Non-stick pans are the trend nowadays. With these, you can cook sunny side-up without using oil. Or if you need to use oil, you can use a very minimal amount. But do you know that an old-school cast iron skillet can be turned to a non-stick pan? If you own an old cast iron skillet or any cast iron cookware, it will be cheaper to season it rather than buy another non-stick cookware.
Seasoning a cast iron cookware is making it work like a non-stick cookware without the expensive price tag. Doing so can also maintain the beauty and quality of the skillet.
Cast Iron Skillet Seasoning
Seasoning a cast iron skillet is surprisingly easy and cheap. All you need are a box of lard, kitchen paper towel, a cook top, an oven, and the steps below:
- Prepare the cast iron skillet. New cast iron skillets are coated with anti-rust protection. Remove this first by washing it using hot water mixed with mild detergent. For used skillet, wipe the whole surface using a clean cloth damped in hot water.
- Wipe off the excess water from the skillet’s surface. Dry it off completely by heating the skillet on your cook top. Let the skillet to cool down. While waiting, pre-heat the oven by turning it to 200 degrees.
- Cover the skillet with lard. Use paper towel to get some lard and wipe it on the skillet’s surface. When wiping, it is always better to put too much than too little lard. The entire skillet’s surface should be covered with lard. This includes the inside, the handle, and the exterior wall of the skillet. Just don’t apply some lard on the skillet’s bottom. The lard will burn off when the skillet is used over fire.
- Place the cast iron skillet in the oven. Let the skillet be heated for three hours. The low temperature and the length of time will encourage opening of the skillet’s iron pores. This will help the lard to penetrate in the cast iron while it is liquefying.
- Let the skillet cool down. Wipe the excess lard off using paper towel once the cast iron is cool enough. This will leave a thin coat of lard on the skillet surface. After an hour or two, wipe the skillet again with a paper towel and let it cool again.
Finally, the cast iron skillet is ready to use. But the job is not over yet unless you follow the tips below:
- Cook only greasy foods the first time you use the skillet after seasoning it.
- Skillet will smoke during the first uses. This is normal because the heat is still burning the water and lard that were trapped in the cast iron.
- Wipe the skillet with lard or bacon grease every month or use it to cook greasy meat. This will maintain the non-stick property of your cast iron skillet.
- Season the skillet every two years by following the steps above.
- Remove the food as soon as possible after cooking it using the skillet. Letting the food to sit on it might only remove the skillet’s seasoning.
- Wash the cast iron skillet using warm water and mild soap after every use. Do not wash the skillet using the dishwasher or the seasoning might be removed.
- Dry the skillet after washing by heating it on the cook top.
So there, enjoy your newly improved non-stick cast iron skillet. The seasoning steps and tips above can also be used for other cast iron cookware.