Seasoning Cast Iron 101
My cast iron pans are work horses in my kitchen, they last a lifetime and cooks everything evenly. I pick up my pans at my local neighborhood hardware store for less than $25 each. They don’t take a lot of care after the initial seasoning and can last a lifetime if you take proper care of them.
When you get a new cast iron pan, you’ll need to season it. What is seasoning? Seasoning is simply oil baked onto the iron that prevents rust and helps the finish be non stick. Seasoning can refer to both the initial finish of the cookware as well as the ongoing process of maintaining that finish.
How to season a new pan:
Wash with super hot water with a steel pad and a tiny bit of dish soap - this will be the only time you’ll use soap on your cast iron. After washing, use a paper towel or a clean soft rag and wipe a thin layer of vegetable oil. solid shortening or even coconut oil (as a friend on Instagram recommended) all over including the bottom of the pan and place in upside down on a aluminum foil lined cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for an hour or so, turn off the oven and leave in until cool.
You can start to use it after this and repeat the seasoning process every 6 months to a year. To clean after after using, I use this chain mail cast iron scrubber to clean the inside with super hot water and after each cleaning, I quickly wipe the inside with vegetable oil. Doing this helps keep the pan non stick for whatever I want to cook.
If you want to recondition an old pan that has rusted, it’s a similar process to seasoning a new pan. Use a steel pad with hot soapy water to remove the rust before coating with a thin layer of oil and placing in the oven.
I use my cast iron for everything from grilling steaks and vegetables to baking. Taking good care of them will insure that they will last a lifetime.