The Care And Feeding of Cast Iron Cookery

After recently reading that Dow Chemical knew of the dangers inherent in Teflon, but chose to cover them up for 50 years (http://www.salon.com/2016/01/04/teflons_toxic_legacy_partner/), I am happier than ever that I do most of my cooking in cast iron pans. In fact, I just bought a second skillet last week for when I’m cooking smaller amounts.

When properly seasoned, cast iron has a perfect non-slip surface. But as Hamlet once said, “There’s the rub!” It takes time and dedication to season cast iron properly. Oh, sure, the instructions are easy:

  1. Make sure the pan is clean and dry
  2. Cover the entire pan with vegetable oil
  3. Set it in the oven at 400° F/204° C for one hour
  4. Repeat until the smooth, non-stick surface has been obtained

But the actual practice still eludes me. No matter how I try, I always seem to use to much oil, which means the surface remains tacky. So today, I decided to try once more. I cleaned both skillets according to accepted practice (see the chart below), put a very light coating of oil on each, and put them in the oven at the proper temperature…

…only to have my entire house fill up with smoke. Yep, too much oil. Fortunately, thanks to the wonders of global warming catastrophic climate change, it’s 50° F/10° C out (in January in upstate New York!), which means I was able to open my windows, turn on my fans, and blow the smoke out.

I re-oiled the skillets and put them back in the oven for their second cycle, where they sit as I write this.

The 11 Commandments of Cast Iron Care

 

cast-iron-care

 

From everything I’ve read (http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/,
https://www.cooksillustrated.com/how_tos/5820-the-ultimate-way-to-season-cast-iron?extcode=FTAFTT1ZZ&utm_source=eean&utm_medium=textlink&utm_campaign= affiliateft&affiliate_id=21181&click_id=1509036705&creative_details=2-231999
), flaxseed oil is the best oil to use for seasoning cast iron. However, I’ve been unable to find any except in health-food stores, where it’s sold in capsules. And like just about everything else in health-food stores, it’s too expensive for me to buy. So if what I’m doing now doesn’t work, I’ll search the Internet to see if I can find some food-grade flaxseed oil at a reasonable price.

Because I really like my cast iron!

 

Robyn Jane

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