This is old news for us, but a few years back we took a pledge to eliminate coated non-stick pans. This has been a bit of a journey, mainly because (re)learning to use cast iron cookware is a process. The biggest complaint, or objection, to buying cast iron cookware is that it rusts, or marks (and is heavy but a blog post can’t fix that). What I’ve found by helping many people with their rusty cookware, new and old, is that there’s an ‘important last step’. Many people don’t realize how important it is to season cast iron cookware after each use.
This past weekend my family and I went to stay with my sister-in-law and her family up on the Sunshine Coast. She’s an amazing cook (and also our Director Culinary so I guess she should be!) and cooks almost exclusively with cast iron. I cook with copper/stainless steel and All Clad Copper Core at home, so I kind of lose touch with the daily routine of maintaining a fleet of cast iron cookware. She is a breakfast/lunch/dinner cook and rarely eats out. I get such pleasure from watching her enjoy whipping up food for all of us. She uses between 2 to 5 pieces of cast iron for each meal.
Her pans are very well seasoned. She has a combination of enamelled and non-enamelled and it’s almost hard to tell the difference due to the amazingly well kept, thick seasoning. Her secret? The last step.
Every day, at some point of time in the day, she takes a clean pan and puts it on a medium heat for a few minutes. She then puts a 1/2 teaspoon of grapeseed oil on the pan and wipes it all around the inside of the pan. She cranks the heat for 30 seconds or so and then turns off the heat. She lets the pan cool and wipes out any excess oil.
This is the secret to keeping a cast iron pan perfect. The initial season process (that we have covered many times in the past, and Lodge Cast Iron Cookware comes pre-seasoned) is critical but this process is the lifelong magic. You see the difference in the surface between picture number 2 and number 5. When your cast iron is set and ready for its next use it should be shiny, slightly tacky, but not wet.
I hope this is helpful in making you more successful with your cast iron cooking. If you still continue to struggle with Cast Iron please reach out to me or anyone on our team for help. That’s what we’re here for.