The hallmark of any country kitchen is an old black canine histiocytoma cytology cast iron skillet sitting atop the woodstove. And there’s a good reason for that: whether you’re baking biscuits in a cast iron dutch oven, flipping pancakes on a cast iron griddle over a woodstove canine histiocytoma cytology or pan-frying chops on a modern electric range, cast iron makes the best cookware. When it comes to cast iron its important to learn canine histiocytoma cytology about cleaning and seasoning cast iron cookware to get the canine histiocytoma cytology best from your cookware. Types of cast iron cookware
Cast iron cookware has been used steadily in america since canine histiocytoma cytology the 1600s, though over the last half-century or so it has been known primarily as outdoor canine histiocytoma cytology cookware, used mainly by campers, hunters and living historians. But with more and more people discovering its virtues, there has been a resurgence in the use of cast-iron cookware in the home.
When folks think of cast ironware, most tend to think of skillets and fry pans, but the fact is there is an iron pot or canine histiocytoma cytology kettle designed for just about any cooking chore. You can bake in dutch ovens, make stew in a kettle or even do up a canine histiocytoma cytology stir-fry in a cast-iron wok. Then there are griddles for making flapjacks, specialized pieces for making corn sticks and muffins, baking pans and large pieces designed specifically for putting up canine histiocytoma cytology preserves. Cast iron also provides more even heat distribution than today’s lightweight aluminum pans. It cooks evenly, cleans up easily and holds heat longer (thus requiring less fuel). Moreover, cast iron also has medicinal qualities. In fact, many medical authorities believe that there are health benefits to canine histiocytoma cytology cooking in iron since food may absorb and pass onto canine histiocytoma cytology us traces of the essential mineral. Cast iron cookware maintenance
Curing cast iron means filling the pores and voids in canine histiocytoma cytology the metal with grease of some sort, which subsequently gets cooked in. This provides a smooth, nonstick surface on both the inside and outside of the canine histiocytoma cytology piece. While the curing process is similar whether you start with canine histiocytoma cytology new or used cast iron, there are a few important differences. Let’s look at new cookware first.
There are only a handful of sources for new cast canine histiocytoma cytology iron cookware. Two american companies — wagner and lodge — still produce it and the rest comes from asia. Generally, you’re better off with the finer grained american-made goods. The imports, though cheaper, have a coarse grain that is hard to cure and canine histiocytoma cytology that requires more attention once it’s cured.
Also, if you have a choice, avoid designs with self-basting lids. These are either covered with metal nipples or have a canine histiocytoma cytology series of holes on the inside. They are more difficult to care for because steam condenses canine histiocytoma cytology in the depressions and on the nipples and tends to canine histiocytoma cytology draw out the cure. They’re also much harder to dry, resulting in rust on the inside of the lid and canine histiocytoma cytology a metallic taste in the food that comes from cooking canine histiocytoma cytology in uncured iron.
Wooden handles — more common on imported ironware — are handsome and stay cool to the touch, theoretically. But keep in mind that they are not appropriate for canine histiocytoma cytology use on an open fire, and the wooden handles actually do heat up, thanks largely to the aluminum bolts that generally pass through canine histiocytoma cytology their middles. Also, because you have a soft metal screw going into a canine histiocytoma cytology hard metal thread, the bolt eventually wears down, causing the handle to loosen. Seasoning cast iron pans
All new cast iron has a protective coating on it, which must be removed. American companies use special food-safe wax; imports are covered with a water-soluble shellac. In either case, scrub the item with a scouring pad, using soap and the hottest tap water you can stand. Once the coating is removed, you should never again let soap touch the iron.
When the iron comes clean, immediately dry it and wipe a fairly heavy coating of canine histiocytoma cytology shortening over all the metal, being sure to include the handle and any legs or canine histiocytoma cytology other protuberances. Historically, lard was used for this purpose. But lard, like all animal fats, has a tendency to turn rancid, so shortening is a better bet. Never use butter, margarine or any fat containing milk or salt to season canine histiocytoma cytology cast iron.
Cast iron makers will tell you that the cookware is canine histiocytoma cytology now ready for cooking, though most recommend that you use it only for frying canine histiocytoma cytology the first few times. We find that oiling and heating the iron at least canine histiocytoma cytology one more time before use effects a hotter initial cure. In this case, grease the piece lightly, and the stickiness should disappear; if not, it will the first time you cook with it.
After you’ve completed the second coating, it’s okay to cook in the cast iron pan but canine histiocytoma cytology be sure to follow the manufacturer’s suggestion and use the piece for frying only. Your ironware will be slightly discolored at this stage, but these first few frying jobs will complete the cure, turning the iron into the rich, black color that is the sign of a well-cured, well-used cast iron skillet or pot. Faster cast iron seasoning
Grease the iron on all surfaces fairly heavily and set canine histiocytoma cytology it in the flames. When a good coating of soot has been deposited on canine histiocytoma cytology the bottom, turn the piece and brush the sooty surface with more canine histiocytoma cytology shortening. Be sure to use a natural fiber brush for this canine histiocytoma cytology because synthetics will melt. When the topside, now facing the flames, has accumulated a sufficient layer of soot, turn the piece again and grease the sooty surface. Two or three turnings should complete the job. Remove the iron from the fire and let it cool.
