How to season cast iron (?)

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How to season cast iron (?)

Postby dratkinson » Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:13 pm

All I want is a non-stick cast iron skillet, so I can cook some scrambled eggs without them sticking.

Seasoning CI is probably common knowledge for most of you, but there are a lot of us who don't know how to do it, and I'm one.

I was certain that you all had already posted this method and was a little surprised that I didn't find a sticky here. (I also searched for 'season cast iron'.)



Searching, I found this over at the Camp-Cook website:

Seasoning your cast iron...Florida Style.
http://camp-cook.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1497

I tried it. I did it inside, over a hot electric stove top, vent fan on high. About 10 layers of olive oil.

It seemed to work okay. But the coating didn't last more than a couple of meals and then it was back to sticking.

It was probably "operator error" on my part. But I thought I followed the instructions closely.

I'm not really looking forward to spending the better part of another hour standing over smoking oil to try this method again.



So, still searching, I've now found these related links from the same author and plan to try them next. Author claims there is science behind her method.


Perfect Popovers (& How to Clean & Reseason Cast Iron)
http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/ ... cast-iron/

Above method cleans CI down to bare metal in preparation for the seasoning process. (Says for strongest non-stick coating, seasoning must adhere to base metal.)


"Black Rust" and Cast Iron Seasoning
http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/ ... seasoning/

Above method creates a stronger "black rust" base coat to which the final seasoning can adhere. (Says it's kinda like bluing gun metal, but food safe.)


Chemistry of Cast Iron Seasoning: A Science-Based How-To
http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/ ... cast-iron/

This seasoning process (6 layers) is performed in an oven. Set timer, walk away and forget it until each layer is done.

Sound like this method is right up my alley.



Have any of you tried Sheryl's method? Were you pleased with the results?

Does anyone have a simpler method for seasoning CI to produce a long-lasting, non-stick surface? Links please.

Would it be possible to create a sticky of the best method (or recommended methods) to use to season CI? It would save others the time required to reinvent this common-knowledge wheel.



/TIA
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Postby Ratkity » Fri Jul 08, 2011 9:43 pm

I haven't tried Sheryl's method, but I like what I read (all except the organic part - I have an issue with things labeled organic - long story).

My pans looks like her before pictures. The problem with her method is that it's very hot in my house (no AC) and I doubt I'll attempt any re-seasonings until it cools off some.

Do her method and take pictures!!

Hugs,
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Postby dratkinson » Sat Jul 09, 2011 12:46 am

Ratkity wrote:...
Do her method and take pictures!!


I probably won't get to it anytime soon. But, if someone else wants to do it (because re-seasoning your CI was next on your list), then please feel free to do so and post your results here for all our benefit.

When and if I do get around to it, I was planning to use olive oil... to save myself a trip to a specialty foods store just to buy flaxseed oil (refrigeration required and I have no other use for it). But if someone could demonstrate for themselves/us that flaxseed oil produces a superior coating, then I could be persuaded to change my mind.

Or maybe we could write to "America's Test Kitchen" and ask Chris Kimble how they do this... though I don't recall ever seeing them cook anything in CI. :-)
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Postby slowcowboy » Sat Jul 09, 2011 6:38 am

Slow uses pam. I use bacon grease and I just after one or so coats start cooking. I don't get elaborte at seasoning.

I don't wash out with water afterwards. I use a paper towel and whip down.

seems to work for me. slowcowboy, one of the worst cooks.
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Postby Rarin2go » Sat Jul 09, 2011 7:46 am

There is a sticky right here in Cast Iron for seasoning your CI.
We just use Crisco and an oven at 250 degrees for a couple of hours. Do not need to use harsh detergents to clean up after use, just wash out and dry.
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Postby sdakotadoug » Sun Jul 10, 2011 8:57 am

The problem may not be the seasoning but the cleaning afterwords. What ever you use to clean don't remove the seasoning. I also season with Pam it has canola in it on my can. I ususally just add a little water, bring it to a near boil, dump out, dry/wipe it out, and recoat with Pam. Wipe again and your done. Works for me Doug
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Postby sagebrush » Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:07 pm

My Mother had a favorite CI skillet she used for eggs ONLY. After cooking she would let the skillet cool, wiped it with a paper towel, and applied several drops of cooking oil or dab of butter and wiped with a clean paper towel. Ready for eggs again. She cooked over campfires, wood stoves gas stoves electric stoves( even a Coleman stove once) Never had a sticking problem And woe upon anyone who used the egg skillet for ham or bacon. :x :( ( trust me on that) Will
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Postby dratkinson » Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:34 am

Rarin2go wrote:There is a sticky right here in Cast Iron for seasoning your CI.
We just use Crisco and an oven at 250 degrees for a couple of hours. Do not need to use harsh detergents to clean up after use, just wash out and dry.


