How to season and care for cast iron cookware
You have a frying pan that came from your mother, and before your grandmother, and now it has fallen into your hands. So how do you care for it, use it, clean it, and give it the best possible flavor? I hope to answer some of these questions in this article.
I love my cast iron pans, inherited from my mother; I remember using them to make delicious fried chicken dinners, cornbread to go with our Great Northern beans, and the best popcorn. The only thing I don’t remember is what he did to make those pans look good. I remember slowly drying them on the stove and then covering them with some kind of grease. Now we would use a thin layer of cooking oil or skillet spray.
This is called seasoning and is important in the care and use of cast iron to prevent oxidation and create a natural non-stick cooking surface. Even if your legacy Dutch oven or skillet has been neglected and rusted, you can restore them by seasoning them again.
The more you use your cast iron, the better it will cure. A shiny black skillet is a well-seasoned utensil and will taste the best. Seasoning is made for both the inside and outside of the cast iron, and the lid needs to be seasoned as well. Here’s a tip to make your cast iron shine again: fry bacon and similar fatty meats. It will help it cure faster and give you that glossy black nonstick interior you’re working for.
Here are the steps to seasoning your cast iron cookware.
1. First wash with warm soapy water and a stiff brush.
2. Rinse and dry
3. Apply a thin layer of butter both inside and outside
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line grill with aluminum foil to catch drips.
5. Place the pot upside down on the top rack of the oven and cook for one hour.
6. Allow skillet to cool before removing from oven.
7. Store in a cool, dry place and allow air to circulate around it.
8. Never wash in the dishwasher.
After using cast iron, rinse with warm water without soap. Dry well and coat with a layer of cooking oil, grease, or skillet spray.