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Mistakes You’re Making With Your Cast-Iron Skillet

Everyone should own a cast iron skillet or dutch oven.  You can’t really call yourself a prepper without one, but what are some mistakes people make when cooking, cleaning, or storing cast iron cookware?

Cast iron can be tricky. Here are some things to avoid when you’re cooking with cast iron.

The cast-iron is the workhorse of many a dedicated home cook, and for good reason. Constructed in one seamless piece of metal, it’s tough, conducts heat efficiently and, when seasoned properly, has a nonstick surface. If fact, a properly seasoned skillet, will cook an egg as good as any high tech modern cookware. There’s almost nothing cast iron can’t do, but you have to treat your pan right.

What are some of the most common cast iron mistakes and how to fix them.

You don’t understand seasoning

It’s so easy to say, “Seasoning” without actually understanding the science and what actually it means. Seasoning refers to a layer of polymerized oil that has been baked onto the surface. Seasoning makes your skillet release food easily, clean up quickly and remain stain- and rust-free. Some cast-iron skillets come pre-seasoned, but that won’t last forever, so you’ll have to learn how to season cast iron properly. Seasoned cast iron will have a smooth, non-greasy, lacquered surface. An unseasoned skillet, for example, will have a grey or dull appearance, and will become shiny and closer to black in color when seasoned properly. Even if your skillet comes pre-seasoned, for best results right out of the box, consider seasoning it yourself before you use it.

Frying pan made of cast iron, various fresh vegetables and spices on a white wooden kitchen table.

You’re not seasoning the skillet right

If you’re just rubbing a layer of oil onto the surface of your skillet, you’re not seasoning. Seasoning involves a chemical reaction made possible through heat. Here is how to season your cast-iron skillet:

  • Apply a thin coat of any kind of vegetable oil to the entire pan (inside and outside and the handle too)
  • Place the pan inverted in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for an hour
  • Turn off oven and allow pan to cool inside the oven.

You’re not cleaning it correctly

How to clean your cast-iron skillet:

  • Immediately after cooking, rinse in warm water, sprinkle with a bit of baking soda, and scrub gently with a nylon brush. The baking soda neutralizes any flavors and odors from what you’ve just cooked, and has antibacterial properties.
  • Since water will cause cast-iron to rust, don’t soak your skillet (thanks to seasoning, you shouldn’t need to), and be sure to thoroughly dry it with a dishtowel.
  • To help maintain the existing seasoning for as long as possible, apply a thin coating of vegetable oil while the pan is still warm.

Hand pushing a sponge into a water-filled skillet

You never use soap

Think you can’t wash your cast iron with soap? Wrong! Cast iron can take almost anything you throw at it, even a little dish soap. Yes, if you take care of your skillet perfectly, you might never need to suds the skillet up. We all make mistakes, though, there may be a time you need to soap up to clean it up well or to help you if it gets rusted.

Do you have a rusty skillet? How to get it looking like new again?

You use harsh chemicals

While soap can be used on cast iron sparingly, there is no need for any harsh chemicals to clean your skillet ever— if it’s rusted, Never use oven cleaner or scouring powder.  Use baking soda, a towel and, if needed some dish soap. That’s it.

Seasoned cast iron skillet

You’re not re-seasoning

Season cast-iron once, and you’ve got a kitchen workhorse. Well you do for a while. Season cast-iron regularly, and you’ve got a kitchen workhorse for a lifetime. Every time you use your cast-iron cookware, you’re wearing some of the seasoning down, and eventually it won’t function as well. So season it again whenever you see dull spots is easy to do. It’s simple to season it whenever it’s out and your oven is on.

You’re not doing enough cast-iron cooking

While seasoning does wear down with use, the more you use your cast-iron cookware, the better it performs. Every time you use it, you’re also adding new molecules of polymerized oil. Over the long haul, your cast-iron will darken and grow shinier.

You get scared off by a bit of rust

One day, you will take your cast-iron skillet out of the cupboard, and there will be a spot of rust on it. Yes, it happens even to the most careful cast-iron caretakers. But don’t worry; it’s not going to hurt your cookware at all. You can take steel wool to it. Just be sure to wash and re-season before you use it again. Here are some more tips on dealing with, and preventing, rust.

You’re not preheating

Cast-iron performs best when heated gradually, so give it a few minutes to pre-heat before adding your food.

You’re overheating

Because cast-iron is so efficient at conducting heat, it can get hotter than what you may be used to with other cookware. So start with a lower heat setting as you get used to how incredibly efficient your cast iron skillet actually is. And if it gets too hot (you’ll know, but one sign is that it’s smoking), turn off the heat, let it cool down a bit, and then get back to cooking.

You’re using the wrong spatula

Technically, you can use any spatula (and any tool) on a cast-iron skillet. However, metal spatulas provide the best results, especially when cooking delicate food such as eggs.

You believe the myth that you can’t cook acidic foods (like tomato sauce)

It’s a total myth that you can’t cook acidic foods in your cast iron skillet. Some are under the impression that acidic foods can discolor cast-iron, but a baking soda scrub should eliminate any discoloring. Some people think that acidic foods cause iron molecules to leach out into your food, but that’s actually a good thing! Cast-iron cooking can add significant amounts of iron to your food and into your body.

So go ahead and try this chicken cacciatore recipe, which we affirmatively recommend that you cook in cast-iron.

