Cast Iron Cookware and How to Season

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There are many myths surrounding seasoning cast iron cookware everyone and their mother seems to have a different opinion on how it should be done. However, seasoning is a very important to get the most out of this culinary venture into more hard-wearing kitchen equipment, so you need to know where to start…

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Emporiumcookshop.co.uk Cast Iron and How to Season

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Emporiumcookshop.co.uk There are many myths surrounding seasoning cast iron cookware- everyone and their mother seems to have a different opinion on how it should be done. Cast iron pans tend to be held in higher regard by those in the know due to its durability and its reputation for being truly “non-stick” when cared for properly. It is untrue that cast iron costs more than other materials in terms of cookware- you can actually buy cast iron pans for around the same price. It can also tolerate extensive amounts of heat that other materials cannot meaning that they can endure a real kicking when used over many years making it far superior to its stainless steel counterparts and thus more economical. However seasoning is a very important to get the most out of this culinary venture into more hard-wearing kitchen equipment so you need to know where to start …

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Emporiumcookshop.co.uk So what exactly is seasoning Seasoning is the process of creating a protective layer over a cast iron pan that prevents rust and other food residue creeping into the pans pores and ruining them. Scientifically speaking it’s the oxidisation of fats on its surface that fill in the pores- and iron is very porous. The fat and the iron bond together to create a dense hard layer which appears like oil on the surface and results in a non-stick surface to fry many different types of foods. With so much advice online regarding how to do this process with arguments from type of oil times and aftercare running rampant on culinary blogs we’ve compiled the best advice from around the web. We’ll walk you through the basic steps to set you on your way to creating your new best friend in the kitchen.

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Emporiumcookshop.co.uk 1. Wash and dry The Pan It’s important to wash away anything that may be stuck to the pan before you season it. A quick scrub with hot soapy water and a stiff brush or sponge should be sufficient enough to remove any grime. Make sure the pan is completely dry before moving onto the next step- any lingering water will repel the fat you are about to coat the pan with

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Emporiumcookshop.co.uk 2. Rub it With Oil Coat the pan all over using cooking oil and some kitchen roll to work the oil into the pan. There is some debate over which oil to use but most agree that you needn’t buy any special oils vegetable canola and corn oil all do the job just fine. Flaxseed oil pops up from time to time championed as the best type although it has been known to become flaky. Whichever oil you choose make sure it is spread all over as any excess can pool during the seasoning process.

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Emporiumcookshop.co.uk 3. Heat it in the Oven This step is the part that forms one of the several layers of protective coating that you are about to form on your pan. The intense heat “polymerises” the oil which makes it almost like a hard plastic coating. Leave the pan in the oven for 30 minutes and avoid opening it so that no heat escapes. It possible turn the oven as hot as it will go but be wary of smoke Make sure the kitchen is well ventilated. It is important to use the oven rather than stove as the oven will heat the pan evenly all over whereas a stove produces hot and cold spots meaning that the seasoning will not be even and with some spots barely covered at all.

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Emporiumcookshop.co.uk 4. Repeat This Several Times When time is up carefully remove it from the oven and leave to cool. Repeat step 3 again taking care to buff away any excess oil that hasn’t coated the pan. Put back into the oven for 30 minutes each time and repeat for a total of 4 cycles. This should be enough to have created a non-stick protective layer so you can start cooking with it

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Emporiumcookshop.co.uk 5. Cleaning After Use Once you’ve created your culinary wonder it’s important to remember not to throw it in the washing up bowl or dishwasher as you would with other kitchen equipment- you don’t want to risk washing away all your hard work A quick wipe with a paper towel or cloth should be enough to remove any traces of food- for any bits that are tough to get off try boiling water in the pan itself then wipe. For those occasions where cleaning it requires a little more elbow grease using course rock salt mixed with a small amount of water while the pan is still warm.

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Emporiumcookshop.co.uk Certain foods should be avoided such as those that are highly acidic like tomatoes. The acid is corrosive which deteriorates the seasoning and can result in rust. The flavour of the acidic foods can also taste metallic due to a minor chemical reaction that takes place between the acid and the iron which doesn’t make for great tasting food The coating will wear away over time so it’s vital to re-season the pan from time to time regardless of which foods are cooked in it. In terms of caring for your pans it is a labour of love that is very rewarding as the pros of cast iron far outweigh the cons. It is important to make sure you oil your pans after every use to replace any of the protective coating that may have been eaten away during cooking- in the same way that we moisturise our skin after we exfoliate. Before storing make sure the pan is completely dry to prevent any rusting. While it seems like hard work with appropriate care your cast iron pans with remain a well-loved staple in the kitchen for many years to come.

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Emporiumcookshop.co.uk Get in Touch to Find Out More Emporium Cookshop The Emporium Unit 9 Sandars Road Gainsborough DN21 1RZ 01427610682

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