Everyone loves iron skillets. And if you are a lover of good food, you probably own more than one yourself. A cast iron skillet is multipurpose; it can be used for everything, and it is even easy to clean. You can easily make most of your meal using this tool.
For example, you can give your chicken thighs a nice outside brown crisp without burning it, and you even bake those brownies in no time. It is also a cooking vessel when you need to transfer cooking from your gas to the oven.
Knowing some of its usefulness, you definitely do not want to toy with this utensil. Therefore, it is essential to keep it in good condition every time and maintain it properly.
What is a seasoned cast iron skillet?
A seasoned skillet is smooth, shiny, and nonstick. You’ll know it’s time to re-season if food sticks to the surface or if the skillet appears dull or rusted.
Why do I need a cast iron skillet in my kitchen?
Cast iron skillet is one kitchen utensil that is very easy to use. This cooking pan makes a wonderful instrument in the kitchen. You enjoy a properly fried chicken, perfectly made omelet, and cornbread using this tool.
Though it can be used for cooking different meals, it is advisable to only use it for food that needs some fat heating when you first get it. This is to harden the surface to a level where you do not need to bother about seasoning it.
Why do you need to season your iron cast skillet?
First, seasoning your skillet has absolutely nothing to do with using salt and spices. It is a way of introducing a protective and strong coating to your skillet. The coat is formed by heating the skillet in an oven after rubbing oil on it. This is possible because the process of heating fat or polymerization creates a stickiness that bonds the oil to the iron.
Fat is converted into a form of plastic and bonds to the metal to create a nonstick coating for your skillet. A properly seasoned iron cast skillet is an indispensable kitchen utensil that allows you to cook even the stickiest meal. Food like an omelet, the scrambled egg becomes very easy to make without having to scrap your pot.
Another reason why it is a must to season your iron cast skillet is that it forms a protective layer on the skillet and enhances durability. The moment you get a skillet, season it immediately before your first use. And this alone can guarantee you years of usage.
How do I know it is time to re-season my skillet?
After this first seasoning, you can enjoy your skillet for a year or two. This is because cooking with oil or other types of fat on this tool increases the protective coat on it and prevents the first from permanently washing off.
However, this does not guarantee usage forever; as such, the skillet sometimes needs to be pre-seasoned. It is time to re-season your skillet once you notice that it is becoming rusty or sticky. Therefore, once the food starts to stick to the surface of your skillet, do not throw it out; you only need to re-season it to enjoy using it again.
The Easy Guide On Seasoning and Restoring Cast Iron
How to Season a Cast Iron Skillet
Things needed for seasoning are:
- Sponge or stiff brush
- Dish soap
- Aluminum foil
- Paper towels or clean and dry clothes
- Vegetable oil or shortening or any other oil available
Instructions: Step to step guide on how properly season your iron cast skillet
Step 1: Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Step 2: Wash your skillet with soapy and warm water using the stiff brush or sponge provided above.
Note here that you are not to wash your cast iron with soap, but it is ok to do that now since you are about to season it.
Step3: After washing, rinse the dry skillet with water and dry it using a paper towel or dry cloth.
Step 4: If you are using shortening, it is time to melt it. If you are not using shortening vegetable oil or any other types of fat, it is good.
Step 5: Now, pour a little below tablespoon of the vegetable oil or your melted shortening into the cast iron skillet. Remember, you can use any oil you have available.
Step 6: Use a paper towel or clean cloth again to rub the oil around the whole skillet forming a coat.
Step 7: After coating the inside, flip the skillet over to coat the outside and bottom part as well
Step 8: Now, put the prepared aluminum foil on the rack of the oven. Then place the skillet on that aluminum foil facing down, and leave it in for one hour.
Step 9: After an hour, turn off the oven and leave the skillet inside until it is completely cool. Then remove it from the oven, and your cast iron skillet is seasoned. Repeat the heating process three times to ensure that you form a really protective coating.
After the first heating process, bring out the skillet once it has cooled down and place it back into the oven for another 30 minutes. Do this repeatedly three times, and you are good.
- Oil type: Most people prefer using vegetable oil, canola, or corn oil. And some think that flaxseed oil is a good choice. However, flaxseed oil tends to flake off when used, so I will not recommend it. If you are not using any of the mentioned oil, try a little research to know about the suitability of the oil you want to use.
- Greasiness: After coating, ensure to clean off the oil till the skillet is no longer greasy. This is because you do not want excess oil to form hardened particles on the surface of your skillet.
- Heating: Once you put the skillet inside the oven, ensure proper ventilation to prevent the kitchen from getting smoky. I recommend using only the oven for your heating. This is to ensure that heat is evenly distributed to the skillet.
How To Season a Cast Iron Skillet (Step-by-Step Instructions)
A cast iron skillet can be used for a very long time if properly maintained. This is why you have probably seen parents passing down their cast iron to children. In fact, many homes can use one for cooking almost everything and still enjoy it for a long time. You only need to get it right.
Maintaining your skillet starts from seasoning it. Properly seasoning this kitchen tool can enhance its durability. This is why understanding how to season your skillet is as important as buying it. This article saves you time browsing the net or taking the wrong procedure seasoning your cast iron skillet. I hope you find it helpful.