How do you season a pan?

JHOP_MiamiFebruary 13, 2005

Hardly anything ever stuck to the inside of Mother's black iron frying pan. She had used it for 20 years, I suppose, before I became aware of that fact, and for the rest of her life that pan was a kitchen wonder. So how can I make my own pan work the same? I have three Le Creuset pans -- one with a so-called nonstick coating, the other two enameled -- and I've never yet cooked an egg or anything else in any of them without leaving a crust on the pan. I have heard of seasoning a pan by heating it in the oven with a coating of oil inside. Just how is that done? What oil is best? Will that work on the Le Creusets? Or am I going to have to buy an old-fashioned black iron pan and start from scratch?

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You don't have to season Le Creuset. Cast iron without any coating needs to be seasoned when new although I believe Lodge Logic doesn't have to be seasoned.

It's odd that you would be leaving a crust in a non-stick pan as even the cheapest non-stick pans don't stick. Perhaps you are using too high a heat?

The enameled surface is not non-stick however and foods will generally stick to it and create a fond which is de glazed as part of the cooking process.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2005 at 8:07PM
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As far as I know, the 'seasoning' process only applies to raw cast iron, not to anything with a coating. Enamel or nonstick shouldn't need and probably can't receive a seasoning.

Instructions on the seasoning process are in the link below. If you are thinking about getting some new cast iron, the Lodge Logic line is pre-seasoned and works pretty good. However, even a beautifully seasoned antique pan with years of good fat cooked into it can be screwed up by using detergents.

Once you have a cast iron pot nicely seasoned, NEVER use detergent. That'll undo the seasoning.

The first few times you use an iron pan, even a pre-seasoned one, cook really fatty stuff like bacon or sausage, or fry fish in it.

Lodge recommends melted shortening to coat the pan with for seasoning. I'm using coconut oil and so far it seems to work fine.

A good source for Lodge cast iron pots is Amazon. Prices are very competitive and if you order more than a certain amount some of the items are eligible for free shipping--not a small sum when you consider how heavy those pots are.

Although they do have specific requirements for care, cast iron items can do some things that nothing else can (searing meat, for instance). Once seasoned, they really aren't much trouble at all. But for sticky stuff or eggs, you might want to get a good nonstick pan. I got 3 Tramontina skillets at Sam's--heavy aluminum, with what seems to be a good nonstick coating--for under $30. Very pleased.

Here is a link that might be useful: seasoning cast iron

    Bookmark   February 13, 2005 at 8:15PM
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For scrambled eggs non-stick pans are probably best but for fried eggs I think a well seasoned cast iron pan can't be beat if used properly. The pan MUST be pre-heated. Cast iron takes longer than aluminum to pre-heat because it is not as good a heat conductor and cast iron pans generally have a lot more mass to heat than aluminum pans. I pre-heat my 12" cast iron skillet (for eggs) for 5 minutes on low heat. You can tell when the pan is pre-heated by dropping a small amount of butter into the pan; if it bubbles immediately the pan is ready. If not wipe the butter out with a paper towel and continue to pre-heat. If you're using fat to cook with it also has to be pre-heated. This part won't take long with cast iron. If you're using butter just wait until the bubbles disappear. A well seasoned cast iron pan used in this way will be virtually non-stick. I love the flavor of fried eggs cooked in cast iron and butter. You simply can't get that flavor with non-stick.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 8:52PM
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