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FutureStarrHow to Season a Cast Iron OR
Seasoning an iron isn’t all that complicated as long as you take care of the details. Here’s what you need to know.
Lodge began seasoning cast iron cookware in our foundries in 2002. In the final step before packaging, we spray a thin layer of soy-based vegetable oil onto our traditional cast iron and carbon steel cookware, then bake it in a large oven. There are no synthetic chemicals added. The oil is highly refined, and all proteins that cause soy-related allergies are eliminated. The oil is kosher and contains no animal fat, peanut oil, or paints.
Online forums for the cooking-obsessed are a mixed blessing. On the one hand, they can be amazing resources, full of detailed information on all sorts of topics. But they can also expose just how little agreement there often is among experts when you get down to the nitty-gritty details. I've spent hours poring over cast iron cookware sites, only to see some swear that flaxseed oil is the best for seasoning, others throw down for Crisco or lard, and still others say that canola is their go-to. The oven temperatures they use are equally varied, and some advocate convoluted methods that involve repeatedly changing the oven temperature during the seasoning process. (Source: www.seriouseats.com)
Long version: Cast iron pans are porous, meaning they can rust easily without a protective barrier. Most new commercial cast iron pans come with a pre-seasoning, but it's not a bad idea to strengthen that layer with a seasoning session of your own. Seasoning happens when a layer of oil on the pan is heated past its smoking point and carbonizes. This process, called polymerization, transforms the oil into a plastic that bonds to the pan. The plastic coating seals the porous surface of the cast iron, preventing excessive sticking during cooking, as well as warding off rust.
Drop 1 teaspoon of oil into the pan and use a paper towel to rub it in evenly across the entire pan. Flip the pan over, add 1 more teaspoon oil if needed, and repeat the rubbing process until the entire pan (handle included!) is coated evenly with the thinnest layer of oil. Keep rubbing and buffing the oil into pan until it no longer looks greasy. Avoid using too much oil to the point where the pan is slick and wet with it: too much oil will result in a sticky, grimy finish. If you slide your finger across the pan and it looks like you just ate delicious fried chicken and french fries, that's too much oil! Keep buffing! (Source: www.delish.com)