If you’re a camper or RV enthusiast, there’s a good chance you’ve brought your cast iron cookware along with you. Cast iron is an incredibly durable material but can be destroyed in several ways, including using the cookware as a tool, not caring for the cast iron properly, and letting it rust.
Cast iron is not indestructible, so it’s important to take care of your cookware. You will need to buy new cast iron cookware often. Let’s take a closer look at the ways you can ruin your cast iron cookware, so you know what practices to avoid.
Using Your Cast Iron As A Hammer
One of the quickest ways to ruin your cast iron cookware is by using it as a tool. Cast iron is not designed to be used as a hammer, and doing so can damage the cookware beyond repair. If you need to hammer something while camping, find a different object such as a rock to use instead of your cast iron cookware.
Using your cast iron cookware as a hammer can also cause serious injury, so it’s not worth the risk. Whenever you are camping or if you live in an RV full-time, investing in a high-quality hammer will make your life much easier and prevent damage to your cookware because it will reduce the temptation to use your cast iron to make repairs or drive nails.
It is also not a good idea to use a hammer to reshape your cast iron as this can cause more damage to the cast iron and ensure you will need to replace it.
Using Your Cast Iron As A Base To Hammer Things On
Another way you can damage your cast iron cookware is by using it as a base to hammer things on. Cast iron is not a sturdy enough material to withstand the force of being hammered on, and doing so will damage the cookware. This is a common mistake among those who are new to camping and are not used to working with cast iron.
Suppose you need a surface to hammer something while camping, find a different object such as a large rock or tree stump to use instead of your cast iron cookware. While it might not be as sturdy as your cast iron, it will make your cast iron cookware last longer and make it less susceptible to dents. Investing in a bench block or finding a large rock you can flatten is your best bet.
Using Your Enamel Cast Iron On A Campfire
While it may seem like a harmless act, If you have an enamel cast iron pan, do not place it directly on the campfire. The extreme heat will damage the enamel coating and ruin the cookware. It’s best to use a trivet or pot stand when cooking with enamel cast iron on a campfire. If you don’t have one, you can improvise by using rocks or sticks to create a makeshift stand. If you cant fashion a stand, wait for the flames to die and use the coals as your heat source.
Heating Up A Dry Cast Iron And Dumping Cold Water In It
Cooling your cookware after use is important for preventing rust and ensuring a fire is not started, but you need to be careful about how you do it. Never pour cold water into a hot pan, as this can cause the cookware to warp and become misshapen. To avoid this, always preheat your cast iron cookware with oil or water before adding food.
Then, when you’re ready to clean the cookware, let it cool down before adding cold water. You can also rest the cast iron pot on a dirt surface away from any wood or dry leaves that can catch on fire. Also, invest in a portable fire extinguisher to take care of any unforeseen fires.
Heating Up Your Cast Iron Really Fast Repeatedly
Another way you can ruin your cast iron cookware is by heating it up too quickly or too often. This can cause the cookware to warp or even crack. When using a campfire to heat up your cast iron cookware, build a fire and let it burn down to embers before placing the cookware on top.
This will help evenly distribute the heat and prevent the cookware from being damaged. This can be compared to preheating an oven at home before cooking; it’s best to let the oven preheat for the recommended amount of time to ensure your food is cooked evenly.
Leaving It Out To Rust In The Rain
While cast iron is designed to be used outdoors, it’s important to take care of it when you’re not using it. Cast iron is a durable material, but it’s not indestructible. One of the quickest ways to ruin it is by leaving it out in the rain. Rust will form on the cookware and make it difficult, if not impossible, to use. If you’re camping in an area where it might rain, be sure to pack your cast iron cookware in a waterproof bag or container. This will help to keep the cookware in good condition and prevent rust from forming.
Should rust form on your cast iron cookware, there are a few methods you can use to remove it, including:
- Sanding it off with a fine-grit sandpaper
- Using a chemical rust remover
- Boiling the cookware in vinegar
Using Your Cast Iron Cookware As A Boat Anchor
If you’re using your cast iron cookware as a boat anchor, it might be time to invest in a boat anchor. Cast iron should not be submerged in water for long periods of time as it can cause the cookware to rust. Not only is this a bad idea because the cookware can be damaged, but it’s also bad because cast iron is not heavy enough to anchor a boat. Use a proper anchor instead of your cast iron cookware to keep your boat safe while camping.
If you are concerned with your anchor taking damage or rusting, you can always coat it in a layer of oil before submerging it. This will help to protect the anchor and prevent rust from forming.
Dropping Your Cast Iron On Rocks Or Concrete
Cast iron is a durable material, but it is not indestructible. Dropping your cast iron cookware on rocks or concrete is a surefire way to ruin it. While this can sometimes be an accident, it’s best to avoid doing this as it can damage the cookware beyond repair. If you do happen to drop your cast iron cookware, inspect it for cracks or chips. If there are any, it’s best to replace the cookware as it will be more susceptible to rust and further damage.
Will Cast Iron Break If You Drop It?
While cast iron is a durable material, it can be damaged if it’s dropped from a height or onto a hard surface. Cast iron can break if you drop it, especially if it’s dropped on a hard surface. If you do happen to drop your cast iron cookware, inspect it before cooking with it again. If there are any, it’s best to replace them.
Not Seasoning Your Cast Iron Cookware Before Use
It’s best to season your cast iron cookware before each use to ensure it’s in good condition. If you don’t season your cast iron cookware before using it, you’re more likely to damage it. Seasoning the cookware helps to create a nonstick surface and prevents rust from forming.
To season your cast iron cookware, simply coat it in a thin layer of oil and bake it in the oven for a few hours. Seasoning will help to create a nonstick surface and prevent rust from forming. If you are already out in the woods and need to season your cookware, you can do so over a campfire.
Not Cleaning Your Cast Iron Cookware After Use
If you don’t clean your cast iron cookware after each use, it will eventually become damaged. Food and grease can build up on the cookware and cause it to rust. It’s important to clean the cookware after each use to prevent this from happening. Even a quick wipe-down with a paper towel can help keep the cookware clean and in good condition.
Can You Leave A Cast Iron Skillet Dirty Overnight?
You can technically leave a cast-iron skillet dirty overnight, but it’s not recommended. If you don’t have the time to clean the cookware after each use, it’s best to at least give it a quick wipe-down with a paper towel. This will help remove any food or grease that could cause the cookware to rust. If you leave the cookware dirty for too long, it will eventually become damaged and need to be replaced.
Soaking It In Water To Clean
While it’s important to clean your cast iron cookware after each use, you should avoid soaking it in water. Soaking the cookware can cause rust to form and damage the cookware beyond repair. If you must soak your cast iron cookware, be sure to dry it thoroughly afterward to prevent rust from forming. However, there are several other ways to clean your cast iron that will keep it safe:
- Scrubbing it with a stiff brush
- Wiping it down with a damp cloth
- Using a cast iron cleaner