If you have just bought an expensive cast iron pan, then you will need to make sure that it will serve you for many years to come. In this article, we will show you how to season your pan to give it a non stick protective coating.
Why do you need to season your pan?
When you buy a cast iron pan or skillet, the pan surface does not have any kind of protection. Consequently, any moisture from cooking or washing up, combined with the heat, will cause iron oxide (commonly known as rust) to form. Usefulness Seasoning the pan will prevent rust and will stop your food from sticking.
Clean the pan
Before seasoning new or old cast iron cookware, it is necessary to thoroughly clean the cooking surface. Even enamel pans such as Le Crusset need to undergo the same process. Tips Use steel wool to clean the pan to prepare the cooking surface. This will clean away any old food or factory sealant (if the pan is new) and will expose the porous cast iron surface.
Preheat the oven
Heat the oven to 200 degrees and arrange the racks so that there is enough space.
Oil the pan
Seasoning the pan is possible through a process known as fat polymerisation. By rubbing the surface of the pan with a thin layer of oil, you allow the fat to penetrate the pores. This will form the non stick surface. It is best to use flaxseed oil, though any oil or fat will do.
Bake the pan for at least one hour
When the pan is oiled, bake it at 200C for one hour. After this, remove the pan and allow it to cool naturally. Remember: Do not run the pan under the tap to cool it. The oiling, baking and cooling cycle should be repeated 3 times for a new pan or just once if you are re-seasoning an old pan.
Cooking & Care
Your newly seasoned pan should be like a non stick pan. However, there are some rules to follow.
Never cook acidic ingredients like tomatoes or vinegar in it as this will degrade the seasoned finish. Similarly, when cleaning, do not use modern detergents. Wipe clean with kitchen paper, scrub with salted boiling water and re-oil after every use. Cast iron cookware is best suited to high fat frying of meats like bacon and sausages. If you look after your cast iron pots carefully, they will last for generations.