How to Effectively Clean Your Cast Iron Skillet
A cast iron skillet is one of the most versatile cooking utensils you can have in your kitchen. You can use it to sear some steak, fry eggs, bake cornbread, make lasagna, or braise curries, stews, and other types of sauces.
Cast iron skillets are popular with chefs the world over due to their incredible durability, ability to retain heat, and pre-seasoned non-stick surface. They can last for a generation but like all things, require the proper maintenance and care to keep them in good working order.
How to Clean Your Skillet
You should make sure that you clean your skillet after every use. Because they come pre-seasoned, you should avoid using materials or substances that are excessively abrasive. Even regular dish soap can deteriorate the seasoning.
Unlike frying pans made of stainless steel, cast iron skillets are made from a softer metal alloy. Depending on the dishes you usually prepare, you may only need to clean the skillet by simply wiping it down with paper towels, or rinsing it out with warm water before setting it on a rack to dry.
A lot of cooks tend to use salt to clean skillets as this helps improve on the seasoned surface. If you are baking, roasting, or stewing something, there is a good chance you will need to scrub off layers of residue.
Using a Chainmail Scrubber
Instead of using steel wool which would scratch the skillet’s surface and strip away that essential non-stick layer of oil and seasoning, you can choose to go with a chainmail scrubber. They are perfect for scrubbing off baked residue and gunk that gets stuck on the surface during cooking.
Because of its somewhat large size, a chainmail scrubber will cover a much greater surface area. Its ring-shaped link pattern allows you to strip away the gunk, while its flexible mesh weave penetrates hard to reach areas without affecting the non-stick layer or washing out the seasoning. You also won’t have to apply as much force with your hands.
The best part about chainmail scrubbers is that they are very durable and they last a bit longer than sponges and non-abrasive brushes. They do not rust because they are made of stainless steel. They do not have any sharp, pointy bits, so you don’t have to worry about cutting your hands or getting bits of metal stuck in your fingers.
Food particles will rinse away from the ring-mail easily, unlike steel wool which tends to get food scraps tangled in between the fibers.
Extend Your Skillet’s Lifespan
Regular cleaning is the key to maintaining that smooth, slick, non-stick layer of oil and seasoning that makes cast iron skillets so popular with cooks.
Bear in mind that although they can be durable, they are not indestructible. Their materials and construction are different from other utensils. Always remember to avoid using abrasive materials that could damage the surface of your skillet or compromise the integrity of its seasoning.The better you take care of your skillet, the longer it will last.