Jed Grieve - Oct 06 2022
How to season iron cookware
Seasoning iron cookware is the process of protecting the iron from oxidization, or better known as rust. All iron cookware will come from the factory with either a protective sprayed-on coating or a oven cured finish.
Generally, these are only meant to protect the pans from the elements and the job of making the pans 'non-stick' is up to you
The lowdown on non-stick
Non-stick pans are great. Easy to use, cooked food slides right out, and they're a snap to clean.
The downside of non-stick
Chemicals are used in making all coated cookware and the long term health effects are not studied and not well known. The industry is quick to point out what isn't in the chemical make-up but they do not disclose what is.
Additionally, and maybe more importantly, every single piece of coated cookware will wear out. This is just a matter of time. Even the most expensive brands, with all the fancy marketing and big promises will wear out. Maybe not as fast but they will. How do I know this? I've been selling cookware for nearly 30 years and have seen the long-tail of many non-stick brands. I also spoke with a Doctor of Polymer Science to best understand why this is such a problem. Watch the interview here: https://youtu.be/2NOZwyiNSZg
How to make your cookware non-stick
Making your cookware non-stick is quite simple but there is a basic process that must be followed for it to happen. If you miss a step or do not follow the procedure correctly then you will have a poor result. I will address the 2 ways that you can buy iron cookware
Protective sprayed-on coating. Carbon steel cookware usually comes with a protective sprayed-on coating, which is either oil or can be wax. Whatever the protective sprayed-on coating is, it needs to be removed before the initial seasoning can begin. As above, the initial seasoning is to stop the pan from oxidizing.
A brand new unseasoned de Buyer Mineral B Frying Pan
Pre-seasoned cookware. Cast iron skillets (an American term for a frying pan) come pre-seasoned. This means that the raw pans have oil applied to them and they are baked in the oven. This will stop any rusting until the customer gets their new pan
Raw pans before seasoning
How to season. The basics of seasoning are simple. Clean the iron surface, apply a super thin layer of unsaturated oil to all surfaces and bake in the oven for 1 hour at 400 degrees.
If you have a cast iron pan that came preseasoned then you do not need to apply the initial coat.
The video below will teach you everything you need to know to season your cookware
The non-stick part
To be super clear, your iron pan will not work like a new Teflon pan so I suggest for you to be open to how your iron pan will give you exceptional results, which will be a little different, and some say better.
Non-stick comes from using the pan. Some suggest deep frying in the pan after the initial seasoning, which works fine. Others suggest frying potato peels in lots of oil, while I like to build up several oven coatings (like in the video above). Whichever way you're going to do it, the goal is to build up many hardened micro layers to form a smooth coating which will behave kind of like Teflon. Cooking with some fat is key, and you want to protect and continuously build the seasoning. At the same time you need to polish off anything that gets stuck on the surface of the pan that can create a sticky point. This is called carbon build up and I address it in the video below
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Care and attention
As I've already pointed out, looking after an iron pan is not hard as long as you do a few simple things well, but the rewarding part is that if you do mess up or damage your seasoning somehow, you can strip it down and start again. The pan will literally last forever.
I have loads more videos about seasoning on our YouTube channel
There are 2 things that you need to ensure that your seasoning is cared for well. Seasoning paste/wax and a chain mail scrubby. The two videos above will show you how to use them