Cast Iron. The best cookware, period. It is the safest, best investment, and most durable cookware around. That being said, it definitely needs some TLC.
If you don’t have a lot of time but you need to do a quick clean the easiest thing to do is hand wash your cast iron with just a plain eco-sponge or scrubber and some warm water. YOU DO NOT NEED SOAP! Why? Cast iron gets extremely hot, think 400 degrees in 4 minutes on medium heat hot! Surfaces become sterile at 212 degrees which is why the soap is not necessary. Once it is clean, towel dry and then rub with a light coating of oil to season it. Seasoning essentially means baking the vegetable oil into the pan. It creates a natural non-stick property that only gets better over time. (I use my Organic Fair-Trade olive oil from Equal Exchange) and it will be in perfect cooking condition, ready for your next big meal! See the bottom of your post for how to re-season your cookware thanks to Lodge!
While maintaining the seasoning should keep your Cast Iron and Carbon Steel in good condition, at some point you may need to re-season your cookware. If food sticks to the surface, or you notice a dull, gray color, repeat the seasoning process:
* Wash the cookware with hot, soapy water and a stiff brush. (It is okay to use soap this time because you are preparing to re-season the cookware).
* Rinse and dry completely.
* Apply a very thin, even coating of MELTED solid vegetable shortening (or cooking oil of your choice) to the cookware inside and out. Too much oil will result in a sticky finish.
* Place aluminum foil on the bottom rack of the oven (not directly on bottom) to catch any drips.
* Set oven temperature to 350 – 400 degrees F.
* Place cookware upside down on the top rack of the oven to prevent pooling.
* Bake the cookware for at least one hour. After the hour, turn the oven off and let the cookware cool in the oven.
* Store the cookware uncovered, in a dry place when cooled.
* Repeat as necessary.