Cookware: Caring for Cast Iron

I recently got an e-mail from Terry asking why I often recommend cast iron skillets. She said she finds hers hard to take care of. I am such a fan of cast iron that I devoted a whole page in Sara’s Secrets for Weeknight Mealsto it. Here’s an abbreviated version of what I said:

“There is a reason that the cast-iron skillet, a favorite pan going all the way back to colonial times, is still popular. Even though it takes time to heat up, once hot, it retains the heat evenly for quite a while. Moreover, if you take good care of it and keep it well seasoned, it will behave like a nonstick pan. The more you use it the more nonstick it will become. Cast iron also happens to be extremely affordable, especially compared to all the new designer pans out there. When you first bring it home from the store, you must season it. Seasoning instructions will come with it or you can find them on page 101 of Sara’s Secrets for Weeknight Meals. Once it has been seasoned, never wash the skillet in the dishwasher, never use soap on it again (just scrub it with a brush and water), and always dry it immediately and apply a thin coat of vegetable oil. If it gets rusty (which it won’t if you take good care of it), repeat the seasoning procedure.”

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