How to Season Cast Iron Cookware

You’ve recently gotten your first cast iron cookware… what happens next? You may assume that you can simply start using your cookware right away. Although many pots and pans are pre-seasoned, you will get far more enjoyment if you season the cookware yourself right from the start. Before we share some tips on how to season your cast iron cookware, it helps to understand why seasoning is done.

As a porous metal, cast iron can rust without a protective layer. Seasoning involves using a layer of oil that is heated onto the metal. When the layer of oil is heated past its smoking point, it carbonises. This process is known as polymerisation. It essentially turns the oil into a type of plastic that sticks to the pan. This coating seals the porous surface, preventing sticking as you cook and reducing the risk of rust. Seasoning is done with all types of cookware, from potjie pots to pans made of cast iron.

Seasoning Cast Iron Cookware

Although the science behind seasoning cast iron cookware may seem a little complex, the actual seasoning process is incredibly simple. Here are the steps you need to take to season your new cookware.

Clean & dry the cookware

First, you will need to give the cookware a good clean in hot soapy water. Don’t ever put cast iron into a dishwasher, as this will wear and damage the surface. Instead, wash by hand, giving the cookware a good scrub. Avoid using steel wool – instead, use a regular dishwashing brush or scourer sponge. Once it’s clean, let it air dry completely.

Apply the oil coating

Next, you will apply the oil coating. Vegetable oil is a good choice, including canola, vegetable, grapeseed, sunflower and safflower. Butter and unrefined coconut oil have trace amounts of solids that can burn and scorch the pan. Lard can turn rancid so it’s better to stick to vegetable oil. You will be buffing the oil onto the surface. This means adding a small amount and rubbing it onto the surface using a paper towel. Coat the entire pan so that it has a thin layer of oil without looking or feeling greasy.

Bake and let it cool

Next, it’s time to bake the oil onto the pan. This is the most important step, as it creates the bond that covers the surface of your cookware. Place the pan into a hot oven and let it cook for up to an hour. Turn the oven off and let the cookware stay in the oven for another 15 minutes before opening the door. Carefully remove with oven mitts (the pan will be extremely hot) and allow the pan to cool completely. 

Your pots and pans are now ready to be used. If you’re looking for premium quality potjies, casseroles, pans and other cast iron cookware, Best Duty has a wide range of products available to purchase online.

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