Most cast iron skillets need to be seasoned before their first use.
Corrosion Protection of Cast Iron Skillets
At delivery many cast iron skillets have a so-called corrosion protection. Manufacturers do this to prevent rust. Therefore it is often necessary to remove the corrosion protection before it can be seasoned. You can remove this protection e.g. with the aid of a rinsing brush and a rinsing agent. Whether there is corrosion protection at all on your cast iron skillet and how this can be best removed is usually also highlighted in the enclosed instructions. You should check those instructions in any case.
Ways to Season Cast Iron Skillets
There are severalways of seasoning a cast iron skillet. Following are the simplest and most well known:
- One possibility is adding a heatable oil in the skillet, for example rapeseed oil, optionally also mixed with salt. Heat until the oil smokes. Then the oil can be poured away and the skillet can be rubbed with the remaining oil using a clean cloth. If necessary you can repeat this procedure, but usually one application is sufficient.
- Another way of seasoning your cast iron skillet is to add oil until the bottom of the it is covered. Care must be taken to ensure that the oil is highly heatable. The oil should then be boiled up to the smoke point while the skillet is very carefully turned back and forth. Wait for the oil to cool down, then repeat the procedure three or four times. Just like the previous method, this one includes rubbing in the oil with a clean cloth.
- Many chefs are also convinced that the best way of seasoing is by placing a highly heatable oil, salt and potatoes in the skillet and heating them until the potatoes are dark brown to black. When they are, all the ingredients can be removed and the skillet should be rubbed with oil.
Our target for seasoning is achieved when there is a black to dark brown smooth layer on the surface of the skillet.
Keep in mind:
You shouldn’t miss greasing with oil after every use. Otherwise your precious skillet will start to rust. Nowadays many manufacturers deliver pre-seasoned skillets, so this might not be such a big headache for you as you start with your new skillet.
If yours is a pre-seasoned one it should be stated in the accompanying instructions.
Cleaning with a dishwashing detergent or cooking acidic foods may damage the surface of the cast iron skillet. Every time that happens a new seasoning is necessary. You will know when you need to repeat seasoning, because your skillet will lose its non-stickyness.