Source: Cordite Country
Cast iron has a porous surface. The seasoning process serves to fill and smooth the surface of the pan. It’s true that the more you use and season a cast iron skillet, the more nonstick the surface becomes.
Here is how you season a new or used cast iron utensil:
If the pan is new, be sure any adhesive label is completely removed.
- Wash with very hot water, rinse and dry the utensil.
- Grease the inside surface with Crisco or other solid shortening. A medium-light coating, as you would grease a cake pan, is sufficient.
- Put your greased utensil in a preheated 300°F oven for 1 hour.
- Remove, cool and store the pan.
A skillet or other utensil can be seasoned as often as necessary to maintain a good surface.
For example, after making tortillas and, after all that heat, the surface of your skillet looks dry, just season it again before you put it away.
You should wait until the pan is very well seasoned, either by many uses or repeated seasonings, do not attempt to cook foods with a high acid content (tomatoes, for instance). The corrosive nature of high-acid foods will not react well to unseasoned cast iron.
Once a pan is well-seasoned, however, you can use it for just about anything.
Refrain from using soap or detergent in the cleaning process. Seasoned cast iron utensils may be cleaned very nicely with boiling water and a stiff-bristled brush. A short-handled brush with stiff nylon bristles used only for cleaning cast iron skillets is a good idea. And often, say after making cornbread, brush the skillet vigorously, wipe it with a damp sponge, and dry it with a paper towel. It is important to dry cast iron utensils well after use; they will rust unless thoroughly dried. Cast iron utensils will darken with use, turning from a steely gray, when new, to dark gray or black.
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