soap or soak the pan in water because this damages the pan’s coating.

It’s as simple as that! With these simple steps, you’ll soon become a cast-iron expert. Would you like to learn more about how to care for and maintain other items in your house properly? Call us at 828-342-9683 or contact us online today!

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