Everyone knows that a cast iron pan or any other cookware made out of cast iron is extremely good for cooking delicious steak. However, most people fear buying one as they are pretty delicate and require a lot of maintenance than any other cookware.
Although cast iron cookware looks very tough and is extremely durable, it’s a kind of material that catches rust pretty easily. Well, don’t worry about that because you can save your cookware from getting rust or other damages if you season it well.
Seasoning is a process in which you treat the cookware with hardened oil so that it sits and creates a coat over the pan to prevent it from external damages. Well-seasoned cast-iron cookware can easily last for years staying in a perfect condition. Hence, if you don’t know how to properly season a cast iron cookware, this article is going to be quite helpful for you.
How To Season Cast Iron Cookware – Step by Step Process
Clean the Pan
The very first thing that everyone should be doing before starting the seasoning is to clean the pan completely. Although you will hear from most people that you should never use soap to clean the pan, that’s only true if the pan is not seasoned.
Since we do not want any dust to season on it along with the oil coating, you can simply wash your cast iron pan with plain water for now. Once the pan is seasoned well, you can use a little amount of soap if needed, otherwise, the plain water will just be good enough always if you want to keep your pan as new as possible.
Dry it thoroughly
Once you are done cleaning the pan with plain water, don’t let the water sit on the pan for long as it can result in a big mistake. As soon as you are done washing, immediately start to dry the cast iron cookware with a paper towel.
To be more sure about drying it thoroughly, you can put the pan on the flame as well. This will make the pan heat and the rest of the water will evaporate out completely. It is one of the most important parts of the process as we don’t want a single drop of water to be left on the pan. Otherwise, the whole process of seasoning can go wrong.
Rub Oil on the Pan
Next step for the seasoning is to pick the right oil for your cast iron cookware. Generally, Canola oil is the standard choice of most people who practice seasoning often as it is cheap, easily available, and delivers good results as well.
Although you don’t need to use canola oil only, you can simply go with any oil like vegetable oil, corn oil, or any fats can also do the job for you.
So, before you proceed to the next step, you should know that our main aim for this task is to put an oil coating on the cookware. Thus, rubbing the oil thoroughly on the inside and outside of the cast iron cookware is very important. It is necessary to create an even layer of oil and rub it until the pan starts to look non-greasy.
Put the Pan in Oven for Heat Treatment
For the last step, once the pan is ready and rubbed with oil perfectly, it’s time to apply some heat to the cookware. But we need to apply the heat evenly so putting it directly over the flame is not going to work. Thus, we will need to use an oven for this task.
Put the pan inside the oven upside down, and make sure to put some other pan beneath it to keep your oven grills safe from any oil stains. Once the pan is inside the oven, set the temperature to 400-450°F, and leave the pan there for at least an hour.
After one hour, you can turn off the oven and leave it to cool down for a while. Although if you are doing the process on an old cast iron pan, you can take out the pan, let it cool down, and again repeat the seasoning process by applying oil and heating again a few more times to set a thick good layer of oil on the pan.
What Is The Best Oil To Season Cast Iron With?
Generally, there is not any best oil particularly made for seasoning cast iron cookware. You can apply Canola Oil, any Vegetable Oil, Corn Oil, etc., whichever suits your budget and which is easily available to you. However, you should keep in mind that the oil should be organic and should not be containing any synthetic chemicals in it.
How To Care For Cast Iron
The main purpose of seasoning the cast iron cookware is to protect it from water damages. Although a freshly seasoned cast iron utensil is safe from water, with time, as you cook food in the pan, the layer of oil starts to worn out.
So, there are a few measures you can take to keep your seasoned cast iron cookware always protected. Although the pan becomes quite resilient after seasoning, water usually can’t stay on it. You must always check and keep it away from water too.
Some people make the mistake of soaking their cast iron cookware in water for a long time. You should not make this mistake and always keep your cast iron cookware as dry as possible.
Another mistake that people usually make is to simmer sauces in the pan which is wrong as sauces are usually acidic in nature which can cause damage to the seasoning layer of your cast iron cookware. By avoiding such mistakes, you can easily keep your cast iron pan in a healthy condition for a long time.
We hope now you understand the importance and the proper procedure of seasoning a cast iron cookware. All we would like to conclude is that do not use the cast iron pan before seasoning it well if you want to maintain its life for a long time, and always keep your cast iron cookware away from moisture as much as possible.
You can simply do the seasoning process using any oil, just make sure there are no synthetic chemicals present in it. Also, it’s not a onetime task; you will have to season your cast iron cookware once you feel like it is losing its resilience.
That is it for this article, for any further queries, you can share your thoughts with us using the comments section below.