For new owners of cast iron cookware, here are a few tips on how to get your iron pan stove ready.
Cast iron cookware has a porous surface that trap oils. The oils create a natural non-stick cooking surface on the pan and unlike synthetic non-stick cookware, cast iron cookware actually improves with age.
Here are a few steps you should follow that will not only increase the lifespan of your ironware but improve it’s performance as well.
How to season a cast iron pan
NB. These tips apply to traditional cast ironware with no enamel glaze.
1. Wash your cast iron pot or pan with hot water and a brush (no soap and no steel brushes or scourers).
2. Use an oil with a high smoke point (grape seed or rice bran is a good choice) and sauté some vegetable scraps like carrot peelings.
3. Remove vegetables and let the pan cool before repeating Step 1.
4. Repeat Steps One to Three, 2 – 3 times.
5. After the last wash, dry inside and out with a tea towel and put on a low heat on the stove for 5 minutes to completely dry.
Your cast iron pan is now ready to use.
To keep your cast iron pan non-stick re-season your pan every few months.
Never use cast iron cookware in the microwave or you will experience unexpected fiery results!
Great tip thanks! Clever idea using vegetable scraps. Should you also only use an oil with a high smoke point for cooking?
We recommend rice bran, grape seed or canola oil
A little off the subject however I read somewhere recently that it is not advisable to cook rice in a cast iron pot that is not enameled. Would this be the case once the pot has been seasoned?
Hi Merfyn, the Japanese have been cooking rice in cast iron pots for centuries so not sure where your info re: enamel comes from. All cast iron cookware needs to be seasoned.
Hello. Would you season the bigger sauce pans and Dutch oven the same way? Also, once seasoned, can you continue to wash with water? I’ve read once seasoned, cast iron pans should only be wiped off. Thank you.
Yes continue to wash with water after you use the pan every time. But wash with hot water only. Every once in a while you will want to reseason it.
Can you cook with acid based liquids such as lemon juice, wine, vinegar or even fresh tomato or does this remove the seasoning on the cast iron?
We use acidic liquids like these. If you’re pan is well seasoned you should be fine. But if you think it will need a little top up after its easy to reseason.
I have a cast iron wok that I bought nearly 40 years ago. It’s re-seasoned when I think about it but what I have done, religiously, is wash it after use in really hot water (with a brush so I don’t get blisters!), dry with a paper towel while still hot, then wipe the inside with peanut or grapeseed oil. I also put the lid on to keep out dust. It looks pretty rubbish where it’s been exposed to gas flames over the years but inside? Like it’s brand new.