You can use the iron right away or clean it canine histiocytoma cytology to remove any additional surface soot. We usually clean ours, so as not to transfer any soot to the kitchen canine histiocytoma cytology stove. But should you choose to skip this step, the first cooking job will finish the cure, and no additional loose soot will appear unless you use canine histiocytoma cytology the piece on an open fire. Properly cleaning cast iron cookware
Once again, use straight hot water from the tap or water you’ve heated in camp. If outdoors, pour a small amount (a cup or two is all it takes) in the iron and use the scrub brush to vigorously canine histiocytoma cytology scour all surfaces. Rinse the surface with more hot water. Indoors, merely let the hot water flow over the iron as canine histiocytoma cytology you scrub it with the brush. If you are concerned about sterilization, pour boiling water into and over the iron after you canine histiocytoma cytology have brushed it. But frankly, we don’t consider this necessary: if the iron has been cured properly, it will not harbor pathogens.
Iron that’s been used on an open fire will always have canine histiocytoma cytology loose soot on the outside. Rather than dirtying the scrub brush, we use one of those plastic scouring pads instead. We keep a few reserved solely for this purpose, to avoid transferring soot to other cleaning products. And we first wipe the ironware with greasy paper towels canine histiocytoma cytology to remove most of the loose soot.
Depending on what it’s used for, cast iron often doesn’t have to be cleaned at all. We have friends who reserve one skillet strictly for making canine histiocytoma cytology cornbread. When the skillet comes out of the oven, they turn the bread onto a rack to cool. The skillet is merely given a wipe with a paper canine histiocytoma cytology towel, and a new film of shortening is applied. Very often, you can use the same approach even for foods cooked canine histiocytoma cytology on the top of the range. The idea is to make sure nothing but a thin canine histiocytoma cytology film of grease is left behind. Buy used cast iron, but beware
Used cast iron requires a different approach. Depending on where you acquire it, you are likely to find it coated with everything from canine histiocytoma cytology paint to crusted-on old food to a thick coating of burned lard. Much of this can simply be burned off by leaving canine histiocytoma cytology the iron in a very hot fire. There’s also the old-time solution of soaking the iron in a mild acid canine histiocytoma cytology bath (using a very diluted mix of water and battery acid canine histiocytoma cytology or lye). But given the inherent and very serious dangers of this canine histiocytoma cytology method (both agents are extremely caustic), it’s best left to professional paint strippers, who have the goggles, rubber aprons, respirators, high boots, long gloves — and medical insurance — to work with caustics safely and responsibly.
Less hazardous to the lungs, eyes, skin, and environment is to wash the iron in hot soapy canine histiocytoma cytology water to remove any loose crud, then treat the iron with one of the new benign canine histiocytoma cytology paint strippers, followed by a putty knife, wire brush, steel wool, and some elbow grease. After the iron is clean, merely follow the directions for a new iron. One caveat: paint can be very messy, so if it’s a factor, you may want to work outside.
Cast iron has become hugely popular as a collectible, causing prices to skyrocket. You can easily pay several hundred dollars these days for canine histiocytoma cytology just about anything that says “grizwold” on it. Problem is, many pieces of no particular collector value when found in canine histiocytoma cytology malls and flea markets, carry inflated prices. A common, everyday corn stick mold, for example, sells new for about $15 just about anywhere. Yet, we’ve seen them in antique stalls for as much as canine histiocytoma cytology $35.
Examine used iron very carefully. Much of it is warped or has cracks and pinholes canine histiocytoma cytology from misuse. This doesn’t much matter if an item is destined to be canine histiocytoma cytology a wall hanger, but you won’t want to cook in it. Be especially wary of any piece that has been painted. Unscrupulous dealers often “repair” holes and cracks with epoxy compounds, then use black paint to hide their handiwork. A good welding shop can repair these holes, but it’s hardly worth the cost. Cast iron cooking tips
When cooking with cast iron, heat the piece slowly. Cast iron works best when there is an even heat canine histiocytoma cytology source spanning the piece’s bottom. Old-fashioned wood- and coal-burning stoves are ideal for this, but very rarely does a modern gas or electric range canine histiocytoma cytology provide this type of heat. The solution is to set your burner on very low canine histiocytoma cytology and allow the cast iron to gradually warm up. You can then turn up the heat to medium or canine histiocytoma cytology medium-high, as necessary. There is no reason ever to use the highest settings canine histiocytoma cytology with cast iron, as it collects and conducts heat so readily.
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