Definition of Seasoning: To season a cast iron pan means to create a slick and glassy coating by baking on multiple thin coats of oil. This will protect the cast iron pan from getting rusted and makes for a non-stick cooking surface.
The following principles can be applied to most non enamelled cast iron items such as skillets, frypans, pots, jaffle irons and camp ovens.
Seasoning Cast Iron Camp Ovens & Skillets
- Build a hot fire in a fire pit
- Wash the cast iron skillet or camp oven. Use a metal scouring scrubber to remove any rust or other grime on the skillet
- Dry the skillet or camp oven thoroughly using paper towels.
- Coat the entire skillet or camp oven with a thick layer of vegetable oil or shortening. If your skillet or camp oven has a lid, coat the lid in the same way.
- Place a grill grate over the hot fire and set the skillet or camp oven upside down on the grate. If it has a lid, you can place the coated lid on and set the skillet or camp oven on the grate.
- Allow the item to season until the fire goes out and the cast iron is cool enough to touch with bare hands.
- Wash the item with clear water and dry it with paper towels. It is now seasoned and ready to use.
Important: Unless you use your cast iron daily, they should be washed briefly with a little soapy water and then rinsed and thoroughly dried in order to rid them of excess surface oil. If you do not do this, the surplus oil will become rancid within a couple of days.
Remember: Every time you cook in your cast iron frying pan or oven, you are actually seasoning it again by filling in the microscopic pores and valleys that are part of the cast iron surface. The more you cook, the smoother the surface becomes!
You can also season cast iron with a lid by placing the skillet directly into the hot coals after the flames have toned down.
Seasoning a cast iron skillet in the oven is just as simple. Preheat the oven to 120 Degrees Celsius and place the skillet on the rack and let "cook" overnight. Always use vegetable oil or shortening to season cast iron. Animal fats, such as lard, can become rancid over time and affect the taste of the foods cooked in the skillet.
Cleaning Cast Iron Pots and Skillets in a Fire
- Build a fire. Avoid very hot fires, such as you would get with charcoal briquettes or well-seasoned oak. Brush piles or burning leaves make a suitable fire that isn't too hot. Allow the fire to burn a while until you have some coals.
- Insert the skillet or pot into the fire. Shove it in at one corner. Nudge it closer to the middle of the fire, so that the entire skillet, including the handle, is within the flames. The flames will burn off the old build up.
- Leave the skillet in the fire until the fire burns out. Don't add any more fuel to the fire. Allow the skillet to cool in the ashes.
- Remove the skillet from the ashes. Wash it with soap and water and dry. All of the old build up should be burned off
- Re-season the skillet as described above.