A Beginner’s Guide To Upkeeping Cast Iron Utensils
Image Credit: Cast Iron Skillet Upkeep

If you’ve been feeling proud of your recent kitchen addition of a cast iron skillet, wok or tawa because you decided to indulge in some retail therapy or make better choices for your health, a few things need to be established before you get cooking with it. All those beautiful cooking videos on the internet that use Instagram-worthy pots and pans to look all fancy, don’t tell you that cast iron can be rather tricky if not treated correctly.

Fresh off of the shelves in a store and in your kitchen, cast iron utensil care must start the same way you would treat any other kitchen purchase – which is to wash your vessel thoroughly and sterilize it. In the case of a cast iron utensil, it is ideal to use warm water and a mild soap during the first wash to remove any additional dirt or unwanted bits of rust. It is imperative that you wipe your cast iron dry with a clean, soft cloth immediately after washing it to prevent the build-up of rust.

While most brand-new cast iron utensils these days come pre-seasoned, doing a round of seasoning once it has been rinsed and wiped ensures that the pan remains ‘non-stick’ through its life. The process of using a few drops of vegetable oil, spread across the surface of your skillet using a kitchen towel is called seasoning your cast iron. It is ideal to do this after lightly warming up your clean pan on a stove, so that the viscosity of the oil covers the walls of your pan.

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Storage of your precious cast iron pans are as important as cleaning, drying and seasoning them. Slipping a thin paper towel on the surface of your pan before stacking it along with other utensils will prevent any unwanted scratches or marks that might happen due to friction. Avoid storing any food in your cast iron utensils and most definitely steer clear of using harsh spoons or spatulas in your pan, especially while building up the seasoning on your pan.

Be conscious about what you decide to cook first and avoid cooking anything that might have the potential to stick to your pan, during the initial days of cooking after your purchase. Avoid soaking your pan in the sink like you would with other utensils and clean it up using a brush with soft bristles, within a few minutes of finishing your meal.