With the right gear and know-how, the outdoor cooking opportunities are many. A good cast iron frying pan and a sturdy dutch oven will get you far. However, it is always recommended that you take time to get to know your campfire tools and appliances before starting your outdoor cooking endeavor.
Before first use, wash your new cookware in hot water with a mild soap or dish detergent. Rinse thoroughly and dry immediately using a soft cloth or tea towel. Seasoning and preparing cast iron cookware Seasoning is the process when vegetable oil is baked onto the cast iron at a high temperature. Seasoning cast iron with vegetable oil creates a natural non-stick finish.
Seasoning and preparing cast iron cookware
- Wash your cast iron with hot soapy water and a stiff brush.
- Rinse and dry thoroughly before coating the inside with unsalted fat or vegetable oil. Don’t use too much or it will be too greasy.
- Seasoning process over open fire: Let it stand over a low flame for two to three hours, evenly rubbing on more fat at intervals of 20 to 25 minutes.
- Seasoning process in oven: Cover the bottom rack of your oven with aluminium foil (not directly on the bottom). Pre-heat the oven to 175°C/350°F. Place the cookware upside down on the top rack of the oven to prevent pooling. Bake the cookware for at least one hour. After an hour turn off the oven and leave the cast iron to cool in the oven.
Washing cast iron cookware
- Do not plunge hot cast iron cookware into cold water for this could cause damage
- Wash in hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly.
- If food has stuck or burned onto the cast iron, soak in hot water with a bit of washing soda sprinkled on the spot. Bring to a boil if the burned food sticks stubbornly. Wash in hot soapy water.
- To maintain seasoning, after swilling place the cookware on a low heat and part evaporate the remaining water before rubbing the inside with a teaspoon of vegetable oil. Heat before rubbing in again. Allow to cool before storing.
- Use a little baking soda in the final rinse water to help prevent rust formation.
- To help prevent rust ensure the cookware is completely dry before storage.
- To help prevent rust apply a light coating of vegetable cooking oil to cast iron cookware prior to storage.
Removing rust from cast iron cookware
- Scrub with a nylon pan scourer or fine steel wool. Sprinkle scouring powder over stubborn stains.
- Cut a potato in half, drizzle a little liquid dish detergent or scouring powder into the cookware, then scrub with the cut side of the potato. After rust removal, wash and season product before storing away.
- Try table salt, baking soda, kosher salt or pure wood ash as a scouring powder.
- After the first seasoning, try cooking dishes with animal fats or deep fried and sautéed items. This will help the seasoning process and develop a non-stick surface over time.
- Avoid cleaning with harsh chemicals since the cookware could absorb them.
- To strip the piece right down, soak in a 50/50 water and vinegar solution for about six hours. Wash well in hot soapy water then season cookware.
- For especially caked on, rusted pieces: you may have to heat the cookware till its piping hot (fireplace, fire pit, oven), and then scrub while it’s hot. Be careful not to get burned, and be aware that heating it too fast or too hot may cause the cookware to crack.
- You can use shortening, grape seed oil, lard, bacon grease, cooking spray, to grease and season the cookware.
- Be aware that cooking with acidic foods such as lemons, vinegar and wine can strip the seasoning. Re-season if necessary.
- Never wash cast iron in the dishwasher.