You’ve heard this before; it’s true! No matter how good or how expensive a pan might be, proper care will not only lengthen its useful life, it will also provide you with better cooking results. This tips will protect your investment in good quality cookware that will last a lifetime.
SEASONING CAST IRON COOKWARE
Wash thoroughly with mild dish washing liquid. Rinse with hot water and dry completely with a towel. Never allow to drain dry. Warm utensil and use a paper towel to grease inside, outside and lid with vegetable oil or shorting, rubbing it in; wipe away an excess. Place utensil in a 300-350 degree oven and let season for 30 to 40 minute. Allow utensil to cool naturally in the oven to room temperature.
Try to never use metal scouring pads or scrubbers on fine finishes. They leave microscopic scratches that dull the finish and encourage foods to stick. We recommend nylon if you must scrub.
The ideal clean-up is to promptly cover the sticking foodstuffs with water and heat gently; a well-maintained pan will soon release the food and reduce your scrubbing significantly.
Use a dishwasher only when the manufacturer recommends it. On steel and iron surfaces it will create rust, and it will also remove some seasoning. Tin-plated steel pans can also rust if they are scratched and in spots with welds. Non-stick pans lose fluoropolymers to the harsh detergents, and eventually lose their ability to keep food from sticking. Anodized pans will discolor and stainless steel pans will eventually pit from the detergents. Wooden utensils soak up water and detergent and eventually crack.
SEASON YOUR PANS
Season steel, cast aluminum and cast iron. At high temperatures, oil or shortening carbonizes in the pores of metal cookware, thus preventing foods from burning and anchoring themselves to the pans. A well-seasoned pan is nearly stick-proof and a real cooking pleasure.
Crank up the heat on iron and steel. Uncoated cast iron is made to be used real hot; it takes a while to heat, but it can really get and stay red hot. Carbon steel pans can take high heat as well; if you don’t get a wok hot enough in a concentrated area at the bottom, they become impractical for their intended use.
TO AVOID STICKING:
To help prevent sticking at the bottom of a pan, use a trivet or diffusing plate on open-element electric stoves and on commercial gas stoves to soften the heat of the burners. This is especially helpful on any stove if your stainless or aluminum pan does not have its own heavy aluminum or copper diffusing disc.
Have you checked your oven temperature recently? If food is burning or not cooking quickly enough, your oven may need re-calibration; get yourself a good bulb-type oven thermometer.
Crank up the heat as needed with other pans, but never for prolonged periods of time; liquid inside disperse some of the heat and keep them from warping and suffering other damage. Remember that you can easily damage any pan (other than iron and carbon steel) through excessive heat.
NOT SO HOT
Don’t crank up the heat with non-stick pans; or you will severely shorten its useful life.
Hot pan, cold oil; food won’t stick. You can gently and briefly pre-heat most better cookware before adding shortening to help prevent food from sticking.
USE WOODEN SPOONS
Although most pans can handle metal spoons and spatulas, some abrasion does occur. Use wooden spoons and the new high temperature resin spatulas.
Never store acidic foods in any pans that are not made of glass, porcelain, or that are glazed with enamel. All metals react with acids; it’s only a matter of time before you start noticing the damage.
CLEANING CAST IRON COOKWARE
Cook whenever possible in a well-seasoned cast iron pan, which requires no washing, only wiping clean.
Look into an overhead or wall pot rack to keep your favorite pots near at hand. You may need to consider head room and where the ceiling joists are located.