There is just nothing like the smell of breakfast being cooked in that family cast iron heirloom coming from your campsite. We never tire of waking up to those sights, sounds, and smells.
We’ve learned some great tips from our campers for keeping their cast iron in good shape and for traveling with it, undamaged at the end of a long trek.
It all boils down to a few simple things:
- Don’t wash it with soap
- Dry it really well
- Re-season it once it’s dry
- Store it dry and cushioned, if nesting pieces within each other
Your grandmother probably told you that soap is a sin when it comes to cast iron and she was pretty close to right. Most people simply wash their cast iron with hot water, while the pan is still warm, and a plastic scrubber. Soap will only strip the oily seal you worked so hard to create when you seasoned it the last time you used it.
Cast iron will rust. If it does, you can still save it by scrubbing it with salt but to avoid that just make sure it is very dry before you put it away. It’s also a good ideas not to store your pans with the lids on just in case they are still moist or are holding some humidity.
When your pan is clean and dry, re-season it with your favorite fat. The most popular choice used to be good old Crisco and it still works just fine. Others use olive oil though it can turn rancid if the pan is not used for a while. You can also use bacon grease, lard, or vegetable oil. They will all do the job beautifully.
If you nest your pans for storage, be sure to place something soft between each piece. It doesn’t have to be thick it just needs to protect one piece from scratching the other. Keep the lids off and you can pack them all in a ventilated box for travel.
We know you love your cast iron and we love watching the magic you perform with it so following these simple guidelines will keep them as good as new for many years to come.