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A Word About Seasoning And Caring For Cast Iron Cookware

Although today you may purchase cast iron cookware factory pre-seasoned, the information provided below will help you re-season or re-new those attic and flea market finds.

Seasoning is the most important thing you can do to cast iron cookware and is the process of allowing oil to be absorbed into the iron, creating a non-stick, rustproof finish.

To season The New Utensil

  • Warm cookware before peeling off any label
  • Wash with hot, soapy water and a stiff brush. Rinse and dry completely.
  • Oil the cookware (inside and out) with melted solid vegetable shortening using a soft cloth.
  • Turn upside down on the top rack of a 350°F pre-heated oven.
  • Put aluminum foil on the bottom rack to catch any drippings.
  • Bake the cookware, including lids for one hour at 350°F.
  • Let the cookware cool slowly in the oven.
  • Store, uncovered, in a dry place when cooled.

Your utensil is now ready to use.

To maintain your cookware once seasoned, please follow the guidelines listed below.

  1. Re-season after cooking beans (any kind) or any acidic foods (tomatoes).
  2. Do NOT wash utensil in soap or dishwashing detergents, Using boiling water and a bristle brush to clean.
  3. Wash immediately after use, while still hot. Do not use as storage vessel.
  4. After washing utensil, dry carefully over light heat, then spray lightly with a food grade mineral oil, wipe dry and store. NEVER store utensil with lid on, cast iron needs air circulation.
  5. Deep fry in Dutch ovens at least six time prior to cooking beans of any kind and re-season after cooking.
  6. If you fail to follow the above instructions you will need to re-season the utensil. Follow the re-seasoning directions listed below

Re-Seasoning: You may find that over time you need to re-season your cast iron. This will need to be done if you have not maintained it properly. If you follow the directions and tips above you should never need to re-season a piece of cast iron.

Rust Spots - If your old or new cast iron ware gets light rust spots, scour the rusty areas with steel wool, i.e. SOS pad, until all traces of rust are gone. Wash, dry and repeat seasoning process.

Metallic Taste - If your food gets a metallic taste, or food turns "Black", it means one of two things are wrong. Either your pot has not been sufficiently seasoned, or you are leaving the food in the pot after it has been cooked. Cast iron utensils are NOT to be used as storage vessels.

Remove food from the cookware as soon as it is cooked (or as soon as you can if you are serving the food out of the cast iron). Always clean your utensils immediately with boiling hot water and brush. Do not use soap. Rinse and dry thoroughly. Prior to storing, oil very lightly with vegetable shortening, such as Crisco, food grade mineral oil or spray with a shortening spray, such as Pam, then wipe dry with paper towel. Store in a dry place uncovered. This is especially important in humid climates. If you put a lid on a pot for storage, condensation could occur causing rust. Give your pot clean, dry air in a place where the temperature is fairly stable.

Expert Tips - It is recommended that you cook foods with high fat and grease content the first few times to expedite seasoning. This would include cooking bacon, sausage, hamburger, or deep frying potatoes, chicken, etc.

Soups, stews, etc. (foods with high moisture and acid content) have a tendency to remove seasoning from a cast iron utensil and may want to be avoided at first, or be aware your utensil may have to be re-seasoned after use. After regular use, clean, oil lightly while warm, then wipe dry with paper towel or soft cloth before storing. Your ironware will darken with use and improve with age. A well-used piece of ironware will develop a patina that truly is the ultimate in non-stick cookware.

Bake Ware - In the case of a cast iron cake pan, corn stick pan, popover pan or muffin pan, if seasoned properly, as previously stated, you should have great success with no sticking occurring. Prior to cooking in these utensils oil well, or spray heavily with Pam or other similar spray shortening. It could be said that Pam is cast iron bake ware’s best friend. NOTE: Before baking in any cast iron utensil, oil and preheat before pouring in the batter then bake in a preheated oven.

 

Serving from a Cast Iron Black Pot - If you are camping out or having a western party at home and want to serve beans, stew or chili from the cookware, a few rules are to be followed and no metallic taste will be imparted.

Keep food simmering in the pot until ready to take to the table. To protect the table from the hot pot, place it on some form of trivet. After food is served, cover the pot to keep food hot for second helpings. As soon as the meal is finished, remove food, wash utensils, dry and prepare for storing.

Just for fun, watch everybody's face light up when they see food just as it comes out of a beautiful cast iron utensil. It never fails. There is something special about food in a black pot.

Nutritional Benefit of Ironware - You may not be aware that iron cookware imparts a significant amount of dietary iron to your food, which is absorbed by the body. In other words cast iron is the healthiest cookware on the market.

 

Energy Savers - Cast iron cookware is the original waterless, energy saving cookware and served this purpose in the sparse life of the pioneers. The most tender of roasts, cooked in a variety of sauces can be simmered while on low heat on top of the range in a Dutch Oven. Very little moisture and/or juices are lost, and top of-the-range cooking is very inexpensive.

Temperatures - Cast iron cookware evenly distributes heat. It discourages "Hot spots". If your food burns, it means only one thing - you got the pot too hot. Less heat is needed with cast iron. However, searing, etc. needs to be done on medium-high heat, with temperatures lowered for slow cooking. You will learn the techniques of this cookware as you become experienced with its nature.




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