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How to Take Care of Your Cast-Iron Skillet in 3 Easy Steps

Cast-iron skillets have been around for a really long time, and many households and restaurants still use them because they’re so easy to cook with (you need less oil when cooking with them) and are a lot safer than many modern types of cookware today.

Not only are they tough and will last for a long time if kept properly (they can still rust if left unused), but they are also non-stick when seasoned well and you can cook on really high heat without burning the food.

If you haven’t got your hands on one already, here’s all the more reason to. And if you have one already at home and plan on having it for a long time, here’s how you can take care of your favorite cast-iron skillet:

1. Add hot water. Wash the skillet right away by using hot water and a sponge or a stiff brush. Be sure to use tongs if the water is really hot.

As much as possible, avoid using cleaning methods and tools that can strip away the pan’s seasoning, such as dishwasher, soap (if you have to use soap, be sure to use a mild one), or steel wool.

2. Scrub off any bits that are still stuck onto it. You can do this by using a paste of coarse salt and water, and a wooden spoon. For any stubborn food bits stuck to the pan, you can loosen them by boiling water in the pan.
Once all the food bits have been removed, rinse with hot water and wipe down with a paper towel, and thoroughly dry it on a stove over low heat.

3. Season it. Apply a light coat of vegetable oil or melted shortening to your cast-iron skillet using a cloth or a paper towel, and buff the skillet to remove any excess oil on it.

You can also choose to oil the outside of the skillet if you want to. The longer it has been in your care, the shinier the cast-iron skillet will be, and over time, the oil will coat it enough that a gentle layer of soap and dishwasher can be used without doing too much damage to it.

Once you’re done seasoning your cast-iron skillet, store it in a cool, dry place where water can’t get to it. This will prevent it from rusting quickly.

Be sure to clean your cast-iron skillet right away once you’re done using it, while it’s still hot or warm – leaving it to soak in the sink may only cause it to rust, which you may have to remove by using steel wool or baking soda.

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