Cast iron pans disperse heat evenly, making them ideal for the stove-top or oven. These heavyweight pans are silver when new, but develop a dark black finish with use. Once seasoned, the pans are non-stick, as the oil used in the seasoning process seals tiny pores and creates a black patina that protects the pan from damage and resists sticking. Before you use your new cast iron Dutch oven, take the time to season it properly.
Things You'll Need
- Vegetable oil
- Soft cloth/paper towel
Wash a new Dutch oven with hot soapy water and scrub to remove the protective coating on the pan. The coating was added during manufacture to protect the pan from rusting, but it must be removed before cooking. Rinse away soap and residue with hot water and wipe the Dutch oven dry with a soft cloth.
Apply a thin coat of vegetable oil or shortening to the entire cooking surface of the pan by rubbing with a paper towel or soft cloth. Be sure to coat both sides of the cover and the outside of the Dutch oven. The surface should look glossy and wet, but the oil should not drip from the pan.
Line the bottom of your kitchen oven with aluminum foil and place your Dutch oven upside down on the middle rack in the oven. Heat to 350 to 550 degrees and allow the pan to "cook" for one hour. Turn off oven and allow pan to cool. Repeat the process several times (3 to 5) to season.
After cooking, maintain the surface of your pan by washing it with a mild dish detergent and rinsing with warm water. Wipe dry with a soft cloth and place the pan on a medium burner. Once all moisture has evaporated, rub the inside surface with a thin coat of oil.
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