How do you season your favorite piece of cast iron cookware?

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Pocs

Guest
First, the older the better, if you can acquire your grandmothers cast iron or get your hands on a old piece at a yard sale, you've got a great start. The older it is the easier it is to season. I usually wipe my cast iron down with a small amount of oil, put in a low temperature oven and heat for a few hours. My mother says the best way is to wipe with lard and throw it directly into a fire and let it heat until the coals are just smoldering.
 
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FilmFan

Guest
Hello Pocs!

That sounds like a really good method! I've heard that lard and other animal fats work best, but I usually season my cast iron cookware with vegetable oils.

There is an old Chinese saying that goes, "The best fertilizer is the gardener's shadow." Whether it's a real Chinese saying or not, I always liked that quote! I like to think of cast iron as, "The best seasoning is the cook's shadow." I've heard the best way to really season cast iron is to just make sure you use it often and to be sure to use it with oil every time! I try to use mine every chance I get, outside or inside.

I've never been brave enough to give the direct-to-fire method a shot, but if I ever find lard around here, I'll try out your method! Thanks for sharing!
 
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Gregory Williams

Guest
Was lucky to acquire my Father's Father's FATHER's cast iron skillets (2) and some of my Father's gear as well. One of the pans we have is over 100 years old and shows very little wear, save my son's abuse of it by soap. I have twice had to restart the seasoning process. Easy enough: throw it in the oven on the Self-Cleaning cycle and reduce all the coating to ash. Wipe out, and recoat with vegetabel oil. Takes a while to catch up, but can really be a good thing from time to time.

I have replaced all my useless Revere Ware and Calphalon with cast iron! It is my exclusive skillet and pan collection, with only two soup pots and a double boiler for my sauces. Can't get enough of them!
 
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steph84

Guest
I bought a few from a yard sale and my grandma told me to "wash" it buy rubbing some salt in it and then cooking with it. Has anyone used this method before? I totally used soap and ruined it.
 
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Parker

Guest
I bought a few from a yard sale and my grandma told me to "wash" it buy rubbing some salt in it and then cooking with it. Has anyone used this method before? I totally used soap and ruined it.

I have my grandmother's cast iron skillet. I clean it with rock sea salt and then rub it with oil.
 
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shaun

Guest
I used the low and slow method. I rubbed the skillet with bacon grease and heated on a very low temperature for 2-3 hours. I've seasoned another cast iron pan in the oven on a higher temperature. The oven was on so I thought i might as well use it to season the pan.
 
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dissn_it

Guest
I have used Crisco's solid shortening after every use for years and my cast iron pans look brand new. I just clean them really good in hot water, dry them really well and then rub some Crisco all around the pan, inside and out. I then set it upside down on a broiler pan and put it in in the oven at 250 for about an hour. I shut off the oven and just leave it in there until morning to cool slowly.
 
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Briquet

Guest
Ours came preseasoned. To maintain seasoning, when it's still hot, my husband scrubs out the pan, then puts a dollop of coconut oil in it. Once the coconut oil melts, he rubs it in and then lets the pan cool.

Perhaps we should be putting it in the oven for awhile as the rest of you do, though.
 
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Pocs

Guest
I bought a few from a yard sale and my grandma told me to "wash" it buy rubbing some salt in it and then cooking with it. Has anyone used this method before? I totally used soap and ruined it.


I use salt also, usually rock or kosher. Another trick my grandmother told me was, when your out camping use pebbles or sand to clean them, use a handful, scrub, wipe them out and throw them back in fire to get rid of the grit. I have never tried but maybe some of you have and you can tell me how it worked.
 
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FilmFan

Guest
I bought a few from a yard sale and my grandma told me to "wash" it buy rubbing some salt in it and then cooking with it. Has anyone used this method before? I totally used soap and ruined it.

Hello steph84!

The good news is that I've rarely heard of a cast iron pan getting "ruined." If you diligently season it properly, it will return to new! There are some great methods here talked about already. Bacon grease would smell particularly good! ;)

That is interesting that there are so many methods, from coconut oil to Crisco. I read about recently a method that used flaxseed oil. After you "strip" the current seasoning off a pan (such as by running it through the dishwasher), you apply a thin layer of flaxseed oil all over the pan and put it into a 500 degree oven for an hour. Then, you let the pan cool down and you repeat doing that 4 or 5 more times. It'd be a very long day, so I don't see why you couldn't do this over the course of a few days, without using the pan of course. I think the idea is that flaxseed oil is just edible linseed oil, the type used by painters. By using such a high heat (which breaks the smoke point for the oil), the properties of the oil in the carbon (the carbon that forms from the oil because it, well, burns) will bind with the iron. This method is supposed to give a really great nonstick coat and shine, but I have not tried it myself to honestly know! Throw me into the camp of regularly using and oiling the pan!

I might have to try coconut oil or Crisco though for a good season since vegetable oil seems a little "goopy."
 
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grillqueen79

Guest
I use Crisco and a low fire to season them, and to clean them I use rock salt and occasionally baking soda. We are headed out to a relative's this weekend to get some "heirloom" cast iron.
 
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