The Easy Trick To Prevent Scratches On Your Cast Iron Pans

Professional chefs know a thing or two about cooking and most would probably agree that cookware can make or break the end results plated out to waiting diners. More than a few stand by their tried-and-true cast iron pans, pots, woks, and skillets and for good reason. Cast iron is one of the most reliable and durable materials to work with in the kitchen, providing even heat distribution for searing, simmering, roasting, frying, baking, braising your favorite dishes, according to multiple chef and food-industry consultations with NBC News.

New Orleans chef Michael Gulotta, co-owner of MOPHO and Maypop eateries, notes that cast iron cookware also works on most types of heating surfaces, per NBC. Rather than being constructed with stainless steel or aluminum like many modern pots and pans, cast iron cookware is "cast" from iron and molten steel. This results in a single solid piece of kitchenware that Bridget Lancaster of "America's Test Kitchen" deems indestructible and cookbook author Grace Young calls a kitchen workhorse (per NBC).

With all that folks-in-the-know endorsement, you may think that cast iron would be extraordinarily expensive or finicky beyond the scope of everyday home cooking. Neither of those is true. But to get the best performance and longevity out of your beloved cast iron kitchen companions, there are a few things to keep in mind as well as one surprisingly simple maintenance trick to prevent scratching.

Easy does it with cast iron storage

It's a complete myth that cast iron pans are delicate and require special pampering. In fact, the exact opposite is true, which is why many a home kitchen proudly showcases great grandma's cast iron skillet used for frying chicken or sizzling up her special cornbread. They last for generations; even more than a century with routine maintenance, according to Better Home & Gardens. And that maintenance includes proper storage for the next round of cooking. Without the space or inclination for elaborate hanging racks and commercial pan protectors, the easiest trick for preventing scratches on your growing collection of cast iron treasures is layering each one with a paper towel.

MasterClass recommends nesting smaller cast iron pieces inside larger ones with paper towels covering the bottom of each pan. This keeps cookware clean while preventing heavy pieces from scratching their nesting neighbors. The paper towels also absorb moisture accumulation to prevent rust or corrosion. Remember that even small bits of leftover food can harbor moisture, so be sure to dry completely after cleaning. MasterClass also suggests heating pans in the oven or stovetop for thorough drying before storage. Proximity to moisture-prone areas also matters, so store as far away from sinks and cooktops as possible to reduce moisture from steam, splashes, and spills.

So there you have it: The humble paper towel provides an inexpensive solution for protecting cast iron cookware until your next culinary kitchen adventure.