Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Caring for Cast Iron Cookware

Do you remember when your grandparents' cast iron cookware and that slick black patina coating it had? By re-seasoning rusted cookware the pores will absorb oil and create a non-stick finish.

This old cast iron bacon press measures 6 5/8" x 4" and stands 3 1/2" high to the top of the wooden handle. It is decorated with a pig and leaves and shows some signs of use as you can see in the picture. It is great for evenly cooking bacon, hamburger, or other meats especially in a cast iron pan and keeps your bacon from curling. It was produced in Taiwan and is identical to the 1978 TAYLOR&NG Bacon Press.

General Care of Cast Iron Cookware
1. Wash with hot water, and a sponge or a stiff brush. Do not use synthetic detergents (non-fatty oil based soaps) or a dishwasher on a newly seasoned pan. Dry on the stove at low heat and then thinly coat with solid vegetable shortening or PAM. Wipe with a paper towel and store. The first few times you use your cast iron cookware avoid cooking acidic foods such as tomatoes and beans, or foods with a lot of water content. Uncover hot food after cooking because steam may remove the protective coating.
2. If you detect rust or a metallic taste to your foods, wash your cast iron cookware thoroughly with soap and water and re-season. Should rust appear on your cast iron, scour with steel wool and soap and then follow the seasoning instructions. Heavy rust may be removed with a steel brush.
3. Cast iron cookware heats evenly, therefore it is not necessary to use extremely high cooking temperatures. Best results are obtained with medium to medium-high temperature settings; always allow the utensil to heat as the burner does.
4. Always store cast iron utensils with the lids off or upside down in a warm, dry place. That slick black finish that great chefs covet will develop over time, creating a new heirloom for your children and grandchildren.

Seasoning your Cast Iron Cookware
1. Lightly sand rusted surfaces and apply Coca-Cola for at least ten minutes.
2. Thoroughly wash with mild soapy water your skillet, Dutch oven, fryer or griddle, and then rinse and dry over low heat to remove all moisture from the porous metal.
3. With a paper towel LIGHTLY coat the ENTIRE surface of the heated pan or pot with Crisco or lard. (Do not use butter or margarine). Coat the inside, outside, the lids, and corners.
4. Bake the cookware upside down at 400 degrees for 90 minutes without pre-heating. Put some aluminum foil under the cookware to catch the drips. Allow the pan to completely cool in the oven.
5. Remove from oven and wipe clean.

No comments: