SEA­SON­ING

Modern Pioneer - - [blueberry Cornbread] -

When it comes to cast-iron cook­ware, we of­ten en­counter the term “sea­son­ing.” So, just what is it, and why is it so im­por­tant? Ac­cord­ing to the folks at Lodge Man­u­fac­tur­ing, “Sea­son­ing is sim­ply oil baked into the pores of the iron that pre­vents rust and pro­vides a nat­u­ral, easy-re­lease fin­ish.” In other words, it treats the metal and pro­vides a nat­u­ral non­stick sur­face. All metal is por­ous and wa­ter can get trapped in these pores, which causes rust­ing. That’s why most mod­ern cook­ware is treated with Te­flon or a sim­i­lar sub­stance.

The prob­lem with coat­ings like Te­flon is that they’re brit­tle and break down over time. They’re eas­ily scratched and dam­aged, which means traces of the ma­te­rial(s) could mix with your food. Cast iron never wears out if prop­erly cared for. Wash cast-iron cook­ware in warm wa­ter with a mild de­ter­gent, rinse and im­me­di­ately dry with a lint-free cloth. It’s that easy. Even old cast iron can be re­stored. Lodge Man­u­fac­tur­ing has com­plete guides on how to main­tain cast-iron cook­ware on its web­site.

Lodge Man­u­fac­tur­ing uses veg­etable oil to treat its cast-iron cook­ware, and it rec­om­mends that you re­treat the sur­face the same way af­ter cleanup. In the old days, lard was used—and it still can be—but it has draw­backs. If you use cast iron daily, then ba­con fat is per­fect for re-sea­son­ing pans. But, if you don’t cook with your cast iron of­ten, the an­i­mal fat will be­come ran­cid. Sea­son­ing pans with veg­etable oil pre­vents spoilage.

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