Cast Iron Use & Care Tips

cooking pancakes on the cast iron simmering plate of the AGA

The Beauty of Cooking with Cast Iron

Cast iron, as you know, is the world’s best cooking medium.  From cast iron skillets to large Dutch ovens, cast iron provides even radiant heat cooking foods to perfection.  Now make an entire range using this wonderful cast iron and you have the AGA.  The AGA cast iron range has solid cast iron ovens as well as cast iron hotplates.  Despite what many think, cast iron use & care tips are quite simplistic.

Lack of care, or improper care, of cast iron will lead to rust – especially the new generation AGA cast iron ranges, such as the AGA Total Control or AGA Dual Control.  When the range is purchased, and cooked upon often, when rust appears we fail to reflect back that each oven and hotplate is solid cast iron. Just like any true cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, the AGA needs to be cared for and maintained.

Moisture will naturally be trapped when cooking in an AGA – as we say, the AGA keeps the moisture in the foods – well, excessive moisture may stay within the AGA after cooking high-moisture content foods.  When an AGA Total Control or Dual Control is turned off, if excessive moisture is left in the oven, essentially, on the cast iron, it will rust.  A cast iron skillet would rust just the same if water was left in or on the skillet.

Cast Iron Use & Care Tips

Some tips to prevent an AGA Total Control or AGA Dual Control from rusting after use:

  • When turning off, be sure to wipe out excess moisture with a dry cloth once the oven has cooled.
  • In areas with excessive moisture, usually near the doors, be sure to wipe down after use.
  • When cleaning the AGA with your wire brush, be sure to remove any excess food particulars, or carbon ash, then lightly coat the cast iron with Coconut, or Grapeseed, oil.
  • In areas where rust may begin to appear, feel free to wire brush off residue then coat with a small amount of Coconut, or Grapeseed, oil.
  • After cooking, instead of turning the AGA off right away, leave it on for an hour or two longer to help “dry” the ovens; however, wiping away excess moisture near the doors will stilAGA cast iron ranges are recyclable AGA Sustainability in actionl prove helpful.

Additional cast iron use & care tips:  When using oil on the Boiling Plate and the Roasting oven, do not use any other oil than Grapeseed oil, as it has one of the lowest smoke points having a heat index of 485°F.

The reason the traditional cooker didn’t show as much rust as the new generation is because the traditional AGA cookers were on all the time.  Over time, any excess moisture would dry or evaporate, preventing the cast iron from staying in contact with moisture for any long period of time.  The new generation, although much better suited for today’s consumer, will require the removal of excessive moisture after turning off – or customers may choose to leave their AGA on for longer, extended periods of time.

For more cast iron use & care tips, visit our Cleaning A Cast Iron Range blog.

Translate UK Measurements

Those of us in North America, who take pride creating various English recipes on their AGA cast iron range, realize we need to translate UK measurements or run the risk of ruining our culinary creation.  This is especially true when it comes to baking in your AGA cast iron range!  British cookbook mavens Mary Berry and Amy Wilcock have filled AGA cookbooks with some of the best recipes you will find anywhere – from the simple and basic to the elaborate and festive. Some of their English terms can be a bit of a mystery…

Here is a quick guide to translate UK cooking measurements into North American terms when using any AGA cookbook.

Translate UK Measurements:

In Britain, one pint holds 20 ounces. Here, a pint holds 16 ounces.  So for any liquid amount referred to in pints, either measure the milliliter amount in parentheses in the recipe, or use this simple conversion chart:

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Other Measurements:

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As mentioned above, some of the English terms used in AGA cookbooks can be a bit of a mystery.  To help you understand terms such as “rasher”, “mutton” and “sultanas”, we have created a list of British terminology often used to help make cooking on your AGA cast iron range with one of our beloved AGA cookbooks more enjoyable!  With this guide, we will help you blend culinary cultures and get you well on your way to wowing your friends and family the AGA-way!

Meats, Fish and Poultry

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Fruits and Vegetables

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Dairy

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Sugars and Sweeteners

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Flours and Baking

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Miscellaneous Ingredients

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Odds and Ends

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For more questions regarding recipes, cookware or how each cast iron AGA oven functions, feel free to contact AGA Kitchen Concierge at 800-525-5601.

AGA Servicers Love AGA Cast Iron Ranges

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We loved reading a press release recently published written about an appliance dealer owner who recently attended our AGA training session.  Not only is the training an intricate part of what we do at AGA, it was wonderful to see AGA Servicers love AGA cast iron ranges!

