Making Cast Iron into Teflon
BTW, *seasoning* means seasoning! A good pan will pick up more flavors as it ages, so keep one set for sweet, one for savory.
You should also know that the pans really don't pick up bacteria and such. The care you do in the cleaning and storing prevents that.
- cast iron pan
- cloth, cotton
- oil, vegitable with 350ºf or greater smoking point
- cookie sheet
- salt: rock, sea, table
- brush, med-stiff bristle cleaning
When first bought, clean the pan with soap and water and cleaning brush. A plastic scrubby (or make a free scrubby by tightly crocheting strips of plastic bag.) can be used instead. After the first bath, you don't want to have to use water to clean it ever again. Dry it in the oven on low for 1/4 hour.
*Wipe It Down and Oil It Up*
Use whatever fat you have handy(Vegetable oil-based Crisco, lard, avocado oil, canola oil, etc., will all work.), but it should have a smoke point that’s higher than 350˚. Preheat your oven to that temperature and rub the pan generously with oil (but not so much that it’s dripping like mad). Don’t forget the exterior of the pan.
Line the bottom rack of your oven with a large cookie sheet to catch any drips, then turn the pan upside-down on the rack above the sheet. Bake it at 350˚ for one hour, then turn off the oven and let the pan cool completely in the oven. After that, you’re ready to cook. Just promise you’ll clean and season it well after every single use.
To clean the pot or pan, pour a bit of rock/coarse/sea salt into the pan. Size of salt depends on how stuck on you think things are. Oil your towel and rub the salt into the pan until it has picked up all the nastiness. Remove the salt and wipe the pan with oil.
If your pan is fairly new, slightly damaged, or just plain stubborn and the food is still sticking, use a washing brush--not an aluminum scrubber, not a brush with any metal used in the making of it.--along with the salt to get it clean. You can pour off the old salt and add new as many times as you want to get it clean.
Once the pan has been readied, it should be stored with cloth between pans. You don't want *any* metal touching these pans. Cast iron is a soft metal. Each time you scrub, scrape or tap it with metal it WILL get marred. When it gets marred, it will lose the smooth finish and things will start to stick to the point where you will need to use oil to cook again.
I am an eco nazi, so here are some translations for you.
MY TOOL = EVERYONE ELSES TOOL
towel = paper towel
washing brush = plastic scrubby
cookie sheet = aluminum foil
cloth = paper towel
About the scrubbie. I use a wood and med. stiff bristle brush, no metal. A great similar tool is the Redecker Wooden Horsehair Cleaning Brush.