HOW TO SEASON CAST IRON
Posted on September 07 2023,
Cast iron kitchenware has enjoyed a revival among chefs and home cooks alike in recent years, and for good reason. With its classic look, heat retention capabilities, and potential for non-stick cooking, it’s no wonder that these ultra-durable kitchen classics have found a permanent home in our homes.
However, to enjoy cast iron to its full potential, proper seasoning and care are imperative. With proper maintenance, your cast iron cookware should last you several lifetimes.
WHAT IS CAST IRON SEASONING?
Seasoning refers to the process of creating a protective, non-stick layer on a cast iron surface through the application of oil and heat. Not only does this create a naturally non-stick surface without the use of synthetic coatings, but it also safeguards against rusting, enhancing the durability of your cookware.
Seasoning works as when oils and fats are heated to a high temperature, they turn from a liquid into a hardened surface through a process called polymerisation. The oil is molecularly bonded to the pan providing a protective and stick-resistant coating.
HOW TO SEASON CAST IRON
Follow these steps to season your cast iron cookware to ensure it's ready for use in the kitchen.
Prep your cookware
If your cast iron cookware is new, wash it with warm water and a sponge to remove any manufacturer residues. Rinse and dry completely. Then set your oven to a high temperature - we recommend around 230-260°C.
Apply oil to all surfaces
Dab a paper towel in an unflavoured oil (such as vegetable oil or flaxseed oil) and rub a thin layer over the entire surface of the cast iron, including the handle and outer side. Using another paper towel, wipe off any excess oil. The layer should be thin and even.
Place the cookware upside down in the oven on the upper rack. Place an oven-safe pan on the lower rack to catch any drips and bake for about an hour. After heating, turn off the oven and leave the cookware to cool completely before removing. Once cooled, your cast iron is seasoned and ready for use!
MAINTAINING A CAST IRON SEASONING
Every time you cook with fats or oils, you are essentially maintaining or reinforcing the seasoning on your pans. However, acidic foods like tomatoes can strip away the seasoning, so you may need to re-season from time to time. Simply repeat the steps above.
HOW TO CLEAN CAST IRON
Allow to cool
Let the cookware cool to a warm, touchable temperature before cleaning.
Use a cloth or non-metallic scrubber to remove food residues. For stubborn areas, pour a small amount of water into the pan and simmer for a few minutes, then scrape away the loosened bits.
Can you use soap on cast iron?
You can use a small amount of gentle dish soap if necessary, but this shouldn't be needed most of the time. Strong soaps will strip your cookware of its seasoning so you may need to repeat this process if this is used.
Towel dry your cookware immediately after rinsing. To ensure it’s completely dry, you can heat it on the stove for a few minutes.
Apply a very thin layer of oil to restore the sheen. You can heat the cookware gently to help the oil polymerise more quickly.
HOW TO MAKE CAST IRON LAST
Avoid soaking your cast iron in water as this can lead to rust.
Avoid Metal Utensils
Using metal can scrape away the seasoning. Stick to wood or silicone utensils.
Store your cast iron in a dry place. If stacking multiple pieces, place a paper towel between them to avoid scratching.
The more you use your cast iron, the better it gets. Regular cooking helps maintain the seasoning.
Understanding how to season and care for your cast iron cookware is essential for maximising its performance and longevity. With just a little bit of love and attention, your cast iron pieces can be passed down for generations, each meal adding another layer to its rich culinary history.
KATTO'S CAST IRON
Each of our cast iron pans takes about a week to make, and all are forged to our exacting specification by the best forge in France - the home of cast iron. The operation is extremely precise and painstaking involving over one hundred different processes. Everything must be specified, monitored and adjusted. All must be done equally well. After all, the enduring honesty and beauty of cast iron lies in it's durability. No corners therefore can be cut. No compromises can be made. Everything must be correct.
Our pans use a blend of up to 80% recycled materials, as well as a carefully controlled blend of silicone and other alloys. The exact composition of the molten iron in the kiln is tested hourly using a spectrometer to ensure total consistency.