Chefs will be the first to tell you that when it comes to searing certain cuts of meat and seafood, there’s nothing better than cast iron. For home cooks, however, cast iron’s reputation for being high maintenance and difficult to clean persists. But, no more! It’s time to dig out your cast iron from the far reaches of your cupboard.
Myth #1: Soap will strip your seasoning
While cast iron requires some special care, cleaning your pan or skillet is easier than you think.
A well-seasoned pan, one that has been repeatedly rubbed with oil and heated, will have developed a protective coating, also known as “polymerized oil,” which is more plastic-like than oil. So, don’t be afraid to soap it up!
Myth #2: Metal utensils will ruin cast iron
Unlike non-stick pans, a well-seasoned cast iron skillet is quite resilient against metal utensils, such as spatulas or tongs. Unless you’re purposefully gouging and scraping the surface of your pan, cooking with metal utensils should pose no issues!
Myth #3: A pain to maintain
Cast iron has been around for many, many years. Considered the hardest working cookware in any kitchen, cast iron is built to last! Don’t be afraid of chips, cracks, or rust—it’s difficult to truly ruin cast iron to the point of no return.
After each use, clean and re-season your cast iron pan before storing it away.
Myth #4: Cast iron transfers a metallic flavor
When raw cast iron metal interacts with acidic ingredients, an unpleasant metallic flavor is imparted. Since no pan is perfectly seasoned, avoid cooking acidic foods, such as tomato sauce, for too long in cast iron. Deglazing your food by adding a splash of vinegar, lemon juice, or wine is perfectly fine!
Myth #5: Cast iron is just as good as non-stick Teflon
A well-seasoned cast iron pan will develop non-stick properties, however they are not originally made non-stick like Teflon. That being said, a well-seasoned cast iron can easily make an omelet without sticking, but a non-stick Teflon will do it better.