Since every kitchen is beautiful and quirky and possesses it's own special personality, I hate nothing more than when a worthy kitchen is neglected and stocked with poorly cared for pots, pan and knives. My biggest pet peeves are dull knives and rusty cast iron skillets.
Please, please, please for the sake of the next cook in your kitchen, sharpen your knives regularly (yes, at least every six months depending on the volume of use) and season your cast iron skillet after every. single. use. Yes, every single time you use it!! How?
WASH YOUR PAN vigorously with hot water to remove all the lingering leftover food bits. Steel wool sponges and super course salt work best for actually getting everything off of your cast iron. Trust me - this technique will change your life.
Once your cast iron skillet is completely cleaned, DRY IT OVER LOW HEAT on the stove until all of the water is fully evaporated.
TURN OFF THE HEAT AND POUR about one tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Using a paper towel, spread the olive oil over the entire surface of the pan, lathering the sides as well as the handle. Let it sit until the pan fully cools down, letting the extra oil be absorbed by the cast iron.
WIPE DOWN ANY REMAINING OIL with a second clean paper towel
REPEAT every single time you use your cast iron skillet and store as desired.
After the first couple of times of seasoning your cast iron, be sure to avoid cooking anything super acidic in your cast iron skillet -- this includes tomatoes, vinegars, wine and citrus. If you eventually get a really well-seasoned skillet it'll be able to handle the occasional exposure to the acidic things.
I hope this simple cleaning and storing process helps you the next time you want a beautifully cooked steak in your cast iron skillet. The more consistently you season your skillet, the easier it'll become to clean after each use.
xoxo & bon appétit