How to care for cast iron in a few simple steps

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Have I told you lately how much I love my cast iron Dutch oven? I swear everything I cook in it just tastes better. 

A few weeks ago I was at my mother's house. She made me a grill cheese sandwich in her cast iron skillet. 

"I love cast iron," I told her. "I just have the Dutch oven. But I cook everything in it." 

My mother turned and stared at me. 

"You just have the Dutch oven. That's it?" she asked. 

She could not believe that I, a woman of 31 living in the south, only had one piece of cast iron. Apparently I was breaking some sort of law. 

Mama washed her skillet and told me to take it home. 

"I have more," she said. 

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See my mother knows... cast iron wear is perfect to cook with and it lasts forever. If you take care of it it will last over 100 years. 

But that's the key... you have to take care of it. 

I'm not going to lie. I have made some cast iron mistakes. I have soaked it, put it in the dishwasher, scrubbed it with an SOS pad. Yeah. You're not supposed to do any of those things. That's all a no no. 

Today I am going to show you the correct way to care for your cast iron. 

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The seasoning process is by far the most important thing you can do for your cast iron. This is the first thing you want to do when you purchase it. 

Then you will need to reseason it every once in a while. 

To do this you will need an oil of some. I like to think about what Buck, my great grandmother would have used. Probably lard, or shortening. I don't have either of those in my house... so I will use coconut oil. 

You will also need a paper towel or soft cloth. 

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That photo is SUPER blurry, but you get the point. You want to rug the oil on every inch of surface inside the pan. Get into every curve and up all the side. 

Then slide it in the oven and "bake" at 350 for about 30 minutes. 

This will prevent sticking when you cook. 

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So if you're a put something in the sink and let it soak kinda lady, cast iron might not be for you. But you can reform that behavior. Trust me, I know. 

In theory if you've seasoned your cast iron properly you don't have to wash it. You can just wipe it out with a hot, wet dish rag and you're good to go. But that's not always reality. Especially if you've cooked something like eggs or cornbread. 

Leaving it to soak will cause it to rust and if you have a white sink like me it will stain your sink. In stead squirt a little dish soap in it, fill it with hot water and use some grease... elbow grease. And a straight brush. I purchase mine at the Dollar Tree. 

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It may take a while to clean all the gunk off of it, but you want to make sure there are NO food particles left on it. 

Then you will want to dry it completely. 

To dry my cast iron I put it in an oven that's been preheated to 350 degrees. Then I turn the oven off and let the pan sit there. 

If you do have a piece of cast iron that has rusted you can clean it with a potato. I know... that sounds insane, but it works. You simple cut the potato, sprinkle it with salt and then use it to scrub away the rust. 

That's it. I know it seems like a lot. But it's not. Plus, you can read about the health benefits of cast iron by heading here

Do you cook with cast iron? Tell me about it. Join the conversation below!