Cast iron is awesome. Plain and simple. You can fry, saute and bake all in the same pan. Want to make a top notch steak? Cast iron. Want to fry chicken? Cast iron. Want to bake a cookie cake? Cast iron.
Cast iron, while awesome, does require some special care. Minimize soap usage when washing your skillet. The best way to clean it is to rub salt in the pan while it’s still warm. It’s a natural and safe abrasive that cleans without removing the seasoning of the pan. Eventually, all cast iron must be reseasoned, and it’s not a terribly hard process to go through.
- Preheat your oven to 350.
- Put a spoonful of shortening (Crisco) in the skillet and put it into the oven.
- When the shortening has melted, pull the skillet out of the oven and use a paper towel to rub the shortening on the entire skillet (inside, outside, and handle). This is a bit tricky and may require assistance (one person holding the skillet, the other rubbing in the shortening)
- Put a cookie sheet on the bottom rack of your oven and return the skillet to the oven on the top rack, upside down. This way any excess shortening will drip out onto the cookie sheet below.
- Bake the pan at 350 degrees for an hour, and then turn the oven off and let it cool.
Ta-da, brand new skillet.