Product Review: Crofton Cast Iron Skillet
I have had my Crofton Cast Iron Skillet for about a year. My mother-in-law gave me one as a birthday gift (Thanks Cyndi!) and it has seen a lot of use. I am a big fan of cast iron and have added a few pieces of "vintage" cast iron to my cooking collection from grandparents as they have down-sized. Cast iron has been around for years and years and if you know how to take care of it, it will last you for many more. I like that cast iron pans have no chemical non-stick coating but when well-seasoned are pretty non-stick.
A few things you should know about taking care of cast iron:1. Never put it in the dishwasher. One of mine went through the dishwasher recently and came out with rust all over it and the seasoning (non-stick layer) stripped. Make sure you let anyone doing the dishes in your house how to properly wash them. (Ah hem- I love you, Honey)
2. To wash, simply run it under hot water and use a plastic scouring pad or sponge to scrub off any food residue. I don't use soaps as I feel it strips the seasoning. If you are worried about my safety, please see the Lodge Cast Iron FAQ page where they explain why not using soap on your cast iron is okay. After washing, dry it thoroughly and rub it down with oil before storing.
3. The first few times cooking with it, make sure to cook higher fat foods like sausage or bacon. The fats will help add to the seasoning layer and increase its non-stick quality. I have learned to slowly build up to starchy foods that stick like potatoes or pancakes. The Crofton pans all say preseasoned, but I find them to stick a lot at first (same with my Lodge pans).
4. If it rusts, don't throw it out. You can remove rust on a cast iron pan with salt and a potato. Kid you not. Cut a potato in half, sprinkle some salt on the pan, and use the cut side of the potato to scour. Rinse and check to see that all the rusty spots are gone. You will need to season the pan the pan again to restore the non-stick coating. I find that the Lodge Cast Iron site is a great resource for seasoning and care instructions.
5. Don't cook acidic foods (tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, chili, etc.) in cast iron until it is really well seasoned. It can leave the foods with a metallic taste. I still cannot get eggs to release evenly from any of my cast iron without a heck of a lot of butter or oil, so I still keep a Calphalon pan around for eggs. Do preheat your cast iron as it takes a long time for the heat to spread to the outer edges of the pan.