by Texas Homesteader ~
Cast Iron skillets are usually the preferred cookware in my Homestead kitchen. And although cleaning and caring for cast iron is somewhat different than other materials, it’s not hard nor complicated.
A few simple tricks will keep your cast iron rust free, virtually non stick and ready to serve you well for decades.
(Note: Some links in this post are for further information from earlier posts I’ve written. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click them and buy something (almost anything, not just the item noted) I could receive a tiny commission. But the price you pay will NOT change. It’s an easy way to support this blog without anything coming out of your pocket. So click often! Thank you!)
Simplifying My Kitchen
But back in ‘the day’ I was the same as probably most of my friends. I was rushing out to buy the latest and greatest cookware and food storage systems. After a while my cupboards were stuffed to overflowing with plasticware. And I could never find what I wanted when I needed it.
So I culled back HEAVILY and donated a tremendous amount of stuff to a thrift store, keeping only the things I actually used.
These days I’m more likely to toss leftovers in glass jars in the fridge and also use glass in the pantry for dry-goods storage instead of using the tumbling mountains of plasticware for instance.
But the most-used item in my Homestead kitchen is my small collection of vintage cast-iron skillets, passed down to me from both my father & my grandmother.
My Homestead kitchen doesn’t have oodles of different sizes and brands of fancy cookware. But let me introduce you to my absolute favorite item in my kitchen: my grandmother’s antique cast-iron skillet.
(spotlight please…) Isn’t she a beauty?
This square cast iron skillet was given to me by my grandmother many years ago. She received it as a wedding gift when when she and my grandfather married in 1934.
Grandma was an amazing cook and this skillet was used almost daily in providing nourishing food for her family.
By the time she gifted the skillet to me it was perfectly seasoned from decades of home cooking. The surface was virtually non-stick too. I use it often.
I’ve also received a couple of vintage 10″ round cast iron skillets from my father. These are so helpful because I like to make a double batch of No-Knead Skillet Bread and like to bake both loaves at the same time!
Skillet Surface Options
As you can see, most of the skillets in my kitchen are cast iron in different sizes. As I mentioned above I have a square skillet and two 10″ round skillets that were passed down to me. I also have various-sized griddles, comals, and other cast iron cookware that I use often.
I only use one other kind of skillet in my kitchen. It’s a stainless steel skillet I bring out when I’m not cooking savory dishes. (like when I’m making homemade pudding such as Chocolate Pudding, or homemade Banana Pudding, etc)
Cast Iron For Stovetop or Oven Use
But a cast-iron skillet is my go-to piece of cookware for virtually everything else. Especially for fried foods like fried potatoes or RancherMan’s favorite Poor-Man’s Steak. (ie: stuffed hamburger).
Cleaning My Cast Iron
Keeping my cast iron skillets properly cleaned & seasoned is a snap. If I’m frying something I simply wipe out the interior of the skillet of any residual food after the skillet’s cooled. Any coating of oil left behind after cooking just helps to protect the seasoning of the cast iron.
But to clean the skillet after anything other than frying, I only need to use a scrub brush and some hot water to clean the interior. Soap is not necessary.
Although some cast-iron users will include soap in the cleaning, I feel it compromises the perfectly seasoned non-stick surface that was decades in the making.
So to keep that perfectly-seasoned surface I love, I never use soap when cleaning my cast-iron skillets. (Although I’m not gonna lie, it was VERY difficult for me to come to terms with never using soap in the skillet as I was cleaning it!)
Food Occasionally Clings To The Surface
Now although the gorgeous surface of my cast iron skillet is virtually non-stick, there are cooking mishaps that cause things to stick in my skillet from time to time. Things such as not allowing the surface to heat enough before adding eggs for scrambling or when trying to fry very starchy varieties of potatoes.
But for those occasional messier things this is my favorite hack for cleaning my cast iron in those rare times when food clings to the surface of my cast-iron skillets:
Into my cooled skillet I pour in just enough water to barely cover the surface. Then I place the skillet on a burner set the flame to medium heat. Since there’s so little water in the skillet, the water starts to simmer within a very short amount of time.
Now I turn off the heat and place the cover on the skillet. I’ll let the steam do all the work while I clean the rest of the kitchen. By the time I’m done I remove the lid and any food that’s been stuck on the surface is softened & scrapes away effortlessly.
Maintaining The Seasoned Surface
After my cast iron skillet has been scrubbed clean, I set the skillet on a hot burner until all moisture evaporates. I never walk away during this step because I’ve gotten distracted before. Eh hemmmmm…
Besides it only takes a few seconds for the heat to dry all the moisture that remains on the skillet’s surface.
When the skillet is completely dry I remove it from the heat and coat the still-warm inside surface with a thin coat of shortening or bacon grease before storing it away.
This helps protect the skillet against moisture. And remember that moisture is the enemy for cast iron.
Cast Iron Lasts For Decades
I’m amazed that this skillet has already seen so many decades of faithful service. And I love that I’ll still be able to pass it down to my own children. And they can pass it on to theirs!
If you aren’t lucky enough to receive a vintage cast iron skillet from your grandmother, they’re easily purchased new.
I found cast iron skillets on *Cast Iron Skillets on Amazon. Seasoning a new cast-iron skillet is easy. But nowadays you can even purchase your cast iron pre-seasoned.
Properly cared-for cast iron is highly durable cookware that you should be able to use for decades. And it only gets better with use. Now THAT’S an environmentally-friendly purchase.
Do you have a favorite piece of cast iron?
How Would Grandma Do Things
- Living Life Like Grandma
- Grandma-Approved Cleaning Techniques
- Is Grandma-Styled Cooking A Lost Art?
- Caring For Grandma’s Cast-Iron Cookware
- Stuck-On food? How To Easily Clean A Cast-Iron Skillet
- Using Grandma’s Vintage Corning Ware
- Why Doesn’t Junior Want Grandma’s Fine China?
- Living Deliberately & Naturally: Voluntary Simplicity
- Using It ALL – Eliminating Leftover Food
- Easy Self-Sufficiency Steps You Can Take Now
Other Low-Waste Stories
- Buying Products Used: Good For Your Budget & The Environment
- Closing The Loop In Charitable Giving
- Our Low-Waste Coffee
- No-Waste Citrus Juice For Recipes
- Don’t Waste Those Onion Trimmings
- Ditch The Plastic – Using Glass In The Refrigerator
- 5 Zero-Waste Products We Love
- Food Waste in America: What Do Those Dates Mean?
- Zero-Waste Hygiene – Using A Safety Razor
- Eliminate Plastic Produce Bags
- How I Got Cute Gingham Napkins For Only $1
- How To Host A Low-Waste Party
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