If we are to face the fact, there seem to be no permanent things around the world. As we get older, we grow weaker. As things also go older, they deteriorate. The same thing happens to us and our different products like cast iron pans. The conditions in which you bought an item are not the same condition it is today.
This is how things are supposed to work. So, don’t be surprised if you notice one of your favorite products starts wearing out. Items in the kitchen, too, are reactive to constant use. For instance, a cast iron pan can crack after some time. Many people don’t know the reasons this is happening.
However, in this post, we take you through the revelation of how cast-iron pan cracks. We also recognize that it is okay and more economical to fix things. That is why we go a little bit further to tell you how to fix the cracked pans. We ask you to sit back and enjoy the ride.
What Causes a Cast Iron Pan to Crack?
You might have noticed that your cast iron pan is beginning to show signs of cracks. And you are worried about it. One thing you need to know is that you are not the only one experiencing it. So, relax. There are thousands of other people passing through the same thing.
The problem then should not be about you noticing a crack. Instead, it should be about you knowing what causes it. And, further, how you can fix the cracked pan.
First, we bring you the causes. In other words, what are the things that can cause a cast iron pan to crack?
1. Acidic Foods
One major reason for the cracks is constantly boiling foods that are high in acidic content in them. The reality is that these acidic contents weaken your pans and make them susceptible to cracking. As such, if you are to guard against any crack, you need to avoid boiling acidic foods.
In case you didn’t know, one of the highlights of the cast iron is that manufacturers season it. Even if they don’t, you can season them. So, the problem is now with the seasoning. If you cook acidic foods, it can wear out the seasoning.
When this happens, your foods will burn easily, further damaging the cast iron pan’s interior. So, it is better to say no to any acidic content in your pans.
2. Thermal Shocks
Another major thing that can happen to your cast iron pan and make it crack is thermal shock. Many people do not understand what this means, so we will briefly take you through it.
The thermal shock has to do with a rapid temperature change. This rapid temperature change can cause the cast iron to want to expand. And this can result in a crack. So, the way it works and happens is simple. If your cast iron pan has previously been hot and you suddenly pour iced water in it. This is a straightforward example of how a cast iron pan can crack so easily.
If, after the crack, you keep putting it in a position, it can experience thermal shock; then, the worst can happen. One day, you may have your iron pan in your hands in two due to a break.
3. Excessive High Temperature
Asides from this, it is better to introduce the heat to the cast iron pan slowly. This, of course, is to prevent sudden heat that can cause thermal shock. Ideally, manufacturers have written the maximum heat the iron cast can withstand to prevent a crack.
We expect you to follow this religiously. In the rare case that you have lost the iron cast manual, you can still maintain your pan. The first thing is to ensure that you slowly introduce heat to the pan. And after cooking, you allow it cool if you want to put it at the opposite temperature.
We would advise that the temperature you would introduce to your iron pan should not be more than 500 degrees. This is the maximum you should go at any given time to prevent your pan from cracking.
So, that is how cracks happen to your cast iron pan.
Though this is bad enough, it isn’t the end. The exciting thing is that you can always make amends. Yes, you can fix your iron pans and get to use them again. If you are wondering how you can do this, read further. We have covered everything for you.
How Can You Fix Your Cracked Iron Pan?
It is not a crime for your cast iron pan to crack after some time. So relax. You don’t need to throw your pan away because of a simple crack. You can still fix it. Here’s how to do it.
1. Wash and Clean
The first thing you need to do is wash and clean the iron pan thoroughly with soap and hot water. You would need a brush to apply the necessary pressure to remove all grease from the pan you’re about to repair. If you notice grease after washing, wash again.
If there are traces of rust, steel wool can be used to remove that. After that, just rinse and make dry using a soft and clean cloth.
2. Check For Cracks
Now that your cast iron pan is quite neat, it’s the best time to do a thorough check for cracks. You should look out particularly for warping, among other damages.
In any event, you discover a total crack. You should not hesitate to call a professional welder. An attempt at self-repair is unreasonable as it poses a risk to your safety. And that we care about.
What do you do when you discover your iron pan has some holes? Dispose of! Don’t bother to repair it. If at all you would keep them, let it be as a relic and not for use.
