Seasoning Cast Iron Pots and Pans

Cast Iron pots and pans are the work horse of a properly equipped kitchen.  They last FOREVER.  They can be passed down from generation to generation.  All of my mother’s grandchildren identify with her cast iron pots and pans.  I remember how she would make hamburgers in them with only a dusting of salt on the pans.  Some how they never stuck to the pans and were so easy to clean.  Hers were beautifully seasoned and maintained.  It horrifies some to know that a well seasoned cast iron pan should never be washed with soap and water.  If you do, then you need to start from season it again.  Most of the time it only requires a quick wipe with a damp cloth.  Maybe a quick rinse with only water and a soft brush.  But always, always they must be dried perfectly.  The easiest way to dry them is to put them on the stove with the flame on or in a hot oven.  It only takes minutes for them to be bone dry that way, but if you don’t do it, they will rust and guess what… have to start all over again with the seasoning.

Many people use many different types of oil to season their pots.  But I recently read about the virtues of using Flax Oil.  There are some scientific reasons why this Omega 3 oil bonds with the cast iron.  It seems to polimerize best.  I also like the idea that you are using a food grade oil that is healthy so if any gets into the food, you are good!

So the first thing to do is to remove previous coats on the pots.  Even if you buy brand new ones, you should do this since you don’t know what type of oil they used.  An easy way to do it is to put the pots in the oven and run the oven cleaning cycle.   If you can’t do that then you can use oven cleaner and get everything off.  They will look horrible;full of rust.  Then you apply a thin layer of Flax Oil with either your fingers or a paper towel.  You can also use a rag if you see that the paper towel leaves lint behind.  Then you take another rag and rub as much of the oil as you can get off.  You want a very thin layer of oil and you don’t want any type of drips.  Place the pots in a cold oven and turn it up to 500 degrees F. Once the temperature reaches 500, leave it on for 1 hour.  After that, without opening the oven door, turn off the oven and do not open the door, until it is completely cold.  Once the pans are cold, you can add another layer of Flax Oil.  You do this same process six times.  I know it sounds like a lot, but it is well worth it.  Besides, it takes 2 minutes to spread the oil, wipe it off and start the oven.  But when you see the sheen that the pans have, you will be delighted.  Just take care of them, or you will need to do this whole system all over again.

Enjoy using your beautiful pans.

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