Cast iron cookware heats slowly and evenly, and holds heat well. It is ideal for fried foods, stews, and soups. But it rusts easily, so a new pot or pan should be seasoned before use, even though labeled “preseasoned.” Scrub it thoroughly; coat the inside thinly and evenly with melted, unsalted shortening or salad oil (not olive oil, which may leave a taste). Set the pot in a 325 to 350F oven for 2 hours. When it is cool, wipe off the excess oil, rinse the pot, and dry it on a burner set at low heat.
After each use, wipe cast iron with a damp cloth or paper towel. Dry it immediately. If charred food adheres to it, scour it with coarse dry salt. To remove caked-on food or rust, scour in soapy water; rinse, dry, and reseason.
Store cast iron cookware in a dry place, leaving the lids off to allow trapped moisture to escape; place paper towels between stacked pots. Do not store food in cast iron.