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How to Season a Cast Iron Pan

Posting date: 28th September 2007 15:21

Seasoning A New Cast-Iron Pan

The purpose of seasoning is to build up an even, non-stick surface on your frying pan or other cookware. So don't confuse with salt and pepper which I did when I first heard the term!

Many cooks prefer to season pans rather than use a non stick surface like Teflon because Teflon should not be over heated - partly because this can damage the non-stick but also because some believe poisonous fumes are given off at high temperatures.

The surface of a new cast-iron pan is porous and has tiny, jagged peaks. It is these that you need to "smooth" out. Oil is used to fill the cavities and round off the peaks./p>

  • 1. Rub a thin layer of oil or lard on the pan (including the outside)
  • 2. Heat the pan for about 20 mins in a preheated 250 degree oven
  • 3. Pour off an extra oil you can
  • 4. Return to the oven and let it cook for at least 1 hour (preferably 2 hours)
  • 5. Take out and let it cook down

Cast iron pans will need period re-seasoning. Do this whenever the food starts to stick repeatedly or when you are getting a metallic taste. This means that the oil surface has broken down and water is getting to the iron and causing rust.

To re-season a pan, you need to thoroughly wash it and remove all food and oil residue. If necessary e.g. you have patches of rust, you can use an abrasive scourer. Once thoroughly clean, follow the instructions above.

Advice varies as to whether you should wash your pan with water once it is seasoned. Some swear by just wiping out the food, heating up the pan again with some oil, waiting until it smokes and then (when cool enough!) wiping it out again. This will kill the germs and avoid water getting to the pan. Others suggesting washing your pans briefly with a little soapy water, then rinsing and thoroughly drying. I must say I opt for the latter!

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