How to Season a New Cast-Iron Fry Pan

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How to Season a New Cast-Iron Fry Pan

All new cast-iron pots and skillets have a protective coating on them, which must be removed. American companies use a special food-safe wax; imports are covered with a water-soluble shellac. In either case, scrub the item with a scouring pad, using soap and the hottest tap water you can stand.

Here's how to season a new cast-iron fry pan, courtesy of whatscookingamerica.net:

The surfaces of a new cast-iron pan are porous and have microscopic jagged peaks. When you purchase new cast iron cookware, they are gunmetal gray (silver) in color, but after using them, they start turning darker until they are very black. This is normal and should be expected.

Avoid buying cast iron pans or skillets with wooden handles; these are useless for oven cooking. Season a pan by rubbing it with oil, solid vegetable shortening, bacon grease or lard. Heat it for 30 to 60 minutes in a 300 degree oven and then let it cool to room temperature. Repeat this process several times to create a stronger "seasoning" bond. Some experts say food-grade coconut oil/butter also works great.

By seasoning a new pan, the cooking surface develops a nonstick quality because the formerly jagged and pitted surface becomes smooth. Also, because the pores are permeated with oil, water cannot seep in and create rust that would give food an off-flavor. Never put cold liquid into a very hot cast iron pan or oven. They will crack on the spot!

Be careful when cooking with your cast-iron pots on an electric range, because the burners create hot spots that can warp cast iron or even cause it to crack. Be sure to preheat the iron very slowly when using an electric range and keep the settings to medium or even medium-low.

It is important to realize that unless you use your cast-iron pans daily, they should be washed briefly with a little soapy water and then rinsed and thoroughly dried in order to rid them of excess surface oil. If you do not do this, the surplus oil will become rancid within a couple of days.

Remember: every time you cook in your cast-iron pan, you are actually seasoning it again by filling in the microscopic pores and valleys that are part of the cast-iron surface. The more you cook, the smoother the surface becomes!

   

Comments

9/21/2006 12:09:12 AM
omniphile said:

Excellent tip for a non-professional (but very interested) cook. I have done it this way with the last 2 pans cast-iron pans I got, and it works a treat! I can't see any reason to go back to the old "non-stick coated" frying pans I used to own since it seems properly treated and seasoned cast iron pans work even better (and are about half the price).


9/21/2006 12:15:23 AM
omniphile said:

Excellent tip for a non-professional (but very interested) cook. I have done it this way with the last 2 pans cast-iron pans I got, and it works a treat! I can't see any reason to go back to the old "non-stick coated" frying pans I used to own since it seems properly treated and seasoned cast iron pans work even better (and are about half the price).




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