How To Season Cast Iron Cookware
Cast Iron Cookware is great to cook with because it retains heat and cooks evenly while being naturally non-stick. Before you start cooking with your new cast iron cookware, there are a few steps that need to be taken to ensure long lasting satisfaction. First of all, you need to "season" your cast iron. This is the process of allowing oil to be absorbed into the iron, creating a non-stick, rustproof finish. Many cast iron manufacturers use a wax coating to protect it from rusting during storage and shipment before the sale. So, you need to thoroughly wash your cast iron with hot, soapy water and a stiff brush. After the cast iron is clean, rinse and dry completely. Oil your cast iron inside and out with vegetable shortening and lard if available.
Season Cast Iron Cookware in the Oven
If your cookware piece is small enough to fit in the oven: bake it at 350 for one hour, and let it cool down slowly.
Line the lower oven rack with aluminum foil (to catch any drippings), and preheat oven to 350° F.
Place cookware upside down on the upper oven rack, and bake for one hour.
Turn oven off and let cookware cool before removing from oven.
Season Cast Iron Cookware with a Burner or Fire
If your cast iron pot is too large to fit in the oven (for example our large Jambalaya Pots), you can season it in two ways:
The best way is to build a hot fire underneath your pot (If you have purchased a stand, you may use the stand to hold the pot). Put a couple of inches of oil inside the pot. The fire must get the grease hot enough to catch on fire. Let it burn out and cool down, and you will have a perfectly seasoned pot.
If you do not have an area to build a fire, you can use a burner. Turn your burner to a very low setting and let it burn for 4 hours.
Cast Iron Seasoning Tips
After seasoning, store in a cool, dry place. If you have a lid for your utensil, place a folded paper towel between the lid and the utensil to allow air to circulate.
Never Wash In A Dishwasher. This will remove the the seasoning and you will have to reseason.
After use: Clean using a stiff brush and hot water only. Towel dry immediately and apply a light coating of vegetable oil to cookware while still warm.
If your utensil develops a metallic smell or taste or shows signs of rust, never fear. Wash with soap and hot water, scour off rust, and re-season.