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Old 05-23-2005, 11:57 AM   #1
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Seasoning cast iron

i got a great deal on 4 antique cast iron skillets at a festival last night. i'm trying to season them right now. i rubbed them down with shortening, handles and all, and put them in a 350 oven with baking pans on the lower rack to grab drips. i opened the window in the screen door. have i got it covered?
is it going ttto smoke my house up?

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Old 05-23-2005, 12:15 PM   #2
 
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Your oven may be too hot. I usually set the oven for the lowest temp and leave them in longer.
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Old 05-23-2005, 12:20 PM   #3
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okay! i'll turn it down right now! thanks, choc!
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Old 05-23-2005, 12:24 PM   #4
 
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You are welcome luvs!
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Old 05-23-2005, 12:37 PM   #5
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After reading so many posts about seasoning cast iron, and having tried various techniques myself, I have come to the conclusion that their are several good techniques.

I would have thought that baking in a 350' oven wouldn't work because it wasn't hot enough. I bake mine at 450' until they quit smoking, which creates a relatively hard patina that seals the pan from the outside world. Then, when all has cooled, I wipe them with a thin coat of oil and use as needed.

I have also heard of people who wipe with shortening and season on top of the stove, heating a thin layer until it quits smoking, and repeating to create several cooked on layers.

Others pan-fry things like french-fries, or chicken in a couple inches of oil to season their pans. While still others wipe a coat of shortening or oil on the cooking surface and insides, and start cooking right away, develpoing the seasoning more each time they use the pan.

I'm beginning to think that as long as you get the shortening or oil to lightly coat the metal, and apply heat, the iron will season itself.

The advantage of my method is that it truly seals the pan and makes it virtually stick-free, with a light coating of fresh oil added before use. The pan can then be used to cook almost any type of food without having to worry about off-flavors from metalic ions given up by the pan. The disadvantage is that it smokes up the house something fierce. I have to open all of the windows and doors to avoid setting off the fire alarms. But I only have to do it once for each pan.

My wok is harder to season as it has a non-removable wooden handle. I can't season it in the oven. I have to use the stove-top, which is slower and not as thorough.

In any case, try CC's method. If it works for her, it should work for you, and you will avoid smoking up the house. If you don't like it, try mine, but be prepared to open every window and door. Otherwise, you'll look like this.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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Old 05-23-2005, 12:40 PM   #6
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I do mine at 350 and it has worked perfectly. I heat the pan up a little first then wipe it down with Crisco. Bake upside down at 350 for an hour then I turn off the oven and leave the pan in the oven to cool slowly. I usually do this at night and once I turn the oven off I just leave the pan until the next morning. Works like a charm every time.
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Old 05-23-2005, 12:48 PM   #7
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thanks, all. at the last minute, i decided to just leave the stove at 350, and GB, i did your method exactly. we'll see how they turn out; i'll do the egg test in them. they'll be done in 5 minutes. my pans, i mean.
BTW, i'm glad i have to keep rubber gloves around for my nurses! i used a pair to grease the pan and it kept my hands clean as a whistle! i'm keeping a box in the kitchen from now on for things like greasing pans and draining tuna!
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Old 05-23-2005, 12:51 PM   #8
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I would not use the egg test right away, but that is just me. the first few times I would cook something fatty. I cooked up a pound of bacon for my first one. It helps season the pan and , well, bacon is just so yummy
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Old 05-23-2005, 12:53 PM   #9
 
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The reason I do the low temperature season, or the cooking with oil seasoning -- is because I am forgetful.

I have been known to have cast iron break into pieces, cause I forgot I was seasoning a pan on higher heat, and was in another room.

Then you will hear a dreadful ping, and your pan is done for.
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Old 05-23-2005, 01:00 PM   #10
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uh-oh.
good thing i took out a life insurance policy.
gulp.
my house is filled with a haze of smoke and it reeks of grease.
i can see it now.
Mom will come home from work sometime after 5.
i'll hear shrieks of 'WHY does my house smell like GREASE?!!!!!!! WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?!!!!!!'
she'll fly up the stairs and into my room and TRY to get out a good swear word, but she won't be able to, cause my Mom doesn't know how to swear properly, and then .
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