I have a new cast iron pan that I would like to oil or season before using it? What is the best way?
As a young Southern gal, I grew up with my Grandma and Mama using cast iron pans, mostly for cornbread and biscuits. I now own a cast iron pan and one of those that make the cornbread sticks, both are 'old' cast irons. I was taught to leave the cast iron in the stove at all times, and when you cook whatever in it, to grease it with shorting. My question is , after an incident where I made a mess of my cornbread stick pan, by dripping batter all over it and then leaving it in the stove to burn off. And then tried to clean it and reburn it, but there are black flakes chipping off of it, to the point where I can see the metal underneath. Do I need to just wash it and reseason it? Thanks yall, for any advice yall send my way!
Oh boy-- the magic of the Internet!
If-- for some reason-- you can't get to this site, here are the basics--
(Please forgive any typos.)
Seasoning is the process of applying a thin coat of cooking oil to the entire surface of the cookware (inside and out) then baking the oil onto the cookware creating a natural non-stick finish. Here's how it's done:
1.) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
2.) Wash the cookware (inside and out) with mild detergent using a stiff brush.
3.) Rinse, then towel dry the cookware thoroughly.
4.) Spread or spray a thin coat of MELTED solid shortening or spray-on vegetable oil over the entire surface of the pan, including handle and exterior surfaces.
5.) Lower both your oven racks to the bottom positions. Line the lower rack with aluminum foil (to catch drippings), and place the cookware UPSIDE DOWN on the middle rack. Bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off leaving the cookware in the oven until cool.
Original finish cookware will come out slightly brown and ready to use. However, if you would like to repeat this process it will only further season the cookware, turn it even darker, and improve the appearance.
"The blacker it gets, the better it cooks."
After cooking, clean with a mild soap and warm water. Rinse thoroughly and towel dry.
Do not cover when stored. And NEVER clean cast-iron in a dishwasher.
"Super-Cleaning" -- after many years of use, there may be "gunk" building up on some areas of the pan. You need to get that pan as hot as humanly possible to burn it all off. My solution? I waited until winter and got a good fire going in the fireplace and tossed it in there-- got it red-hot, then let it cool in there over night. In the morning, I wiped out the ashes, then washed as mentioned above, and re-seasoned.
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A side note:
Funny, isn't it?
Our parents and grandparents knew how to season and use a cast-iron pan or dutch oven-- that information had been passed down for a long time. These days, this same information almost seems...esoteric. Like folk lore.
And it also seems that those of future generations will one day find an interesting old cast-iron skillet at a yard sale-- paint it with a high gloss lavendar enamel and hang it on their dining room wall as a decoration-- then use the microwave to cook an egg.
"Where are we going? And why are we in this handbasket?"
What has always worked for me for new cast iron is to get some suet from the butcher or meat market. Smear it over the surface of the cast iron, then I'd put mine in my gas barbecue for a while, put on more and keep cooking. It will season it nicely. This works well for new or cast iron that needs reseasoning. Oil can also be used. This keeps the smell of the cooking cast iron out of the house, and the heat out in the summer.
The best way to clean off rust is with salt. Rub a handfull in with a couple of paper towels. Rinse, dry, and season as usual. Also, always dry the skillet well after rinsing. I put mine on the burner for a couple of minutes. Never use soap on your skillets.
To season my cast iron cookware I wait until we have a bon fire and grease my pots really well and let them burn all night. the next day they are still hot but get a pot holder bring them in wash them dry them and oil them pick them up.It always works.
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