Each year, AGA makes it a point to send UK Product Specialists to its North American headquarters in Greenville, Michigan for a week long training session.  Installers and servicers throughout the US and Canada fly into Michigan for this essential AGA training.  Bill Cummins, owner of Appliance Master of Central New Jersey said it best

The design and quality of these units is so vastly different, and in my opinion superior, from anything built in the US that this training is absolutely essential. The heavy-duty cast iron construction enables highly efficient energy storage. Food is cooked by surprisingly gentle radiated heat from this large mass. Extremely even temperatures make for a unique cooking experience.

Our goal is to ensure those installing and servicing your AGA cast iron ranges have been personally trained by AGA personnel.  As the AGA evolves further into the 21st century by providing more fuel and cooking options this training becomes more and more valuable to our servicers, or as we like to call them, our extended family.  To read the full press release, Click here.

If you are an AGA owner and would love your AGA cast iron range cleaned, serviced or maintained, Click Here to locate a Service Company nearest you.

Basic AGA Cooking Instructions

Owning your first AGA is a true joy!  So you can dive right in and begin preparing delicious meals, we have put together delicious AGA Cooking Instructions.  Whether it is meat, fish or pasta, these helpful cooking tips help you understand where to start and which oven to use.

Chicken:

For that very first meal on the AGA, we suggest a whole roasting chicken. Just put the chicken in a small AGA roasting tin or baking tray and season with garlic, aga cooking instructions basic stepslemon, rosemary or other seasonings you prefer. We like to place the garlic and lemon under the skin! Put the chicken on the floor of the Roasting Oven for about 40 minutes. If you want to slow your cooking time, simply transfer the chicken to your Simmering Oven after the first 20 minutes. You may also hold your cooked chicken in the Simmering or Warming Oven without drying it out. Serve with rice and a vegetable and everyone will know why you bought your AGA!

For chicken breasts, marinate or season as desired. Preheat a grill pan in the Roasting Oven and place on the Boiling Plate. Add the chicken and quickly sear both sides. Put the chicken on a rack in a small roasting tin or baking tray and place in the Roasting Oven for 8 – 10 minutes to finish.

Beef:

Beef tenderloin is an all-time favorite. A 4-pound tenderloin will take about 30-40 minutes in the Roasting Oven. Remove when a meat thermometer reaches 110 degrees (meat will continue to cook 10 – 15 degrees after it is removed from the oven). Rest on the Warming Tray for 15 minutes and you’ll have delicious medium rare beef. The tenderloin can also be started in the Roasting Oven and moved to the Baking or Simmering Oven to finish depending on your schedule.

Individual steaks are easily seared in the grill pan on the Boiling Plate and moved into the Roasting Oven. Hamburgers can go directly into the Roasting Oven and never need to be turned.

Fish:

To bake fish, wrap in aluminum foil or parchment paper and season to taste (we like lemon and dill). Bake in the Roasting Oven for 15 – 20 minutes, depending on the size of the fish.

Poach fish by putting it in an AGA roasting pan or a fish poacher and covering it with liquid and seasonings. Bring it to a boil on the Boiling Plate, cover, and transfer to the Simmering Oven. Allow ten minutes per pound.

We fry fish on the floor of the Roasting Oven. Heat a grill pan in the Roasting Oven and then simply add the fish to the hot pan.

making perfect rice on the AGARice and Pasta:

For delicious rice every time, bring water and rice to a boil on the Boiling Plate. Use 1 part rice and 2 parts water. Cover and put in the Simmering Oven. Two cups of rice will be ready in 20 – 30 minutes, but can be left for up to an hour. If you need to hold it longer, remove from the pot and place in a room temperature bowl. Add herbs and enjoy!

Pasta is quick and easy. Follow package directions for amount of water and pasta. Bring the water to a boil on the Boiling Plate, add salt (after it has started boil) then add the pasta. Cook to a la dente. To keep warm until ready to serve, drain the pasta and place it back in the pot. Toss with good olive oil until thoroughly coated. Then place in the Warming Oven for up to 30 minutes.

AGA Cooking Tips

Below are several of our most popular AGA Cooking Tips to help guide you in the kitchen!  These tips are for all cast iron AGA ranges.

The Aga Cooker Rule Number One — if it takes more than 5-6 minutes, use the ovens! To take full advantage of radiant heat, only use the top hotplates for aga cooking tips for all cast iron aga rangesstarting foods. Use the Roasting Oven for frying, grilling and sautéing.

