If you're a serious chef, having cast iron cookware is a vital part of your kitchen. You can use cast iron cookware for anything, and cast iron skillets are especially versatile and can be used to make many different dishes -- even giant cookies. And to make this equipment last, you have to know how to properly take care of it.
Seasoning a cast iron skillet is an important part of its care because it protects the skillet from rusting by making it shiny and sleek. This process also gives your skillet a non-stick surface that traditional cast iron skillets lack. You can easily tell if your skillet needs to be seasoned if the surface appears dull or rusty, and the process is simple.
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
2. Thoroughly wash the skillet in hot soapy water and scrub the surface well
3. Dry the skillet with paper towels
4. Pour a thin layer of vegetable oil or melted shortening into the skillet. Be careful not to pour in too much -- one or two tablespoons is enough.
5. Rub the coat around the skillet with paper towels, making sure the entire surface is well covered on all sides
6. Place the skillet upside down in the oven and bake for an hour. To catch any oil that may drip off, place foil on a rack below the skillet.
7. After an hour, turn off the heat and let the skillet cool in the oven before removing.