3. Begin Repair or Give An Expert
The third step is to get an expert on the job. If you’re not sure of doing it well yourself, the expert will weld the cracks you identified.
But if you choose to self-repair, do well to put on fireproof clothing to protect your skin from hurt and welding goggles to protect your eyes from exposure to welding Sparks.
In fixing a cracked iron pan surround the area with a temperature level between 500 and 1000 degrees. We advise that this should be done in an empty room and not within reach of children. After this, exercise some patience. It’s impossible to fix the crack in one trial. Weld, the cracks at the interval, to prevent overheating, and after each moment of welding, let the pan cool off, then start again.
4. Allow To Cool And Remove Excess Welding Items
The final step. Once you’re through with welding, make sure you remove excess welding items that might still be attached to your iron pan.
How Can You Season a Iron Pan?
Now that you’ve fixed the cracks, it’s time to get to seasoning your pan to make it suitable for use again. And we’ve gone the extra mile to provide simple steps to aid you to season your pans.
But first, you should take note of these essential materials needed for seasoning your pan. They include; sponge, soap, dish towel, steel wool, vegetable oil, and an oven.
Step 1: Wash Your Pan Thoroughly
Could you guess? Yes. Thorough washing your pan again. You must clean your pan carefully before starting anything.
As usual, clean water, soft sponge, and dish soap. Don’t forget to dry the pan till there’s no drop of water left inside.
Step 2: Oil Your Cast Iron Pan
Now go ahead and cover your cast iron pan’s surface with the vegetable oil we earlier asked you to get.
Not just the surface. Oil the handle as well as the bottom. Of course, with a smaller quantity of oil compared to the surface.
Step 3: Heat The Oiled Pan
Proceed to keep your pan inside the oven in an upside-down position. On the first rack of the oven, if possible. Let the cast iron be heated for about an hour at about 350 degrees.
Small pans should spend lesser time. About 20 minutes on your stove burner would suffice.
Step 4: Let It Cool and Store
Following the previous step, let your pan cool and store the cast iron pan in any dry place. This will allow your whole efforts to settle well enough. It’s better if you stack your iron pan on another pan.
In any case, placing a soft and dry cloth or paper towel in between will do the magic. It prevents seasoning from damaging.
How Can You Clean a Cast Iron Pan?
Asides from cracking, cast iron pan become rusty and get burnt. If this is the state of your pan, relax. We’ve come to proffer your solutions.
Burnt pans cleaning can start with the sprinkling of the salt on your pan’s surface. After that, get a soft and dry brush to clean every burnt stain off the pan. Plastic scrapers can be used if the brush fails to clean the stain.
Rusty pans cleaning is best done by using any detergent scrub. If you discovered that the rusting occurs in multiple places, you might need to get to seasoning over again.
What Can You Not Cook in Cast Iron?
Your iron pan isn’t a jack of all trade. There are certain meals it isn’t suitable for preparing, and we need to inform you, so you don’t make a mistake (again).
First, it isn’t suitable for smelly meals— some fish, Stinky cheese, garlic, pepper– because they tend to leave an aromatic smell in your pan that contaminates the next meal you prepare.
Also, you need to be careful while preparing an acidic substance. Poor washing may mean little particles will be leftover.
Benefits of Utilizing a Cast Iron Pan
Although iron pans crack yet, there are many reasonable grounds to support cast iron Pans’ usage. Some of them are identified below;
1. They Provide Even Cooking Temperature
Compared to other pans, cast iron pans are heavy, which qualifies them as good heat conductors. This gives an advantage when preparing certain meals like stew compared to ordinary cooking pans.
2. They’re Easy to Clean
If you hate to see your kitchen in a mess, you may consider a cast iron pan. It doesn’t allow food to stick to its pan. Once you’re done cooking, let your pan warm a bit, put inside cold water afterward, and scrape off food particles as quickly as you can.
3. They’re Affordable
Its prices are not so high even though it is strong in quality and can last for years. If Compared to stainless steel and a host of other pans, it is affordable.
Your cast iron pans are more susceptible to cracks than you imagine. A lot of things we do are the catalysts for these cracks. In this article, we have identified them so you can avoid them. Even more, we have shown you how to fix them.
So, get the right to fixing your pan if you have a problem with it.