A cast-iron skillet can be one of the most useful tools in your Gainesville kitchen. If you are just starting to work with cast iron pans, you might not know how to cook with and care for your pan. While there are a few things you definitely should know before you cook with cast iron for the first time, as long as you follow these tips, you will see that you will be able to work comfortably with this pan in whipping up your future culinary masterpieces.
The first thing to know about cast iron is that there is a wide range of skillet types and sizes. Choose the right size cast iron pan for the dish you will be making. Most professional chefs recommend a 10-inch skillet for everyday use. However, some cast iron pans can weigh up to 25 pounds! If you are not going to be cooking large quantities on a regular basis, the 10-inch pan would suffice.
Manufacturers strongly suggest that you “season” your cast iron pan before the first use. Cast iron works better with a hard, nonstick surface on it, one that can be created with the use of some oil and your oven. To season a cast iron pan, all you need to do is rub a light coat of vegetable oil over both the inside and outside of your pan. Then, place the pan upside-down in a 500-degree oven for about an hour. The good thing about cast iron cooking is that this seasoning process happens naturally each time you make chicken or steak in it. Your pan will be made even better with every use. The meat’s fat adds a new coating to the pan’s surface.
Once you have prepared your cast iron, you can start cooking. But as you plan each dish, remember that there are some foods you shouldn’t make in a cast iron pan. Do not use your cast iron pan for scrambled eggs. They bond with the iron, making it hard to clean up. The natural acidity of tomatoes reacting with the pan will give your food a metallic flavor. This also happens with tomato sauce. Finally, avoid cooking salmon or other oily fish in a cast iron pan. The oils will bond with the pan’s surface and make everything you cook in the pan after that taste fishy. Cinnamon rolls are one of the most popular dishes people love to make in a cast iron pan. But if you make the rolls in a pan after cooking fish in it, the rolls will taste like salmon. People aren’t usually fans of salmon-flavored bread.
It is important to remember a few more tips so that your first attempt at cast iron cooking becomes successful. First, pre-heat the pan beforehand. Some beginners usually forget to heat the pan before putting food in it. This results in longer cooking times and burnt or inedible food. If you ever you do end up burning something in a cast iron pan, do not try soaking the pan in water to remove it. Try using a salt scrub to clean your cast iron pan. Some use salt and half a potato to scrub their cast iron pan clean. After that, wipe it with a little dish soap and water. Avoid using too much soap or soaking the pan in water, as this will damage the pan’s coating.
It’s really that simple! With these easy tips, you can be a cast-iron professional. Would you like to learn more about how to care for and maintain other items in your house properly? Call us at 706-864-5456 or contact us online today!
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