35 Ways to Love Your Cast Iron Skillet

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Yesterday I 'fessed up to something you may be able to relate to: I've spent years in an uneasy relationship with my cast iron skillet. It is so delicate, for all its brawny heft, demanding to be seasoned, kept away from tomatoes, and cleaned just right; if soap or vinegar comes near start all over again! Who needs that kind of fuss in the kitchen? Not me. But I just hadn't learned yet to love my cast iron skillet. 

Given proper loving care — and less of it than you might think — the cast iron skillet can be your friend with benefits in the kitchen. Here are 35 ways to love your skillet more; it will love you back — I promise. 

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I finally learned that it takes much less work than I thought to keep a skillet in shape. It's all about the cleaning routine. I learned to clean my skillet immediately after cooking in it, with nothing more than a dish brush (sometimes I use a tiny bit of soap) and hot water. Then I wipe it out and dry it over a low flame on the stove. This keeps it well-seasoned and darkly gleaming. 

In return for this bit of loving attention, the skillet loves me back in so many ways. There's nothing like a good dark crust on a ribeye, cooked indoors in the oven; for those of you grill-less this summer, this is your secret to great summer steak. The skillet is the best way to reheat meat and leftovers; it gets a delicious smoky char on beans; it makes the best cornbread you've ever had; it's just the right tool for frying chicken

Love your cast iron skillet — it may seem demanding, but properly cared for it is a quiet treasure of the kitchen. Here are 35 ways to give it some loving attention this weekend, from proper care and seasoning, to understanding the best ways to put it to use, to recipes that show off its splendid features. And don't miss the cast iron skillets we really love — handmade Borough Furnace skillets, and an amazing United States of America in cast iron form! 

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The Essentials

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All About Seasoning

 United States of America Made Out of Cast Iron Skillets 

Cast Iron Pans We Love

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Smart Ideas for Cast Iron

Your Cast Iron Questions — Answered! 

What to Cook in a Cast Iron Skillet


Mains
Sides

Dessert
All right your turn. How do you love your cast iron skillet, and how does it love you back? 

(Images: See linked recipes and posts for full image credits)