Cooking with Cast Iron…Finally

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Oh man, has it been fun learning how to cook on one of these bad boys. When you first start your journey into homesteading, cast iron is a no brainer. That is until you bring home your first pan without really doing a ton of research and you attempt to scramble up some eggs. If you are a cast iron user, I am sure your cringing and smiling at the same time. Well when all but a bite of egg was stuck to the bottom of our pan, we tossed it aside and said no way. Well as the years have gone by and cast iron always in the back of our minds, we decided to give it a go one more time. However, this time we were armed with knowledge and confidence.

So off we went, mentally prepared, super excited and ready to make the change into the cast iron world. We brought home two pans. I am not going to lie and say we didn’t keep all of our nasty Teflon pans for a just in case moment. But I will say, we were thumbs upping each other with confidence that this was going to work.

So which seasoning method did we use first?

Well, we read that the best oil to use ranged from crisco to bacon grease to olive oil. Oh my goodness this whole process can be overwhelming. So olive oil we did first. Stuck it in the oven for so many minutes but out came a super sticky pan. We stripped it and tried again. Maybe we didn’t use enough oil. Bam, sticky pan. Hmm, maybe we didn’t leave it in the oven long enough. Bam, sticky pan. So after the third try, we found this method. This super long process that sounded just a tad bit much for me.

But remember our thumbs up to each other? We were committed to this thing.

So we stripped the pans just once more, crossed our fingers and went for it. Let’s talk a little about the fundamentals for a second. I am just going to remind you that we are NOT experts, so I am just going to throw out what we found worked and what didn’t.

Oil

Flax Seed oil worked the best for us. It is a bit more expensive but when you are guaranteed a smooth non sticky surface, I am sold. Flax seed gives the surface of your pan a somewhat hardened layer. Olive oil and vegetable oil came out super sticky for us. And to use bacon grease or crisco, you run the risk of the oil going rancid.

How to apply the oil

Use a lint free material to apply the oil. A handkerchief works well. Do not use paper towels.

Okay, lets season up our pans.

  1. Start with turning on your oven to 200 degrees. Place your pans upside down in your oven for about 10 minutes.

This warms up the pans and opens its pores to allow the oil to soak in.

    2. Pull your pans out and turn your oven off.

3. Now you are going to want to coat the pan, handle outside and all with flax seed oil. The secret here though is to use your hand to rub the oil into all the nooks and crannies. Now I know what you are thinking, but the pan is hot yo. Just give it a minute it will cool down enough to touch it but still warm enough that the pores are still open. If you are being a small baby about it, no one is judging you if you use your towel. Just make sure you get every inch of the pan.

Now, I know you are going to think I am crazy for suggesting this method, but I want you to just hear me out and follow these next steps and DON’T CUT CORNERS. For someone who has ADD and wants to just get things done to get them done, it taught me more than just how to season a pan. I felt a sense of pride when I followed these steps exact and these pans came out perfect.

Are you ready?

4. You just applied all your oil right. Now I want you to take a lint free cloth and wipe it all off. I know, I know, you’re thinking, I am over it let me find a new article to read. I am telling you though, this is the most important part. This step doesn’t allow a sticky residue to be left behind.

5.Place your pan upside down in the oven. Turn your oven to 500 degrees and let it cook for 1 hour. You want your pan to heat up with the oven. Not to go into an already pre heated oven.

6. Once your hour is up, turn off your oven and let it sit there until the oven is completely cool. This took my oven about 2 hours.

Now here is the part where I was like, “this is a bit much, I mean come on…”

Do these steps 5 MORE TIMES.

Yes, a total of 6 times altogether. I am telling you, yes it may be a two to three day process but holy moly, you will have some beautiful pans when you are done. Smooth, non sticky perfect looking cast iron pans.

The trick we found when cooking on them is to use real fat to create a non stick surface. Now I know you are going to cringe but we save our bacon grease and use that to cook. A small dab goes a long way when looking to get those perfectly scrambled eggs.

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I have learned, “fear the fake not the fat.” 

Of course each time you use your pan you season it afterward, which is also creating a stronger non stick surface. The process is much simpler once you created this strong base on your pans.

Let’s talk about what to do after you use your pans.

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I cooked some ground turkey for homemade spaghetti sauce.

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While I did use a dime size serving of bacon grease to help it not stick, I had a residue left over. The little black plastic scrapper on the left of the picture is a must. See, you never really wash these pans with soap because that just strips away all your seasoning. So this little scrapper helps get the food off the pans.

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While the pan is still hot, get your water as hot as possible and run the pan under it. If you run cold water over a hot cast iron, you run the risk of cracking it.

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Use your fancy little scrapper and some elbow grease and try and get as much off as possible. Sometimes you just can’t get it all off. So fill your pan with hot water, put it back on the stove and bring it to a boil. Then try and scrap off as much as you can. Now, for the most important step, you MUST dry your pan completely by putting it in the oven 200 for about 10 -15 minutes or by heating it up on the stove. If you do not dry it all the way, rust will be waiting for you in the morning.

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Once your pan is dry and still a bit warm, drop a dab of flax seed oil and rub it in. Wipe off all the oil as much as you can and you’re done. I mean, look at that beautiful pan.

Oh and these pot holders are an absolute must.

Good luck and let me know how your pans turned out. Leave a comment below.

Happy seasoning!

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5 thoughts on “Cooking with Cast Iron…Finally

  1. I really like that quote – fear the fake, not the fat. We had cast iron skillets growing up, and I loved the way they cooked – guess it might be time to get some more! Thanks for the tips!

    – Christine

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  2. Cast iron pans are a pain in the butt to season. But, once it is done, they are AMAZING. Plus, you can hand them down through generations. No non-stick pan will ever be used by your grandkids.

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  3. I have used nothing but cast iron for well over 20 years, some of which were my dad’s grandmother’s. Need I say more?

    Like

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