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How to Properly Season Your Cast Iron Cookware before Using

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Those heavy cast iron skillets, pots and pans may be frustrating to lift off the stove, but you’ll never buy another cookware piece again.

Cast iron has been used for more than a century as the cookware of choice. Its metal construction allows heat to evenly cook any food on nearly any stovetop style.

When you first receive cast iron, however, it’s bare of any seasoning. To make its surface nonstick and perfect for several decades to come, you must season it correctly before food even touches it.

Picture of a well-seasoned cast iron skillet cooking egg

How to Achieve Proper Seasoning for Your Cast Iron Cookware

Pick an Oil

The moment you bring the cast iron home, find an oil you prefer. It can be almost any type, such as vegetable or canola.

Cast-iron cookware reviews may even suggest butter as a seasoning agent. This fat can work, but it may leave too much of a buttery taste to food in the future.

Other cast iron fans prefer fresh lard. Essentially, you want a liquid fat to coat the metal as a way to season it and protect it from weathering elements, such as rust.

Bake It

Its not enough to simply coat the pan and put it away. The best cast-iron cookware seasoning process continues with a baking session.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the cast iron upside down on a tray or aluminum foil section.

You don’t want oil drips to start burning as they strike the oven’s floor. Allow the cast iron to remain in the oven for up to an hour.

This baking process should solidify the first oil layer to the metal.

Soak it Periodically

Many cast-iron cookware reviews don’t mention this seasoning process, but it does create a thicker oil layer across the metal.

After baking and using the cookware for several meals, pour some oil into the skillet or pot. Add enough oil so it touches all the cookware’s walls.

Allow it to sit with the oil for several hours. You don’t even need to heat it up. Cast iron will absorb some of this oil, creating another strong layer.

Picture of properly seasoned cast iron used for baking

Picture of First made in America cast iron skilletPicture of Well-seasoned cast iron cookware

Wipe it Carefully

Pour the oil back into its container because it’s still clean for cooking use next time. Don’t rinse out the cast iron, however.

Simply take a paper towel or kitchen washcloth to the pan’s interior. Wipe the surface of all excess oil, but don’t scrub it clean.

An oily sheen should remain on the metal. Store it away in the oven or in a cabinet where the oil won’t be marred with stacking items on top of it.

Don’t Lose the Seasoning

The baking process only needs to be performed once, but continue to add oil and wipe it periodically from the metal surface.

Don’t use any metal utensils on the cast iron to avoid scratching the interior. Even soap is an enemy to cast iron.

It strips away the oil layer so any washing should only be done with basic tap water. No detergents are allowed.

If you have a large household, consider talking to everyone who cooks or cleans in the kitchen. It’s easy to forget about the special care cast iron requires so a skillet could end up in soapy water otherwise.

When everyone understands how to care for the best cast-iron cookware, it will last for many decades.

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