Cast-Iron Frying Pan - I'm Liking It!

Bought it a couple of months ago, it was about $12. I was trying to think of a way to get more iron into my kids’ diet and this is one of the techniques they recommend.

Doggone, I think this sucker is actually improving my cooking! The other day I sauteed some onions and peppers and added a little chicken – whaddya know, it tasted pretty good. And different, somehow. Is this the secret to restaurant fare?

My husband wanted to know what-all was in the “sauce”. HE’S the one who likes cooking and cannot understand why I despise following recipes (we have around 58 cookbooks). Hey, if someone’s going to tell me precisely what to do, I want a paycheck in return.

The “no washing with water” part is still puzzling, I’ve been scraping it as clean as I can and then wiping it with dishcloths. Is that enough?

For egregious scuzz, you can put a few inches of water in it and boil. This will loosen crud particles. And you can enjoy the facial expresions of your horrified family members who are trying to think of a diplomatic way to say no thank you, I’m not all that hungry anyway, but what are you trying to make? Just dump the boily water down the sink and give the skillet a quick scrub with a sink brush with natural (won’t melt) bristles.

Yep. The thing about cast iron frying pans is that you have to season them. That means putting a light coat of oil on it and burning it in. It’s not so much “don’t wash with water” as “don’t wash with soap and water”. They cook a lot better with that burnt oil residue - and soap and water will take it off.

And if you cook tomatoes in it, you’ll really increase your absorption of iron. Seriously.

I really like both my cast iron skillets. Also, I now have a handy murder weapon, if the impulse should ever strike me… :cool:

Scrape, oil and store. As mentioned, the key is never use soap. A good plastic scrubber can be used with water, but nothing more. Then reoil immediately.

My chicken fryer is still going strong after 35 years, and the skillet I inherited from my grandmother via an aunt is damn-near perfect.

Just 'cause this is the dope and all, I wanna explain why that’s true. Tomatoes are very acidic, and acids dissolve metals. The tomato juice is gonna dissolve some of the iron from the skittle and put it into your food. The oil, if the thing’s seasoned, will hinder this but not stop it. That can be a good or bad thing, depending on what you want.

I bought a cast iron skillet many years ago, to pan fry chicken like my grandma did. I found I liked it so well, and how it worked with food, that I put away my regular skillets and now only use the cast iron.

Oh, and a blood bank once gave me a list of things to do to increase the iron in your diet. Eat greens, dried fruit, molasses, liver and so on. Cooking with cast iron was also on the list!

Thank you for posting what I was too tired to post. Works for me–and helps my anemia. :slight_smile:

I use an el cheapo Big Lots 10 incher for practically everything I do on the stovetop, and it works awesome. Encouraged by good results, I got a bigger, fancier one with a textured bottom. It was useless; it simply would not take a seasoning, and those damn bumps on the cooking surface made everything stick. I do think I’d still like to get a chicken fryer or dutch oven, but I’ll be looking for a smooth bottom next time.



You CAN wash your cast iron skillet with soap and water! Just don’t leave it to SOAK in soapy water.
My wife has given a new skillet she has seasoned herself to each daughter, niece, cousin, female friend as a wedding gift for 20 years.
Dutch ovens are great, too. Beats the crock pot every time.

I’m already lobbying my mother for her grandmother’s chicken frying pan (slightly higher sides). Probably mid-late 19th century, black as Satan’s heart, and slick as (non-offensive analogy needed*), despite having not been used in years.

*The best one I know is pretty offensive.

You have been warned! Do not click if it is remotely possible that you might be offended!

A couple
more lines
to minimize
the risk

Take a deep breath and exhale slowly:

slick as cat cum on a door knob :eek:

I cook almost exclusively in iron. I wash with water, but not soap.

Of course you CAN, but then you have to reseason the damn thing. And true seasoning takes a while - that’s why the old ones are so good. My advice: you CAN, but DON’T.

My dad always used “snail snot on a brass doorknob,” obviously of the same vintage as your spoilered one, but works (slightly) better in public.

We’ve had LOTS of threads about seasoning cast iron, which you may want to browse, but the common rookie mistake is to season with a liquid oil rather than a solid one. Apparently the “oil-before-you-put-it-away” works with liquids–in fact the one I have came with instructions to just use Pam–but supposedly the initial season really does need butter/lard/crisco/solid fat from the humans you killed with it to work well.

I use a plastic brush with super hot water to clean mine. I then dry it, spray it with a mist of vegetable oil, and then wipe it with a paper towel. It still retains its slick black cooking surface. I use it almost every day. I have a grill pan, but the only thing that it seems to cook well is chicken breast and panninis.

Once they get really well-seasoned, you can actually use a bit of soap and warm water once in a while, if there’s something crusty or sticky on them such as burnt sugar - and the world won’t come to an end - you might lose a bit of the most recent layer of carbon, but if you oil the pan afterwards, then put it on a low heat for a while before putting away, everything will be fine.

I take mine with me when I go camping and I bake cakes in it.

Thanks for the tips!

This particular pan was labeled “pre-seasoned”, Og knows what they did to it (hopefully nothing involving felines and doorknobs :eek: :smiley: ). I’ve just been using liquid oils in it thus far.

I’m about ready to toss my other pans too, Baker; this is actually easier to clean than the old-school Calphalon we received as a gift. I may even like it better than the Revereware I’ve had forever.

It’s the flavor that shocks me, stuff really does taste better.

‘Pre-seasoned’ usually just means they’ve attempted to remove any dusts and oxides remaining from casting and finishing, and they’ve burned a coat of oil onto it. It might be a good start (although maybe not), but seasoning a pan is too lengthy a process to believe that it could happen on a production line.

Hmmm, that makes sense.

Put it in a warm oven w/some Crisco then?

Or, heck, set it on the back porch – it’s only 99 degrees out there :smiley: .

Seriously, I do hate to turn on the oven when the A/C is running.