How to care for a cast iron frying pan

cast iron panThere's no need for a non-stick pan when you have a well-seasoned cast iron pan that's used and cared for properly. Here's how to do it.

My favourite kitchen tool is an old cast iron frying pan that my dad gave me years ago. He found it in the woods, rusty and caked with dirt from sitting outside. Despite the pan’s awful appearance, he believed in its integrity: “Just take it home, clean it up, season it, and you’ll have a great frying pan.”

I was skeptical, but my husband tackled the cleaning and seasoning of the pan with great gusto. After a few smoky hours of rubbing the hot iron with lard and baking it on, the pan was finally ready. (Find instructions here for how to season properly.)

That pan has gone above and beyond what I ever expected. Long gone is the Teflon pan I used to have, with its sketchy-looking scrapes and missing chunks of non-stick coating. I don’t miss it at all because the cast iron pan, if used properly, works just as well as a non-stick one. It even adds iron to one’s diet; anemics are told to cook their food in cast iron in order to benefit from the few milligrams of iron that leach from the pan with each meal.

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