If you are like me, your iron skillet is hands down your favorite cooking vessel. Before I owned one of my own, I never really understood the true beauty of it.
Don’t get me wrong, I had seen my great-grandmother make plenty of helpings of true, southern cornbread in it and saw my mom fry some mean chicken strips. But, I didn’t realize the importance of having – and seasoning – an iron skillet and just what a difference in really made in what you were cooking.
I mean just in case you don’t know what I mean, try a batch of true, southern cornbread made in an iron skillet (the right way) and then try a quick box of Jiffy made in a muffin pan. You will spot the difference immediately.
Now, like I mentioned earlier, there is significance in seasoning an iron skillet – obviously, this is what makes the food taste so unique. But if you are unaware of how to properly clean your iron skillet, you might be wiping off that delicious seasoning one scrub (cringe!) at a time.
So, if your grandmother or great-grandmother just passed down the most prized family possession to you – the iron skillet- please keep reading so that you don’t taint this precious jewel.
Here is the breakdown in three simple steps:
Water, water, water
This step works best when it is done immediately after using the iron skillet – and letting it dry so you don’t burn your hand. If possible, try just rinsing the iron skillet with water and rubbing off any residue with your hand. Avoid sponges at all cost.
If absolutely, completely necessary then you can use one with extreme ease and caution. But, it is best to avoid.
Dry, dry, dry
What happens to any type of metal that you just leave wet? It rusts. And don’t go as far as to think that your iron skillet is any different. Once you have rinsed out the leftover food residue, give it a quick wipe with a dry paper towel to soak up any water still remaining.
Oil, oil, oil
And now comes the messiest, but most important part – oiling your pan. This helps with the seasoning process. Drop about one tablespoon of vegetable oil and grab yet another dry paper towel and rub it all around.
Now, you have successfully cleaned your iron skillet and haven’t damaged all that tasty seasoning in the process!