Cast Iron Care

June 30, 2012 | How to

Cast iron is the way to go for outdoor cooking. It works on a camping stove, right on the campfire coals, or over the grates of a campsite’s skanky grill. No other material can withstand the flames of a campfire! You only need a 10-inch skillet and a dutch oven to complete your Camping Kitchen Chuckbox. Caring for cast iron can be a pain, but it will last a lifetime if you give it the care it deserves.

WASH & DRY

Washing cast iron with soap isn’t necessary, and in fact, it’s not recommended as it removes the seasoning. Just clean it with a stiff brush and hot water. Don’t use a metal scouring pad. If you don’t have a brush or scraper at your campsite, salt is a great natural abrasive and will do in a pinch. If you feel that you absolutely must use soap, make sure it’s mild and bio-degradable. Towel dry and season immediately.

SEASON

Most new cast-iron cookware comes pre-seasoned these days. “Seasoning” is when vegetable oil is baked on to the iron at a high temperature creating a natural non-stick surface. But, the seasoning must be maintained after every wash. Simply towel dry and then rub in a light coat of vegetable oil while the pan is still warm. The cookware should have a nice sheen, but not be sticky.

STORE

Store in a cool dry place. If your pan has a lid, put a paper towel between the lid and the pan to allow for air circulation.

If you’re interested in restoring an old rusty skillet, read Elena Brent Rosemond-Hoerr’s The Cast Iron Chronicles on her lovely blog Biscuits & Such. The woman is passionate about cast iron!

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