How to season iron pans
Cast iron cookware has been around for centuries. These days most people do not own any cast iron cookware and many people that do own a piece or two don't know how to use them properly. The seasoning on iron pans is extremely important to how foods cook in a cast iron pan. Not seasoning the iron cookware properly is the problem that most people have. It is very easy to season your cast iron cookware though, so it shouldn't be a problem for long.
Cast iron cookware, if seasoned properly will be almost nonstick and only require just a small amount of butter or oil to make it completely nonstick. When purchased new iron cookware will be gray, though once seasoned and well used, it will be a nice black.
The first step is to coat the inside of the pan with vegetable oil and place in a 250 degree over for 30 minutes. After this time remove the pan from the oven, wipe off any extra oil and put it back in the oven for 30 more minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the pan in the oven overnight. If you are seasoning a new pan you might need to repeat this process. If you are reseasoning an old pan, once should do it.
Cast iron cookware absorbs oil each time you cook with it. The seasoning process is the first step in making the cookware nonstick. Washing and using your cookware can cause the iron to lose some of the oil, however because it absorbs oil each time you use it, it should be fine. If you find that it isn't performing as it should though, you can reseason it at any time.
Cleaning your iron cookware properly will ensure that it is in the best condition for cooking properly. When you are done cooking wash your pan with hot soapy water. Do not put it in the dishwasher, do not use harsh chemicals and do not use hard brushes for cleaning. When you are done washing it, rinse well and dry well. Do not store your cookware until the pans are dried completely or they may rust. Also do not store your iron cookware with the lids on (especially in humid environments) or moisture may buildup inside them and cause rust.
Many times you can purchase cast iron cookware at garage sales or estate sales, but even purchased full price they are a bargain. Cast iron cookware will last your lifetime and can be passed on down the generations. Pieces of cast iron cookware are some of the best pieces you can have in your kitchen. Seasoning them properly and taking care of them properly are very important to keep them cooking well. Enjoy!
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