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How to Season a Cast Iron Skillet

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How to Season a Cast Iron Skillet

Have you purchased a cast iron skillet and it is showing rust? Or have you purchased a new one and don't know what to do to season it? Here are the answers for the proper way to season cast iron skillets.

There are many advantages of using a cast iron skillet. Grandma knew the secret that it added iron to your diet. Cast iron cookware also has a natural coating if seasoned properly that keeps foods from sticking and it provides an even heat. The cast iron will also last your entire lifetime with no replacing of handles. 

Many professional cooks swear by cast iron, so you know it is well worthwhile having. They are available in any size you would like. This is a popular item found at garage sales, because the cooks didn’t know how to properly season the skillet.

A cast iron skillet that has been seasoned correctly has a black coating. This is what gives the surface its ability to be nonstick and keeps it from rusting. Some cast iron is already seasoned at the factory, but I would suggest doing it again. If you buy a used one first clean it well first.

To Season

1. First remove all stickers and wash the skillet with soapy water. Then dry with a paper towel.

2. Next turn on your oven to a medium heat. Somewhere between 300-500 degrees F. Coat the inside of the skillet with shortening or lard. It is better not to use cooking oil, since this can leave it sticky. I usually use a paper towel to do this. Wipe out the excess but leave the skillet with a generous coating, but wiped enough so the grease doesn’t spill.

3. Now place the skillet in the oven with the inside pointed downward. You may want to use foil or a baking sheet just in case some of the grease drips from the skillet.

4. Leave the skillet in the oven for at least an hour or two. You may smell smoke or a burning smell, but don’t be alarmed. 

5. Remove with potholders or oven mitts and place on a heat resistant surface. I usually just place it on top of the range on one of the cooking units.

6. You may need to repeat this process several times before you have the desired amount of black coating. 

7. Use the pan with greasing food for the first cooking. This will help it season more.

8. Never use water to clean the cast iron skillet once it has been seasoned.  Never pour cold water into a pan after it has been heated. The pan warms up to a high temperature. 

Caring for Cast Iron

1. Hot water is best to use and dry after cleaning. One quick way to dry is to just place the skillet on a stove burner and turn it on. It will dry out the skillet faster. 

2. If the skillet ever gets rusty, just season it again or you can try cleaning it well with shortening.

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