Seasoning a Cast Iron Skillet

I really like using my large cast-iron skillet. When I first bought it, I didn’t realize I would have to season it (this was before the seasoned versions came out). It sounded time-consuming, so I put it off for awhile. But when I finally took the time to do it, I discovered how easy it was! Pre-seasoned cast-iron pans are more expensive, so if you’re wanting to buy an unseasoned one and season it yourself, it’s pretty easy to do. Seasoning cast-iron cookware gives it a smooth, non-stick surface that continues to improve the more you use it. I came across some good tips on seasoning and caring for cast-iron cookware at the eHow website and MarthaStewart.com, where I also found this photo. MarthaStewart.com mentions how great it is for making roast chicken, upside-down cake, cornbread, and pizza (you can flip the pan over and use the bottom as a pizza stone…isn’t that a great idea?). I like making biscuits and gravy with my cast-iron skillet, too. Here are some helpful tips for seasoning and caring for cast-iron cookware…

SEASONING CAST IRON COOKWARE:

  • The first step is to wash your new cast-iron cookware using hot, soapy water. Then rinse and dry with a dish towel, and put in a 300-degree oven for a few minutes to completely dry (this prevents the pan from rusting). Remove pan from oven.
  • Pour about 1 Tbsp. of oil into the pan (or other cast-iron cookware item) and rub a thin coating of it over the entire surface with a paper towel. Place the pan in the 300-degree oven and leave it in for an hour; remove pan from oven.
  • Let pan cool a little, and wipe away any excess oil. Then let pan continue cooling to room temperature. Your pan will now be seasoned and ready to use!

CARING FOR CAST-IRON COOKWARE:

  • It’s best to clean cast iron while it is still warm and before food dries on it.
  • To clean your pan, you can sprinkle it with coarse salt, rub with paper towels, and then wipe, OR scrape with a nylon tool and then wipe. If stubborn food particles are stuck to the cookware, you can remove them with hot water and a nylon brush or scouring pad. NOTE: You are not supposed to use soap when cleaning cast iron, or soak it in water for long periods of time. Also, do not use metal utensils to scrape your cast iron pan when cleaning.
  • To remove burnt or dried food, put some water in the pan and boil on the stove for about 30 seconds to a minute (if you boil the water too long, it could damage the seasoning). Use a nylon brush to carefully clean the area where the food is stuck.
  • When the cookware is clean, dry the pan with a dish towel and then use a paper towel to apply a thin coat of oil to the inside cooking surface of the pan.
  • Don’t cook alcohol or acidic foods, such as tomato sauce, in your cast iron pan…they will eat away at your seasoned coating. If you happen to forget, though, you can just reseason your pan.

Linked to Favorite Things Saturday.