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Cast Iron Mistakes

Cast iron is some of the most durable cookware you’ll ever use, but with improper care it can become rusted and grey. To avoid the painstaking process of scrubbing your cast iron with steel wool and dish soap, you must avoid these mistakes. Here are the most detrimental cast iron mistakes and how to avoid them.

Don’t Let it Soak

Cast iron rusts when it’s exposed to water for long periods of time, and skillet can make rust creep up that much faster. In order to prevent rust you need to make the cleaning process be as fast as possible. Instead of soaking, scrub it right away with a little bit of dish soap and warm water. As long as you don’t go overboard with the soap and wash it off right after your cast irons coating should be completely fine.

Don’t Let it Air Dry

Cast iron is a porous metal, and storing it drippy can keep water droplets inside of it that stay there in it’s nooks and crannies and rust over time. Before storing away your cast iron cookware, ensure it’s completely dry. To be certain it’s dry, wipe it thoroughly with a towel, then set it on low heat until all the residual moisture can evaporate.

Don’t Put it in the Dishwasher

Never put your cast iron in the dishwasher. What may seem like a shortcut for cleaning dishes and cookware is a catalyst for it’s destruction. The dishwasher tears apart the polymer coating you work so hard to build through seasoning, and the hour-long moisture bath isn’t helpful to stopping rust. So even on your most hectic days, take a second to clean your cast iron the right way, by hand.

Don’t Cook with Acid Too Long

Cast iron is a reactive metal, and even with a solid layer of seasoning, acid can break it down. Foods like tomatoes, red wine, vinegar, and lemon based sauces can leach metal taste when left for over 30 minutes. If you know you’re going to be slow cooking a big pot of acidic foods, reach for stainless steel as an alternative.

Don’t Forget to Season

Cast iron is resistant to rust as long as it’s dry and it has it’s polymer coating to stop it. When you only cook with cast iron but never reseason it, this coating can weaken over time. Season regularly with every time you cook. Following every time you cook with cast iron, clean, dry, and then leave it with a thin layer of oil before storing it away.

Don’t Store Leftovers in it

Storing leftovers in your cast iron is a recipe for disaster. The fridge is already a more humid place itself, but adding food inside the skillet the moisture will greatly promote rust. Not to mention the possibility of leaching into your leftovers changing the taste for the worse. Instead, we recommend investing in a set of glass storage containers, or just plastic wrapping the leftovers inside a spare bowl.

Don’t Get Skittish at the Sign of Rust

Although rust is a sign of wear for your cast iron, it is not a sign of replacement. Cast iron can last generations with the right care, and so it’s very difficult to damage cast iron beyond the point of irreparability. Instead, with the right technique, you can take a completely rusted cast iron skillet and return it to better than new condition. To learn more, check out our guide on how to restore cast iron.

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