How do I care for my cast iron cookware?!

Cast iron cookware has a life and personality of its own - sometimes being passed down generation to generation in families - as is the case with my larger skillet which I use to prepare about 90% of my at home meals.   Yesterday I found a two pack of mini 6.5" Lodge Lodgic skillets at Williams Sonoma for only $20 (!)  They're the perfect size for (large) single serving fritattas, a couple eggs, a sirloin steak etc.   I also plan on developing some Primal friendly gratin recipes for them.   BUT... as hinted at before, cast iron does require some care and maintenance, a little diligence, but its a good way to work on your self discipline and takes that scary non-stick teflon stuff right out of your life.   

Straight from the horse's mouth, or rather from the side of the box from Lodge, we have the care instructions- written out in a way which I could not improve.   So I will copy it below for you:

To use (preseasoned) cast iron:

Rinse with hot water, do not use soap, and dry thoroughly.

Before cooking, apply vegetable oil (GiryaGirl uses coconut oil or bacon grease saved for this purpose) to the cooking surface of your pan and preheat the pan slowly (always start on low heat, increasing the temperature slowly)

Once the pan is properly preheated, you are ready to cook!


Do not use soap.

Do not place pan in the dishwasher.

After cooking, clean pan with a stiff nylon brush and hot water.  Avoid putting a hot pan into cold water - thermal shock can occur, causing the metal to warp or crack.

Towel dry the pan immediately and apply a light coating of oil to the pan while it is still warm.

Store in a cool, dry place.

Re-seasoning if necessary:

If your pan develops a metallic smell or taste, or rust spots (shame on you!), simply scour it with fine-grade sandpaperor steel wool.  Rinse and dry completely.  Next, apply a thin, even coating of melted vegetable shortening (I use coconut oil or bacon grease) to the cookware inside and out.  Set oven at 350-400 Degrees Fahrenheit (180-200 Degrees Celcius).  Placing a piece of aluminum foil on the bottom rack will insure against oil dripping.   Seet the cookware upside down on the top rack of the oven and bake the cookware for at least 1 hour.  After that time, turn the oven off and let the pan(s) cool in the oven.