For energy conservation and safety – Remember to keep the hotplate lids down as soon as you’ve finished cooking.

Timing food – AGA owners love the West Bend Triple Timer which will time foods in three ovens at once! Since food cooking in the ovens doesn’t omit any smell inside the house, a timer can be your best friend and has saved many fabulous creations from being forgotten. Also, consider keeping a stash of bright post-it notes in the kitchen and placing them on the oven door as a reminder of the food in the oven.

For the fastest cooking time – Cookware with a thick, flat bottom works best as it ensures complete contact with the hotplates. Cookware with flat lids and recessed handles also allows you to stack pots in the oven, helping you get the most of your oven space. We carry cookware specifically designed to be used on the AGA.

When removing food from the ovens – Be sure to open the door all the way or use a set of mitts      that go up to the elbow. The cooker is so well insulated that it doesn’t  lose heat with the door open and the longer mitts will keep you from  inadvertently touching the hot insides or the doors of the ovens.

Careful, hot!  Be cautious when handling pot handles and lids as they will be hot when they come out of the oven. Always use a pan handle cover or a pot holder. And since we often put plates and serving dishes in the cooker to keep them warm before serving, be sure to warn children and guests.

Quick and easy coffee – Find a new home for your coffee maker and purchase a French press. Simply bring water to boil on the Boiling Plate, pour it over your coarsely ground coffee and steep for a minute or two before using the plunger. Voila, a great cup of cof­fee! Keep your freshly brewed coffee warm by placing it on the Warming Tray or in between the hotplates.

Toast three ways – If you prefer your toast soft on the inside, try toasting it directly on the Simmering Plate. For toast that is dry all the way through, preheat your toaster on the Boiling Plate. Insert your bread into the toaster and return to the Boiling Plate, turning over once. Toast can also be done in the roasting oven on a baking tray – and you won’t even need to turn it over!

To loosen jar lids – Place them lid-down on the Simmering Plate for 30 seconds, cover with a cloth and unscrew.

Simmering oven tip – Make sure not to completely cover the entire bottom of the simmering oven with your pans or sheets, but rather place them on the lower runner. This tip only applies to this oven.

Cleaning a Cast Iron AGA Range

CARING FOR YOUR CAST IRON AGA RANGE

An AGA is very easy to keep clean, particularly if you don’t allow it to become dirty! Enjoy several helpful tips to clean and care for your cast iron AGA range:

Ovens
The Roasting and Baking oven merely needs to be brushed out occasionally with your wire brush. The Hotplates and Slow Cook oven may be cleaned with a stiff brush and a damp cloth. The ovens within the Hotcupboard and Integrated Module may be cleaned with a damp, soapy cloth. DO NOT use ‘oven cleaners’.

Vitreous Enamel
If spills have become baked on to the enamel, use a soap-filled pad, not too coarse, so as to avoid scratching the enamel. All that is needed to keep the vitreous enameled surfaces bright and clean is a daily rub over with a damp cloth and, maybe, a little soapy water, followed by a clean, dry duster. Do NOT use a steam cleaner to clean your cast iron AGA range.

Do not use harsh detergents. Only wipe with a damp cloth. If milk or fruit juice, or anything containing acid, is spilt on the vitreous enamel, be sure to wipe off immediately. Also, clean off any condensation streaks on the front plate around oven doors, or the vitreous enamel may be permanently discolored.

Insulated Covers & Doors AGA Chrome Cleaner SAG-W3068
The linings of the insulated lids and oven doors may be cleaned with a soap pad. The doors may be lifted off to make cleaning easier, but don’t get them mixed up. Do NOT immerse the doors in water as they are packed with insulating material and will be damaged by excessive moisture and submersion.

The polished insulating lids and handrail can be cleaned with a damp soapy cloth, followed by a wet cloth, finishing by polishing with a clean dry cloth. For stains attracted to the underside of the insulated cover, Krud Kutter works splendidly to remove stains and getting the insulated cover to shine like new!

Hotplates
If liquids boil over or spill over around the hotplates, disappearing under the top plate, don’t worry, they will soon evaporate without damage. Like the cast iron ovens, the cast iron hotplates may be cleaned with your stiff wire brush, a damp cloth and a bit of oil for re-seasoning.

AGA offers a variety of cleaning and care products made specifically for the cast iron AGA range. Click HERE to view.