If you are lucky enough to have learnt to cook with Grand-ma you might already be well acquainted with the points specific to using and caring for seasoned cast iron cookware. If not, you need to be, before you get cooking!
Washing Seasoned Cast Iron
How you wash up your new Lodge Dutch oven or other cookware is probably the most important thing to remember. Keep it simple is best; ideally no soap and certainly no harsh detergents or dishwashers. Providing you use your cookware correctly you should find that things do not stick very often anyway. But if the worst does occur simply deglaze the pan like the chefs do by popping it back on the heat and adding some water. The burnt bits should life away as the water bubbles, either creating tasty gravy or doing the washing up for you depending on your point of view!
Using Seasoned Cast Iron
Always warm cast iron gently at first. For large items such as griddles, place them over 2 heat sources to ensure even heat distribution early on.
Ideally do not try to cook very cold foods as these are the ones most likely to stick. It is always preferable to let fish or meat come to room temperature before cooking anyway to ensure even cooking and easy timing.
Remember the handles are cast iron too and so they get very hot, even on the stove top.
All cast iron cookware is heavy, and the better quality it is (like the American made Lodge stuff), the heavier it is likely to be. If heavy kitchen utensils are likely to cause you problems, cast iron is probably not the material for you.
You should always keep cast iron dry, so towel dry after washing, and keep it stored somewhere well ventilated, as trapped moisture could cause rusting and necessitate re-seasoning more often.
Seasoning Cast Iron Cookware
If your cookware is allowed to remain damp or is washed up rather too vigorously, you may find the seasoning starts to disappear. It isn’t a problem as you can re-season it easily at home.
First scrub thoroughly using a stiff brush or scouring pad to remove debris and rust spots. Rinse and dry well and then add a thin layer of cooking oil, or melted vegetable shortening over the entire surface (inside and out).
Pop a layer of aluminum foil into the base of your oven to catch any excess oil and then place the cookware, upside-down on the oven rack. Bake at 350ºF for an hour. Then switch off the oven and let the pots cool slowly.
And, if that all sounds too much for you, enamelled cast iron cookware, such as these Le Creuset skillets is always an option! It really is very easy though, and nothing to be at all worried about, after all these pots and pans have been made in the same way for generations so they cannot be too troublesome!