Friday, January 21, 2011

Family Recipe Friday... It's All In The Seasoning

A HUGE fan of cast iron cookware... I grew up around it and have always loved not only its durability, but it's also the best non-stick cookware known to man!!!

When you purchase a new piece of cast iron cookware today, it is usually considered pres-seasoned. So what does that mean?

It means the cookware is ready to use, as is. Otherwise, you must temper it to make give that non-stick quality. And the manufacturer, as well as most modernists, tell you to lightly grease the pan with solid shortening, turn it upside down in an oven at 200-dgrees farenheit, and bake for 2 to 4 hours [depending upon the manufacturer].

And yes... I have used this method. It works. To a degree. I find that harsh dish detergents then remove this seasoning after only a few washes. And while many disagree on care of the seasoned skillet [can you believe there is controversy over whether to wash it or not?] I am a huge proponent on the old adage 'Cleanliness is next to Godliness' and scrub-a-dub in the dish water!

So, here's the method my grandmother used [born 1897] and which she proclaimed her mother used as well. I find the seasoning lasts much [much, much] longer with this method!!!

In a woodburning cookstove, build a light fire and allow the stove to begin to cool. Lightly grease the cookware with lard, line the pan with potato 'peelin's' [that's the peeled potato skins for those of you not from the mountains!]. Place in the stoves oven just before going to bed at night. When you get up in the morning, remove the pan from the oven. Remove the peels, and wipe clean. It's now ready to be used!!!

Since I haven't a wood burning cook stove, here's the method I still use today, grease the cookware lightly with solid shortening. Line the interior with potato peels [skin side up!]. Place in the oven at 150 degrees [or the warm setting] and allow to stay in the oven overnight. Remove in the morning as above.

This type of seasoning works wonderfully well. I have several skillets which have only been seasoned once since I received them over 35 years ago!

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