I decided it was time to go another route. People have been using cast iron to cook in (and on) for hundreds of years. If it had been tested for that long it must be good. I headed to my local sporting goods store and bought a Lodge cast iron skillet the next day.
There is some prep work to be done before you can use your skillet (to "season" it, and make it non stick). Basically, you need to:
- Liberally grease the inside of your skillet with vegetable oil or shortening.
- Place your skillet inside a 350 oven for one hour. Your skillet may smoke a little bit, so turn on the exhaust fan.
- After an hour turn off the oven a let the oven and skillet completely cool.
- Wipe out any excess oil from the skillet with a paper towel.
- Now it's ready to cook in!
- Cast iron holds the heat better than regular frying pans, so you need to cook at a lower temperature (If you want to cook something on Medium heat, turn your burner to Medium Low and adjust gradually from there.)
- Gradually heat up your skillet. Never turn your burner to High heat. It will crack your skillet, and/or start a fire!
- Lightly grease the skillet before the first few times you use it. I still use non stick cooking spray and have never had a problem with build up.
- If something sticks to the bottom of the skillet. Fill the skillet with a couple of inches of hot water (NEVER put cold water in a hot skillet!!!!!), bring to a low boil, and let it boil for five minutes. This will loosen the stuck on food, so you can gently remove it with a plastic scraper.
- To clean your skillet you are suppose to use hot water only. You can scrub your skillet with a no scratch sponge or scrubbie. This instructions say not to use dish soap on your skillet (it ruins the finish), but that seems icky to me. I scoop a few bubbles from the top of the dish water with my scrubbie and wash my skillet with those.
- Do not cook acidic foods, like tomatoes, for prolonged periods of time. The acidic ruins the finish of your skillet. Regular cooking is fine.
- If the finish of the skillet wears off, just reseason your skillet.
- Buy a brand name skillet. Cheap or generic cast iron can have flaws that effect their performance.