Friday, October 03, 2014

Seasoning a Cast Iron Pan

I love a cast iron pan. It's something that is not only great to cook with but will last a lifetime and hold lots of memories (at least for me). You do, however, want to be sure you care for these pans properly as they are very different then the non stick pans so many of us use.

You will need:

Lard, vegetable oil or shortening
Paper towels
Tin foil

Before you start be sure your skillet is clean and dry.  If needed, use a mild dish soap and gentle scraper to clean the pan.  Be sure it is dry before you proceed.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

With paper towel, apply the lard, vegetable oil or shortening all round the inside and outside of the pan.

Place skillet upside down on the ovens center rack being sure to place foil under the rack to catch the drips. Bake for 1 hour and allow to completely cool before removing from the oven.  That's it!

To clean your skillet, put under hot water while the pan is still hot (the water will sizzle so be careful).  Swirl the water around the pan and use a stiff nylon brush or spatula to scrape off any residual food.  NEVER USE SOAP!  Use this technique to re season anytime your pan starts to loose its luster.


1 comment:

  1. whoa... when I first looked at your picture (just reading, not looking), I didn't see that the foil was sitting in the broiler pan underneath the skillet. All I could think of was:

    Oil + oven heating element/gas flame = FIRE!

    But looking at it again, I think I see the broiler pan underneath the foil. You might want to note that in your written instructions.

    Here's my recipe for taking care of your cast iron. If you buy new, follow manufacturer's directions to season. If you buy used/garage sale, then follow Lucy's instructions of using a scrubbie/stiff nylon brush, but put the pan on the stove after rinsing, and heat skillet until all water is evaporated. Go back to Lucy's instructions, and put the foil in a jelly roll pan or broiler pan (big enough to cover any drips falling out of skillet).

    Once seasoned, remember to ALWAYS heat the skillet before adding *anything to it* -- including oil. Iron is porous when cold, and heating it up first allows the iron to close up and make it's "nonstick" solid surface. Otherwise, the food gets into those tiny pores and a jackhammer is needed to get it out (just joking). Also never spray PAM into a cast iron skillet that isn't heated first. PAM has some stuff in it to make it airborne, and that stuff can get in the pores, too. Just heat up your cast iron, turn off the heating element off, spray your PAM, and then turn the heat back on, and cook immediately!

    I keep a container of kosher or rock salt on my stovetop, and once I'm done cooking with my cast iron skillet, I remove the food, and anything else that can be scraped out, and I pour the kosher/rock salt in, take a paper towel, and scrub the inside of the skillet. Rinse it well with water, and heat the skillet back up on the stove until all water is evaporated. Then I wipe the pan down with a a paper towel with a touch of oil, and store it away until the next time... or leave it on the stove, since I use it almost every single day!