Cooking Louisiana - Seasoning Cast Iron Pots

Seasoning your cast iron pots is really easy. Keeping them seasoned is sometimes the hard part. Seasoning the pot makes for a non-stick surface and prevents rusting. 

When purchasing cast iron cookware look inside the pot and choose one with the smoothest surface. They're all rough but some are a little better than others. 

1.  Turn the oven on 300F.  Wash the new pot and lid with soap and hot water to remove the waxed surface coating. This coating is put on by the manufacturer to prevent rusting. Rinse it very well with very hot water. Put it in the oven for about 15 minutes "dry" (no oil yet) to cook away any moisture. Take it out and let it cool a little.

2.   Coat the entire pot and lid with cooking oil (I prefer peanut oil, some say lard). Put the pot and lid in the oven for about 15 minutes. If you leave it in the oven too long the oil turns to a sticky & hard coating.  Turn the oven off leaving the pot in the oven to cool. When cool enough to handle wipe off any excess oil and you're done. Repeating this process makes it even better.

This is just the beginning to having a well performing cast iron pot. For the next step fry something in it, chicken, shrimp, fries, whatever. Doing this guaranties a good coating of oil, and, the temperature is a little hotter so the seasoning is a little better. When done, allow the oil to cool in the pot before disposing of it. 

What all of this does is gets oil in the pores of the cast iron. Unlike aluminum and stainless steel cast iron is a porous metal. Heating cast iron actually opens the pores and allows it to breath in a sense. When it cools the pores close up and holds oil, you get the idea.

For the next several uses, cook dishes that use oil and very little water. After using the pot do the original seasoning thing again in the oven (step 2 only). The more often you do this at the beginning the better the seasoning will be, but, only at the beginning. 

Washing the cast iron pot properly is important. Whatever you do never put your cast iron cookware in the dishwasher. Doing this will wash away all of the oil you worked so hard to get in it. 

You should simply use only hot water. If you feel like you must absolutely use soap be sure the pot is cool and use only cold water, and, only a drop or two of dish liquid. Rinse it out well with cold water first, then, finish rinsing with hot water. Use a scouring pad or something rough (not steel wool soap pads) to remove any stuck on food. Rinse it good with hot water and dry it good. You can cook out any residual water by putting the pot on the stove dry and turning the fire on medium for about 30 seconds.

Using the cookware often will make it better and better. Try not to cook gumbos in it until you've done several other dishes. Don't use the pot to boil water in. Treat it well and it will serve you well for many years. The pot shown here is well over 40 years old. It was rusting away under my in-laws camp in Cocodrie, La. I resurrected it and it's still doing the job today!

If your pot is rusted and you want to know how to clean it click here.

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