You don’t realize how forgiving it is

So maybe as you’re reading this, you’re thinking about that cast-iron skillet you haven’t taken the best care of. Maybe you’ve made every single one of the mistakes listed above. That’s okay! Just scrub it down, re-season it, and start using it again. Cast-iron is forgiving like that. That’s why it will last forever…or at least until Thanksgiving…when you can try all of these holiday recipes tailor-made for your favorite skillet.

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Downloading Maps for Off-Grid or No Cell Signal

Have you ever wanted to download a map for when you don’t have signal or just simply want to conserve your battery by turning cell service off. Here’s a simple way to do just that.

Many people may not be aware that you can download Google maps for use when you don’t have signal.

Be aware you will have to refresh the map after a period of time since the data will automatically delete after a month, unless you save it again.

 

Open your Google Maps App and scroll, pinch and zoom to the area you want to download and the 3 hash marks Menu.

Then Click the “Offline Maps” Menu item.


Select Your Own Map

The Map will download

If you select the downloaded map you can navigate and search the area.

Be aware that the map will expire and not all search functions work properly.

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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CBD OIL

Public support for both medical and recreational marijuana is at an all-time “high”. Many believe that the products made from the cannabis sativa plant are all “psychoactive”; that is, mind-altering. Studies, however, suggest that some substances in Cannabis plants have little or no psychoactive action at all, but might have other medicinal benefits.

The one making the most news is cannabidiol, also known as CBD. Often marketed as an essential oil, CBD has been touted on the internet as a cure for almost anything you can imagine. A huge number of claims from an equally huge number of manufacturers leaves the average citizen dazed and confused.

So, what is Cannabidiol?

What are the benefits of CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 100 chemical compounds called “cannabinoids” in Cannabis sativa and certain other plants. Some cannabinoids bind with cell structures in the body known as “receptors” and cause physical effects. One, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), binds with a receptor that is responsible for the “high” experienced by those who use marijuana recreationally. Humans actually produce some of their own cannabinoids as well.

The way CBD works is not well understood, but it has enough promise that a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel recommended approving the CBD medication Epidiolex for two rare types of epilepsy in children. The FDA panel recommendation was the first official federal action to approve a natural Cannabis product in the United States. Previously, the FDA approved THC in synthetic form as an anti-nausea agent.

Some potential is being reported for the use of CBD in multiple sclerosis (MS), where it is being used (along with standard therapies) in other countries. A nasal spray known as Sativex contains both THC and CBD and is thought to be effective for pain, muscle tightness, and urinary frequency in people with MS. This product is not yet approved in the United States.

CBD use is also being suggested (often with other treatments) for pain management, anxiety, movement disorders, nerve disorders, schizophrenia, and various other conditions. So many, as a matter of fact, that it is being touted by some companies as a cure for everything from cancer to autism to smoking. Even mainstream stores like Kroger has announced it will be selling CBD products in the near future.

In some cases, there are studies that might support using CBD for one medical issue or another, but not enough to be considered sufficient proof of benefit. Some companies have run afoul of the FDA for making unfounded claims. The possibilities, however, are serving as the driving force for a number of ongoing studies.

Every treatment, even natural, has its advantages and disadvantages; Cannabidiol is no different. Its use may cause abnormal liver function tests, diarrhea, drowsiness, dizziness, low blood pressure, and other problems. A study on those with Parkinson’s disease found that use of CBD oil actually worsened tremors. It isn’t considered safe in pregnancy.

Marijuana growers have worked for decades to develop strains with the highest THC levels possible, so as to give their customers the best “high”. Now that extraction of Cannabidiol is in vogue, these same farmers are also cultivating plants with low THC and high CBD levels. The source is usually hemp.

Hemp is grown specifically for its ease of cultivation and ability to be turned into usable fiber. It has been part of the textile market for thousands of years. In addition, commercial products such as clothing, paper, insulation, plastics, paint, and even certain foods can be manufactured from industrial hemp. Now, it serves as an excellent source of CBD.

Many believe that marijuana and hemp are the same. They are, indeed, the same species, but different strains. The CBD products made from hemp allow users to stay mentally “with it” while experiencing the possible medical benefits. The colorfully-named psychoactive marijuana strains (“purple haze”, etc.)?  Well, not so much, although they are legal to use for medicinal reasons in more than 30 states.

What is CBD

CBD OIL

Cannabidiol can be added to various products you smoke, spray, eat, or apply. The most popular are extracts known as “CBD oil”. Food and drink containing small amounts of CBD are generally regarded as safe by the FDA. Despite this, its legality varies from state to state. It’s legal in some where marijuana isn’t.

As with any essential oil, the effects vary greatly with the strain of Cannabis used, climate conditions, extraction process, and other factors. The lack of testing and standards regarding quality also causes reliability issues with CBD products.  Dosing is still “largely unknown”, but that 300-600 milligrams was suggested to be effective for anxiety in healthy individuals. Some pediatric epileptics were taking 1000 milligrams in addition to anti-seizure drugs.

Until there is a regulatory system in place to verify each brand of oil’s content and safety, it seems clear that consumers will have no guarantee about what they’re getting. False products have ranged from placebo (sugar pills) to toxic. In one area in Utah, synthetic versions of CBD in supplements required more than 50 people to seek medical care.

Cannabidiol is one of many natural products that may become useful tools in the medical woodshed. Even off the grid, “weed” grows like, well, weeds. As more data is produced, there will be a clearer picture as to whether cannabidiol lives up to its potential. In the meantime, do your own research and discuss CBD with a qualified medical professional.