How to Season Your Cast Iron CookwareAug 25, 2001 Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line Season your cast iron cookware properly, and you will have them for a lifetime.
Cast iron cookware is wonderful. All my grandmothers had cast iron skillets and stove-top griddles, and I can still remember the delicious pancakes and fried potatoes that my grandmothers made.
My maternal grandmother gave me two cast iron skillets, one large and one small, as a wedding present 32 years ago. I'm still using both skillets and they still perform wonderfully.
There is a trick to maintaining cast iron cookware and that trick is known as "seasoning." Your food will never stick to the bottom of the skillet or pot is it is properly seasoned, and the cookware cleans up easily as well.
Cast iron cookware must be seasoned properly and it will last a life-time. My daughter has my grandmother's cast iron skillets, which must be 100 years old, and they are performing like new.
I have some tips on seasoning your cast iron cookware that I learned from my grandmothers. Read on, please.
Seasoning Cast Iron
I have never owned a piece of non-stick cookware because I have seasoned cast iron that is just as non-stick as any.
Heat the oven to 250 to 300 degrees F.
Coat the pan with a solid vegetable shortening--bacon grease or lard will work as well. Don't use a liquid vegetable oil because it will leave a sticky surface and the pan will not be properly seasoned.
Put the pan in the oven. In 15 minutes, remove the pan & pour out any excess grease. Place the pan back in the oven and bake for 2 hours.
Repeating this process several times is recommended as it will help create a stronger "seasoning" bond.
Also, when you put the pan into service, it is recommended to use it initially for foods high in fat, such as bacon or foods cooked with fat, because the grease from these foods will help strengthen the seasoning.
Pans needing Re-Seasoning
If the pan was not seasoned properly or a portion of the seasoning wore off and food sticks to the surface or there is rust, then it should be properly cleaned and re-seasoned.
Remove any food residue by cleaning the pan thoroughly with hot water and a metal spatula. Dry the pan immediately with dish towel or paper towel.
Season the pan as outlined above.
Caring for Cast Iron Cookware
Seasoning a cast iron pan is a natural way of creating non-stick cookware. And, like you cook and clean the modern non-stick cookware with special care to avoid scratching the surface, your cast iron cookware wants some special attention too.
Clean the cookware while it is still hot by rinsing with hot water and scraping when necessary. Do not use a scouring pad or soap (detergent) as they will break down the pan's seasoning.
Never store food in the cast iron pan as the acid in the food will breakdown the seasoning and take on a metallic flavor.
Store your cast iron cookware with the lids off, especially in humid weather, because if covered, moisture can build up and cause rust. Should rust appear, the pan should be re-seasoned.
When you purchase cast iron cookware, they are medium gray in color, but after using them, they start turning darker, until they are very black. This is normal and should be expected.
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