Post # 133 KP Duty, Again!

June 26, 2013 at 4:11 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Okay, so here’s the post that I was going to do last time, but didn’t.  And btw, the problem hasn’t disappeared.  It’s just changed.  First, though, let me give out a great big YIPPEE! for the Supreme Court rulings today.  Okay, on to the real blog.

We all have things in the kitchen we don’t like doing and apparently mine is doing dishes.  I’m lucky because about 98% of my stuff goes into the dishwasher and is no real hassle.  BUT as you may recall from past posts, I have a few items that can’t be blithely stuffed into a machine shooting jets of scalding water and soap around.  In most kitchens, these items are: wood, cast iron, and silver.  In mine, it’s just wood and cast iron.  I do have a precious metal, but I’ll talk about that at the end.

Silver/Precious metals:  Most silver and gold utensils now are electroplated and not solid.  However, all silver and most precious metals will oxidize over time.  Oxidize is just a fancy name for rust.  Rust is that ugly powdery stuff that occurs when metal is broken down by water and oxygen.  The one most people are familiar with is the orange one on iron, but all metals will oxidize over time if not treated properly.  With silver and other precious metals, it’s easy to take care of.  Wash the item gently with warm water and gentle soap until it’s clean.  Rinse thoroughly, then towel dry completely.  Some people polish the silver once a week, some once a month.  It really doesn’t matter if the item is stored, but if it’s on display, it needs to be polished as often as it tarnishes.  There are lots of different ways to polish silver, but the tried and true method is using a reputable silver polish.  Never apply to the item.  Put a little on the rag, and start wiping.  It’s going to take some elbow grease and time, but soon the item will sparkle like new.  There are other ways, “old wives tales” about using baking soda, or aluminum foil, but that will leave scratches and mar the surface.

Wood:  In my kitchen, I have wood spoons, wood bowls, wood cutting boards, wood tongs.  I like wood.  (My lap desk is bamboo.)

wood

We also have a ton of wood furniture and antiques.  Wood takes special care in the kitchen.  Like silver, it must be washed by hand and dried thoroughly.  However, wood reacts to water.  Many people think you buy wood for the kitchen and plan on throwing it away after some time.  You don’t have to.  One way wood reacts to water is to swell.  The fibers get wet, they swell, but they don’t always swell uniformly.  Eventually, the wood feels a little soft and fuzzy.  Simply sand it lightly with a fine grit sandpaper and let it dry.  Eventually it will get seasoned and stop swelling.  Once in a while, you may need to oil your utensils.  Always use a food grade mineral oil.  Never ever use vegetable oil of any kind.  Never.  I can’t stress it enough.  Don’t do it.  Am I getting through?  Do you understand?  Never!  Vegetable oil will spoil and go rancid.  If that happens, throw it away or use it in the fireplace.  That includes olive oil.  Some people say olive oil won’t spoil, but it does.  Two tips:  If you’re making salad in a wood bowl, cut a clove of garlic in half and rub the bowl.  It will pick up the flavor of the garlic and lightly transfer it to the salad.  If your cutting board has got so many gouges it can’t be used, take it to a wood shop and have it sanded smooth, or do it yourself.  Once it’s sanded, rub it down with a food grade mineral oil and you have a new cutting board.  Never let your wood utensils soak in water.  They can warp and be destroyed.

Cast Iron:  This is one of my favorite materials.  It’s been used for hundreds of years and soaks up and transmits heat effectively and evenly throughout its surfaces.  It holds heat longer than most other materials, too.  It cooks evenly, cleanly, and wonderfully.  My mom had a cast iron skillet that was huge and had a matching lid.  Most of the time, she fried chicken in it, and it made the best fried chicken you ever had.  I don’t know what happened to it, but I think one of my brother’s wives inherited it.  (If any of them are reading this and don’t want that skillet/lid anymore, I’ll be happy to take it off your hands.)  We have several pans and griddles, as well as a few pots and specialty shaped pans.

cast iron

 

Cast iron will last for lifetimes if treated properly.  And treating it properly is ridiculously easy.  The first thing to remember is never use soap on it.  The second thing to remember is when using water on it, dry it completely (not using direct heat) to avoid that whole rust thing.  Once the piece is dried, protect it from rust over the long term by spreading a thin layer of oil over its entire surface.  What I do is put a tablespoon of vegetable oil on it and use a paper towel to rub the oil into the metal.  Periodically, you’ll want to “season” your cast iron implements.  This is easy.  Spread oil over all surfaces and place in a cold oven face down.  Line your oven with aluminum foil to catch drips.  Turn your oven on its highest setting and allow it to heat up with the cast iron inside.  Bake the cast iron for fifteen to twenty minutes, then turn the oven off.  Allow the cast iron to cool down COMPLETELY before handling.  This will help build up the black patina that allows cooking without food sticking.  An alternative to cleaning cast iron without water is to wait for the cast iron to cool down to warm to the touch.  Pour a half cup of regular table salt into it and use several paper towels to scrub it out without water.  Once all the food residue has been loosened and easy to remove, use more paper towels to wipe the salt and residue into the trash.  Dry steel wool will also accomplish the same thing.  Just make certain you’re using steel wool that doesn’t have soap in it.

Hope you enjoyed this foray into KP.  One more post of this, and I’ll move on to other topics.  Enjoy!!

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3 Comments

  1. Hate to disagree with the kp master, but I’ve used both mineral oil and vegetable oil on wood utensils — nothing’s ever gone rancid on me. And I put my cast iron on a verrrry low heat after washing and before oiling…. so there’s my two cents for now. 🙂

    • KP Master? I like that. And respectfully, just cuz you’ve done it, doesn’t mean you’ve done it right. nyahh.

      • Well, I’m also claiming kp master rank. Therefore, I say to you that your paths are not the only paths. Nyahh right back atcha.


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