Lessons in cooking with cast iron

Published 7:00 am Saturday, January 13, 2018

enjoy cooking at home, but I do it far less than I’d like.

It’s a great way to take your mind off the responsibilities of life and create a meal that you know includes fresh ingredients.

For years I had my eye on procuring a cast iron skillet so I could cook steaks at home when it’s raining outside or when I didn’t feel like cleaning the grill.

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Recently, I found a preseasoned version in the store, and put it in the cart, intent on trying this age old cooking utensil out.

In the short time it’s been in use in my kitchen, I’ve discovered using a cast iron skillet is a bit different than using more modern cookware.

First, rust can be a problem. Leave just a little water in a cast iron pan after washing it and you will come back to a pan with rust spots.

The best method I have found through research is to dry the pan immediately after washing it. Until recently I also neglected the other golden rule of using cast iron, season it after each use.

Seasoning a cast iron pan is little more than rubbing oil on a hot pan and letting it cool.

Another thing I’ve learned from using this type of cookware is that cast iron holds heat for a long time. In the past while using a regular pan to cook something, I would leave the dish in the pan while I tie up other aspects of the meal to keep it warm. You can’t do that with cast iron. Since the material holds heat so well, even when the heat on the stove is off, I ended up overcooking the meal.

But as they say, the best way to learn is to make mistakes.