Most of us know how durable cast iron cookware is, but did you know how it’s made?
Cast Iron Cookware in a Nutshell
Many people prefer cast iron cookware because of its durability and strength. All you need to do is pick up a cast iron skillet in your hand and you can see how strong it is from the sheer weight of it.
To make it durable and useful, the coating of any cast iron cookware will be seasoned by the manufacturer. This is a process of adding some type of coating to the cookware. The seasoning basically prevents the cookware from chipping away during normal usage. It also prevents food from sticking to the pan. When cookware is seasoned, it is less likely or even impossible to rust or corrode. This is what makes cast iron cookware so durable and reliable.
There are many types of cast iron cookware. Other than skillets or frying pans, you’ll find cast iron saucepans, Dutch ovens, and crock-pots. Did you know there are also cast iron waffle makers on the market? While these are not as prevalent as other materials, it is available. Cast iron woks are often used in many restaurants and buffets.
But How is Cast iron Cookware Made?
To manufacture durable cast iron cookware, quality control experts check to ensure the metals are of the purest to be used. Special equipment is also used to test the strength and grade of the sand to be used in making the cast iron. A mixture of sand, clay, and water is used to mold the cast iron. Equipment known as toolings will help to mold the individual pieces, such as griddles or frying pans.
Cast iron is actually an iron alloy. The material is actually about 3 percent carbon. Other minerals are infused as well. A blast furnace is often used at the manufacturing plant to produce the material known as cast iron. Once the molds are created for the designated piece of cookware, it must pass inspection. If impurities are detected, it most likely will be rejected.
Cast iron maintenance
If you’re thinking of buying some cast iron cookware, you need to know how to care for it properly. The care of cast iron cookware is not the same as caring for other types of cookware. You need to consider certain factors, such as preserving and protecting the seasoning of your cast iron.
How to Clean Your Cast Iron Cookware
You may have heard the advice – or warnings – stating never to use detergent or dishwashing liquid on your cast iron cookware. While this is partially good advice, you shouldn’t refrain altogether from using mild dish soap. Just do not scrub or scour your cast iron pots and pans. Most especially, do not make a habit of using soap pads. This will strip the seasonings. Furthermore, don’t run your cast iron through the dishwasher. It’s best to clean the pots and pans by hand.
If your cast iron cookware gets s especially greasy and grimy, go ahead and use some grease-cutting dish soap on it. Use a sponge rather than an abrasive scrubby-thing. If you’re concerned about stripping the seasoning from your cast iron cookware, it’s not a big deal. If this happens, simply re-season the cookware.
To do so, gently rub some canola cooking oil onto the surface. Vegetable shortening works well, also. You then should “bake” the cookware in the oven for approximately 45 minutes or so. Set the oven to about 375-400 degrees F. Do not use the cookware until it is completely cool. There now, wasn’t that easy?
So then, how do you maintain the integrity of your cast iron cookware? To keep the quality top-notch, you must treat your cast iron right. Obviously, you don’t want to clean it too harshly by scouring your pots and pans. Instead, you’ll preserve the seasonings. How? By periodically wiping it down with some cooking oil. Store your pots in low humidity, free from dust and smoke.