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What is a chainmail scrubber
A small piece of chainmail cut into a small square the size of a CD case. It’s relatively cheap cleaning tool that can be used to clean your cast iron cookware. They can be purchased for $3 from eBay or Amazon.
Chainmail is lots of rings attached together just like the chainmail of old. Exactly like the knights of the round table although this little square is unlikely going to protect you from an invading army.
The idea is to use the chainmail scrubber to clean cast iron or carbon steel cookware while preserving the top layer of seasoning.
What does a chain mail scrubber do?
A chain mail scrubber is used for two purposes. One is to aid in the seasoning process of new case iron cookware and the second is to gently clean old cookware without the need for aggressive scrubbing.
Chainmail on new cast iron
When you have a new piece of cast iron cookware, it is important to season it each time. You need to build up a good layer of seasoning, this is the process of rubbing oil into the cast iron. This provides a natural nonstick layer and can, over time, add to and improve the taste of our cooking. Read more about cast iron seasoning here.
By using a chainmail scrubber on new cast iron you can key the new cast iron enough so that the oil has spaces to fill and adhere to the metal. By doing this regularly before you season the piece, you are providing the oil an area to fill and stay. The idea is that by doing this you can season the pan quickly with more precision and consistency and create a stronger seasoning over time.
Chainmail on old cast iron
Just as I previously mentioned. Getting your cast iron seasoned takes time and is really important to the quality of your cooking with cast iron. Using soap on your cast iron can quickly destroy that hard-earned seasoning and time spent on curating the perfect seasoned skillet.
Using the chain mail to clean away the food gunk that is left after cooking over a campfire for example is a simple and effective way to clean it just using warm water. This preserves the longevity of the seasoning whilst also helping to clean the food left on the surface.
How to use the chainmail scrubber on cast iron cookware
Using a chain mail scrubber is the same if the cast iron is new or old.
By maintaining a circular motion you are creating a textured surface in a consistent pattern.
Avoid using to much pressure, the idea is to remove the food and gently key the surface. Not to scratch the layer on the cast iron skillet or dutch oven. If some of the food is difficult to remove, just spend a little bit more time scrubbing.
Cast iron cleaning tips
- Don’t use soap; this can remove the seasoning on the cast iron
- Dry your cast iron; most importantly keep the cast iron dry. This keeps the cast iron rust-free. Once you have cleaned it and dried with a towel. But it over some heat to burn away the remaining moisture.
- Dry the chainmail scrubber; heat the chainmail after cleaning to remove the moisture and stop the chainmail from getting rusty. Dry it over heat at the same time as the cast iron skillet or dutch oven.