Cast iron cookware oxidises easily to form rust in the presence of moisture and thus needs to be seasoned well with any cooking oil before cooking in them.
Seasoning is a process in which the surface of the cookware is applied with oil and heated till the oil gets polymerised and forms a stick- resistant coating.
To understand what it means when we say that the oil gets polymerised, read next question.
Polymerisation is also called drying or hardening or curing of oils. This process happens because of oxidation of oils. Oxygen molecules in the air inserts with / attaches itself to the (C-H) bonds which are adjacent to one of the double bonds within the unsaturated fatty acid in oil. The resulting hydroperoxides (C-O-H) are susceptible to cross linking reactions. Due to this, bonds form between neighbouring fatty acid chains. The resulting polymer network forms a dark film on the surface of the cookware and this process is called polymerisation.
Free radicals are released in oil when it is heated above its smoking temperature and are supposedly harmful when such oils are consumed. Now in the process of seasoning, till the time when the oil reaches smoking point, no food is being cooked or eventually consumed. After this point, the free radicals (hydroperoxides) get cross-linked to form a hard surface forming the desired surface. So by the time the cookware is seasoned there are no more free radicals and it is safe for cooking.
Assuming that the cookware does not have any visible rust, various methods can be used to season the cookware. The basic principle remains the same in all methods.
Method 1: USING AN OVEN
1. Wash thoroughly, and dry the cookware.
2. Preheat oven to 450 degree fahrenheit (230 degree centigrade). Heat cookware for 15 min.
3. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool. Change oven temperature to 400 degree Fahrenheit.
4. Use a cotton lint- free cloth to apply a very thin coat of oil/ shortening on the entire surface uniformly. Non-uniform coating will appear spotted or striped.
5. Now put it back in the oven at 400 degree Fahrenheit ( 200 degree centigrade ) for 30 minutes. Place the cookware upside down and on a cookie sheet/ foil underneath to catch any drippings.
Caution : Oil drippings if they fall on the heating coil could cause it to flame. Hence, it is important to keep it on a sheet.
6. Turn off the oven and allow it to cool on its own in the oven.
7. Repeat steps 3 -6, if required.
Method 2: ON THE STOVE TOP
1. Wash thoroughly, fully clean and dry the cookware.
2. Place it on high heat and allow the cookware to get very hot (approximate 10 minutes).
3. Remove from heat and allow to cool down slightly till it is warm enough to handle.
4. Rub a thin film of any cooking oil using any lint-free cotton cloth on the entire surface uniformly.
5. Heat the cookware again on medium low heat (for approximate 10 minutes).
6. Switch off the flame and allow to cool naturally. Wipe any excess oil, if any.
7. Repeat Steps 2-6, if required.
Method 3: AN ANCIENT INDIAN TECHNIQUE WHICH WORKS FOR SURE
1. Take any dry flour like chickpea/ rice/ (less gluten) and rub the surface thoroughly. And wash off this flour. It helps to remove any minute particles, if remaining.
2. Heat the cookware on the stove top till it becomes very hot.
3. Pour a liberal amount of oil (about 30-50 ml) depending on the size of the cookware. Allow it to reach smoking temperature.
4. At this point, switch off the flame, cover the cookware and leave it for about/ at least 12 hours.
5. Drain out the excess oil and repeat steps 2-4 for if unsure.
Note: Use the same oil if repeating and later discard this oil. Discard it only when the cookware is going to be used for the first time or after many months.
There is one of the following 3 reasons for a sticky residue to be left on the pan.
1. The oil layer is too thick.
2. The oven temperature was too low.
3. Baking time/ heating time after applying the oil was less.
To remove this sticky residue, wash with hot water or scrub it using mild detergent and hot water if it is very stubborn. Repeat any method of seasoning.
If a pan is well seasoned and has been in use often then the surface acts like a non stick and the food will not stick to it. But if unsure about the surface here are some tricks that definitely work:
The Chinese Method:
Stir fry some chopped onions in oil till they turn brown. Wash in hot water and it is ready.
The Indian Method:
Apply oil liberally on the cooking surface. Warm the cookware, cover and allow the cookware to soak in the oil for a few hours. Wipe off excess oil and it is ready.
Do this when using the cookware for the first time or after a long duration.
It is very easy and simple. Just hot water and mild soap only if required. But say, in case you have burnt some food accidentally or stripped of its seasoning due to excessive scrubbing, then you may will need to re-season it again.
Simply, wash with salt and lime. Alternately, for tough stains, warm the pan with salt and then rub a sliced potato over it.
RoHS stands for Restriction Of Hazardous substances. Vanilla cast products have been tested in Authorised laboratory and are compliant to meet the standards.
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- Products once sold cannot be returned.
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- Return/Exchange cannot be processed, once the product has been used.
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Cast Iron is not indestructible. It is strong but also brittle and must be handled with care and respect. If neglected can warp, rust, chip, crack or pit.
Vanilla Cast believes in giving you uncompromising quality in its cast iron cookware products. It is proud of the workmanship in its products and guarantees its iron cookware, from the date of purchase, for the lifetime of the original owner. The lifetime guarantee covers faulty workmanship and/or materials when the product is used under normal, domestic conditions and in accordance with the care and use instructions provided. It does not cover normal wear and tear or misuse of the product.
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