DEAR HELOISE: Several years ago, I bought my wife a new cast-iron frying pan that is now starting to develop small rust spots on the cooking surface. I later learned that cast-iron pans are supposed to be “seasoned” to prevent this from happening. Can this pan be fixed, or should we just buy a new one? And what is the proper care of cast-iron cookware?
- Jim T., via email
DEAR READER: Don’t throw out the pan. Rust can develop when the pan is air dried or even scrubbed with steel wool. The pan should be washed and dried immediately. Many cooks (me included) put the pan back on the still hot stove burner to dry.
To season or re-season, use hot water, only a drop of soap and a nylon scrubbie or plastic brush to clean (never place the pan in the dishwasher). Rinse and dry well. Then, to season, use melted vegetable shortening. Wipe it all around the pan until the entire surface is covered. Place in a 375-degree oven, upside down on a cookie sheet. “Bake” for an hour. Turn the oven off and let the pan cool completely before taking it out.
P.S.: Wipe the pan with a little vegetable oil on a paper towel every time you clean it to prevent rust.
DEAR READERS: Are there certain foods you should never wash before cooking? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, raw meats and poultry should not be washed because of possible cross-contamination from the juices spreading to the sink, counters, dishes and utensils. Cooking meats thoroughly will kill all the bacteria.
People sometimes soak meat, like country ham, because they think it reduces the salt content. But the USDA advises that this does not remove much salt, so don’t.
DEAR HELOISE: My family loves eating pies. My question is, do all pies have to be refrigerated?
- Gayle L., via email
DEAR READER: No, not all pies need to go in the refrigerator. Pies that contain eggs (for example: pumpkin, cream or custard pies) should be refrigerated. Fruit pies don’t have to be refrigerated (unless your kitchen is on the warm side) and can be kept at room temperature for two days, if they last that long. Most people prefer to keep all types of pies in the refrigerator.
Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email Heloise@Heloise.com
Food, Pages 34 on 08/14/2013
Print Headline: HELPFUL HINTS