Seasoning Cast Iron Pans
Cast iron cookware is treasured by chefs for its durability, heat retention and versatile use. It can be used on the stove top, in the oven, outdoors on the grill or even right on a fire when camping. It will fry, grill, roast, saute', stew or bake!
Cooks unfamiliar with its use are intimidated because they think it's hard to clean and maintain but I find it just the opposite. I have cast iron cookware from my grandparents, pieces I bought over 30 years ago and some treasured specialty pans I've received as gifts. Seasoned properly and with a little care, cast iron is a true non-stick surface that doesn't put toxic fumes in the air the way teflon pans can do.
Cleaning: New pans are best cleaned with as little detergent as possible, but once they're well-used you can clean them just as you would any other pan. Avoid putting hot cast iron into cold water as this can cause cast iron to warp or crack. If something sticks to the surface, dislodge it by simply using a spoon while cleaning. While pan is still warm from washing, apply a fine coating of cooking oil or spray oil on all surfaces.
If metallic taste or signs of rust are noticed, simply wash with hot, soapy water. Scour off the rust, and then reseason your cookware.
Store your cast iron cookware in a cool dry location. If storing with lid, place a paper towel between the lid and base to allow circulation of air.
Seasoning: This is a simple process of oil absorbing into into the pores of your iron cookware leaving a black, nonstick surface. The very best way to season your pan is to use it! The more you fry or bake in it the better the pan becomes.
Follow these instructions if your cast iron cookware ever requires reseasoning.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Wash cast iron with hot, soapy water, and a stiff brush. Rinse and dry.
3. Completely coat inside and outside surfaces with melted vegetable oil or shortening (some people prefer lard or bacon fat).
4. Place cookware on middle rack for 30 minutes. Remove cookware and wipe it almost dry to prevent pooling of shortening or oil. Place back in oven for another 30 minutes