I called myself looking but didn't see it when I was searching. Thanks.

According to the video and Rita (?), the process is simpler than I've been trying to make it.

Will try it.


sagebrush wrote:...
And woe upon anyone who used the egg skillet for ham or bacon. ( trust me on that) Will


Okay, I'm curious. Why can't you mix cooking eggs, ham, and bacon in the same skillet? Is there a food-specific reason, or is it just because momma said so?
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Postby sagebrush » Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:27 pm

sagebrush wrote:...
And woe upon anyone who used the egg skillet for ham or bacon. ( trust me on that) Will


Okay, I'm curious. Why can't you mix cooking eggs, ham, and bacon in the same skillet? Is there a food-specific reason, or is it just because momma said so?[/quote]

:thinking: Don't know the reason but eggs would stick if the skillet was used for anything other than eggs. :thinking: And my sister has the same attitude about her egg skillet.
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Postby parnold » Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:40 pm

:thinking: Don't know the reason but eggs would stick if the skillet was used for anything other than eggs. :thinking: And my sister has the same attitude about her egg skillet


So now I need to get another skillet?????

:cry: :x
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Postby bobhenry » Tue Jul 12, 2011 6:37 am

All I know is I have an ancient skillet that I can fry an egg in with ease. If it gets used for the meat ( especially ham ) the ham sticks unless I darn near boil it and for the next couple tries the eggs are a bit uncooperative.
Cooking eggs require a great deal less heat than most breakfast meats maybe this higher cooking temps in part causes this effect.
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Postby tom in indy » Wed Jul 13, 2011 2:53 pm

Hi all,
I was active in Boy Scouts for 35 years, I used Cast Iron exclusively.
Whenever I got "new" C.I. I would wash it with hot soapy water (yes I used soap ONE time and ONLY one time) rinse it real well. Then I would then boil water in it to make sure all the soap was out.
One of the best ways to season it was to use it for deep frying something, usually fruit pies.
Easy recipe: caned biscuts, rolled out to a circle, put about 1 tbsp of pie filling, apple, chery, peach... on dough, seal edges so it looks like a "D" then deep fry :awesome:

when done frying let oil cool, pour the oil out and wipw with paper towel done.

After that I would clean with water, might need to boil out any stuck stuff then heat CI to dry and apply oil or shortning to warm/hot CI. let cool then put away.
If you have a CI dutch oven or bean pot or anything with a lid it is best to make sure it is completely cool and dry BEFORE storing with the lid on.

When I camp I will have 3 or 4 dutchovens, 2 bean pots, and 4 or 5 skillets.
I do have a skillet that I only use for breakfast, but I almost always make the same breakfast:
Farmers breakfast: 1# bacon chopped and cooked, or sausage browned then set meat aside. Keep grease in skillet, add 1 package of frozen potatoes O'Brien to hot oil, when browned add meat when meat is warm add 6 to 12 eggs to skillet and scramble into meat and potatoes when eggs are cooked add 6-8oz of shredded cheese to top :thumbsup: 6 eggs will serve 4 people 12 eggs will serve 4 hungry people.
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Postby honeask » Wed Jul 13, 2011 3:39 pm

Welcome Tom.......and dang it! Now I have fried pies on my mind, not a good thing! :cry: :lol: :lol:
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Postby dratkinson » Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:17 am

Anyway, still thinking about fixing my CI skillet.

I cooked a pot roast yesterday. Decided to used the oven for double-duty and threw my skillet on the lower rack with a thin (wiped dry) coat of olive oil (inside only).

My pot roast recipe says to cook it for 2.5 hours at 325F. The smoke temp of olive oil is 320F... so that should be okay, especially since my oven does over-shoot a little. (Sheryl's method says final heat should be above the smoke temperature. Sheryl provides link to smoke temperature chart of various cooking oils.)

I started my pot roast in the morning, set my electric oven's stop timer, and didn't look in the oven again until late afternoon. By then the oven was cool, my meal was done, and so was the skillet. Simple.

I don't know if the skillet smoked because I had the oven exhaust fan on low and I never smelled anything. (The only vent my oven has is a small one on the back panel and it's well under the range hood.)

Results. Not bad. Surface still looks a little blotchy, but eggs didn't stick near as much this morning (and those that tried to, scraped off easily with my metal spachula).

Looks like I may need to cook a pizza (425F) tonight and work on my skillet's second layer. I'll set two timers. The oven stop timer for 1 hour, and an audible timer for 25 minutes to tell me when to remove the pizza. Simple.

Looks like I may have found my lazy method of CI seasoning. Do it when I'm cooking something else in the oven. (Certainly beats standing over smoking oil.)
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Postby Ratkity » Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:29 am

No using a metal spatula!! You'll scrape off the coating. Use plastic.

Hugs,
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