July/09/2008 11:23 AM Filed in: Instructional/How To
Posted by P. Delia Hollenbeck
Tools are important. Quality counts. The question has risen before as to what is the best kind of utensil to use in our cast iron cookware. This was especially true for me after I had gone to all the trouble of triple seasoning my new bare metal, deep sided cast iron skillet (I think that it would be called a chicken fryer if it had a lid to go along with the high sides). Now I know that several seasonings are fine, but not the same as, say, a year’s worth of regular use and the accumulated seasoning that would naturally occur from cooking with oil. So what can I do to really keep the seasoning even and not scratched up?
The utensil choices I have available--already in use in my kitchen--are heavy duty hard plastic, wood, the black plastic kind that can be used on non-stick pans, and lastly, stainless steel. Now I use any and all of these on my regularly used, heavily seasoned skillets. I don’t gouge, scrape or mutilate the pan surfaces when I cook. However, I know that newly seasoned pans are still undergoing that heating and hardening process known as seasoning, and the seasoning is still tender
, if I may use that term.
My wood utensils are spoons. The black plastic spoons and spatulas melt (the edges fray) in cast iron if we’re not careful of the heat. The heavy duty hard plastic ones are too thick for turning eggs, and so that leaves metal. Well, maybe…and maybe not.
The newest innovation (that I have found so far) is the high heat rated silicone. I found a spoon and a pancake turner in that medium in the gourmet kitchen section of my favorite department store. I made sure the tag on them said they were good for 450 to 500 degree heat. You might ask how I know to do that. Well, I had bought a silicone bowl scraper--the kind with the wood handle--and used it to keep a pan of beans from scorching. It ultimately did not stand up to the temperature. A friend kindly told me that I was too frugal (she was too kind to say cheap?) and I should have bought the higher priced silicone that was high temperature rated. So now I read the tags and go for quality.
I can say so far, so good. No melting and no frayed edges of spoon and spatula. I am more comfortable using them as they continue to prove themselves worthy. The new seasoning is progressing well, by the way.
Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below, or you can contact Delia directly at email@example.com.