No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill

Monday, June 24, 2013

How to Season Your Iron Skillet

Anyone who is a true "foodie"  will tell you that some of the best foods are cooked in an iron skillet.  I will even guarantee that Paula Dean is a frequent user of iron skillets!  There is something about the taste of food once it has been cooked in an iron skillet, that is different from how it tastes in anything else.  Iron skillets are so durable and are almost impossible to destroy or ruin.  But, most people are intimidated from using them just for the fact that it takes a little bit of know how to use one.  What did people do before Teflon and how good for us is the substitute really?  I am reminded of days of old when life was simpler and farm wives cooked countless meals in these relics.  I can almost smell the fried chicken, fried potatoes, and even corn bread coming from the ovens of these homesteads. 

There are many types of iron skillets, however my skillet of choice is the tried and true Griswold.  It is as smooth as silk and lighter than most models.  I am not certain that Griswold is still in business, but they are easy to find at flea markets and antique stores.  Another trusted brand is Lodge and they can be found in most stores.

Here are the easy steps to preparing and using your iron skillet:

To Season Your Skillet:
1. Wash your new/used skillet with mild soap and water.

2.  Warm your skillet on the stove top and rub it with Crisco inside and out.

3. Place it in the oven upside down.  Put a cookie sheet underneath to catch the drippings.

4. Bake for 20-30 minutes on 350 degrees.

5. Take it out and let it cool.

To Wash Your Skillet:

Never wash your skillet with soap and water, unless you are planning on re seasoning it.  You can clean it one of two ways:
1.  After use you can fill it with water, place it on the stove top and bring it to a boil.  Pour out the water and use a scraper to scrape off the residue.  Wipe out.  Place it back on the warm stove top and wipe it on the inside with Crisco or lard. 

OR sprinkle the inside of your skillet with salt and with a cloth scour the residue out.  Wipe clean.  Re coat with Crisco or lard.

Ten Reasons to Own an Iron Skillet
1. It's economical! You know how you have to replace your Teflon skillets often, because it wears off? You will NEVER have to replace your iron skillet! Think of the money saved from not having to purchase all of these new Teflon skillets!
2. It's healthy cooking! It's filled with the rich vitamin iron. Every time you cook some of this mineral is transferred to your food.
3. It's virtually indestructible! Even if it has rusted you can wash and re season and it's ready to go! You can't scratch it, dint it, and have to try hard to break it.
4. It can take on any temperature. Most pots, pans, and skillets come with a temperature warning. An iron skillet can even be thrown into a fire too be cleaned! It can go from the stove top, to the oven, and on to the camp fire.
5. It's non-stick. As long as you keep your skillet properly cleaned, food will not stick.
6. Heat distribution is even when cooking with an iron skillet. A lot of new skillets have heating issues where one spot cooks hotter than the rest. An iron skillet doesn't have this problem.
7. It's Green. All those discarded, peeling, Teflon skillets will stay out of the landfills if we aren't buying them!
8. It is very versatile. Cooking biscuits, breads, cornbread, stews, meats, vegetables, pies, and even brownies is possible in an iron skillet.
9. It's vintage. You are cooking with a little piece of history when you use and own an iron skillet.
10. It's cheap. I can proudly say I just purchased a Lodge skillet at an antique store for a mere $10 and then later snagged a Griswold for $20! I think this is a rarity, however you shouldn't have to pay more than $40. This is pocket change when you consider never having to purchase a replacement!

Enjoy and happy cooking!

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