Increase the lifespan of your cast iron by seasoning it regularly! Learn more about seasoning cast iron with coconut oil below!
Cast iron is a popular material for manufacturing household cookware due to its favorable properties such as high tensile strength, excellent castability, good machinability, and low cost. They make cast iron by melting pig iron, scrap iron, and other metals in a furnace and then pouring the liquid into a mold. The process can be done manually or with machines and results in a dense, strong, and brittle material.
Despite its strength, cast iron’s high carbon content makes it prone to rusting and less corrosion-resistant than other types of iron. To counter this, the best way is to season cast iron cookware by coating it with oil and heating it which further creates a protective layer.
Why Seasoning is Important?
Seasoning cast iron is an important process that enhances its performance and prolongs its lifespan. Here are some reasons why seasoning cast iron is important:
1. Prevents Rust
When you season a cast iron utensil, you’re practically creating a protective layer on the cast iron that stops it from rusting. This ensures the longevity of the utensil and prevents it from general wear and tear over time.
2. Non-Stick Surface
Seasoning cast iron creates a non-stick surface that makes cooking and cleaning easier. Food won’t stick to the surface, making it easier to cook and preventing the need for excessive scrubbing that can result in damaging the utensils further.
3. Improves Flavor
To add flavor to your food, seasoning cast iron with oil is one of the best ways. The oil penetrates the surface and creates a cooking surface that has flavors in it.
4. Increases Surface Hardness
The protective layer of the oil over the cast iron strengthens the surface that makes it more durable and resistant to scratches and damage.
Regular seasoning helps to maintain the cast iron in good condition, ensuring that it performs at its best over time.
Overall, seasoning cast iron is an important process that helps to enhance its performance, improve its flavor, and extend its lifespan.
Seasoning Cast Iron with Coconut Oil
- Clean the Cast Iron: Clean the cast iron thoroughly, removing any rust and residue from previous use. You can do this by scrubbing it with hot water, then drying it completely.
- Apply Oil: Using a clean cloth or paper towel, apply a thin layer of melted coconut oil to the entire surface of the cast iron, including the sides and bottom.
- Heat: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Place the cast iron in the oven on the middle rack and heat it for 30 minutes.
- Remove: After 30 minutes, remove the cast iron from the oven and let it cool completely.
- Repeat: Repeat this process 2-3 times to build up a layer of seasoning on the cast iron.
- Store: After the final seasoning, wipe any excess oil off the cast iron with a paper towel, then store it in a cool, dry place.
Is Coconut Oil Bad for Seasoning Cast Iron
It’s important to note that coconut oil is prone to going rancid over time, so it’s not the best choice for long-term cast iron seasoning. While coconut oil is a popular oil for cooking and health benefits, it is not recommended for seasoning cast iron. This is because coconut oil has a low smoke point, meaning it burns at a lower temperature than other oils. When used to season cast iron, it can break down and produce a sticky residue that is difficult to remove.
Additionally, coconut oil has a high saturated fat content which can go rancid over time, leaving a rancid taste on your cast iron cookware. The rancid oil can also produce smoke when heated, which can affect the flavor of your food.
Best Oil for Seasoning Cast Iron
It is recommended to use oils with a high smoke point, such as flaxseed oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil, for seasoning cast iron. These oils have a higher smoke point and are less likely to break down when heated, providing a durable, non-stick coating for your cast iron cookware.
Yes, using canola oil for seasoning cast iron is a good option as it has a neutral flavor, a high smoke point, and is relatively inexpensive. Additionally, it is low in saturated fat, making it a healthier option compared to other oils. By seasoning your cast iron with canola oil, you will create a non-stick surface that will make cooking easier and help prevent rust. Here’s how to do it:
- Make sure that you clean the cast iron utensil properly so that it’s squeaky clean of the residue from cooking. Dry the utensil after cleaning it.
- Apply a thin layer of canola oil to the utensil’s surface including sides and bottoms with a paper towel or a soft brush.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and put the utensil in the oven on the middle rack and heat it for 30 minutes.
- Once done, remove the cast iron from the oven and let it cool completely.
- Repeat this process 2-3 times to build up a layer of seasoning on the cast iron.
- After the final seasoning, wipe any excess oil off the cast iron with a paper towel and store it in a cool, dry place.
How Often to Season Cast Iron?
How often to season cast iron depends on how often you use it and the conditions in which you store it. In general, it is a good idea to season your cast iron every few months, or more frequently if you use it often. Here are some guidelines for how often to season cast iron:
1. After each use
After using your cast iron, clean it thoroughly and then apply a light coating of oil to the surface. This will help to maintain the seasoning and prevent rust from forming.
2. Every few months
If you use your cast iron infrequently, season it every few months to maintain its non-stick surface and prevent rust from forming.
3. After exposure to moisture
If your cast iron has been exposed to moisture, it’s important to season it as soon as possible to prevent rust from forming.
4. When the surface starts to look dull
If the surface of your cast iron starts to look dull or discolored, it may be a sign that the seasoning has worn off. In this case, it’s a good idea to re-season it to maintain its performance.
How To Store Cast Iron?
Storing cast iron properly is essential to maintaining its seasoning, preventing rust, and extending its lifespan. To ensure that your cast iron is always ready to use and performs at its best, it’s important to take proper care of it.
After using cast iron, it’s important to clean it thoroughly and dry it completely. This will prevent moisture from building up, which can cause rust. Moisture can quickly cause cast iron to deteriorate, so it’s essential to store it in a dry place away from moisture and humidity. Avoid storing cast iron in damp basements or near the sink, where it may be exposed to water.
To protect your cast iron from dust and other particles, consider covering it with a protective cover or cloth. This will help to keep the surface clean and free from debris, which can interfere with the seasoning. If you have multiple cast iron pieces, be sure to stack them carefully to avoid scratching the surface or damaging the seasoning.
Avoid storing cast iron in the dishwasher, as the high heat and moisture can damage the seasoning and cause rust to form. Dishwashers can be tough on cast iron, so it’s best to avoid storing it in these appliances. Instead, store cast iron in a dry, cool place where it won’t be exposed to moisture or heat.