You may have bought a brand new cast iron pan or a set of new cast iron cookware allured by its shiny features but remember it is not ready to use yet. You will have to make sure that it is properly seasoned, washed and made ready for use. The need for seasoning a cast iron cookware is to prevent the food from sticking to it, which is usually a common feature of cast iron. It will not only make difficult for you to cook but will also create a fairly irritating mess which you will find hard to clean up. Therefore, seasoning your cast iron pan is mandatory.
Steps to follow
Seasoning a cast iron cookware is not difficult at all. You will need to follow a few specific steps to ensure that the pan performs wonderfully and provides the desired taste in your food.
- Firstly, you will have to wash the pan thoroughly with warm water.
- Once you are done and satisfied with its cleanliness, dry it by hand with a soft and clean towel immediately. This will prevent it from rusting.
- Next you have to coat the pan with a thin layer of cooking spray or any oil.
- Switch on your oven and set the temperature to 350 degrees.
- While the oven heats up you must put the pan on a stove. It is important to mention here that the stove must be at a low heat.
- Once the oven is heated to 350 degrees and the pan is warm enough place it inside the oven and leave it there for an hour or so to ‘bake.’
Remove it from the oven after an hour very carefully because cast iron can get really hot and may cause severe burns if you are not careful.
Cooking in your new pan
While you cook in your new cast iron pan you will also need to follow a few steps. When you cook use proper oil in sufficient amount in the newly seasoned pan for at least the first couple of times. This will further enhance the seasoning of cast iron pan. This will also prevent you from the pain of re-seasoning your pan again.
If you follow some simple rules, you don’t actually have to re-season your pan again.
Cleaning your pan
Proper cleaning of your cast iron pan will also retain the seasoning of it. Therefore you must ensure that you avoid using soap or harsh dishwashing detergent. These will wear down the seasoning. The best is to use water alone and if you need to scrub it then use a little bit of salt instead of harsh cleaning agents or steel wool. Always ensure that the pan is dried immediately after washing as cast iron can catch up rust pretty fast and you will need to re-season it.
Lastly, when you season your cast iron pan it is best to use flaxseed oil which is far better than using canola oil, cooking spray or any animal fat such as bacon drippings.