Seasoning and maintaining cast iron

Iron + Oil: Here's our quick overview of seasoning cast iron

Using and maintaining cast iron cookware can be very different from using other types of cookware, Like any tool, it needs to be taken care of and treated properly for it to work best. With proper technique, the performance, versatility and longevity of your cast iron are worth the extra effort. We put together this guide to help you get the most out of your cast iron.

Seasoning – Baking on Oil

Our cast iron skillets come with 4 coats of baked on oil, so they are ready to use right away. The oil coating on your skillet will get better with age if you properly clean and maintain it. Depending on how you use your skillets, baking on another layer of oil may be necessary. If the surface of the skillet starts to look really dull with no sheen and food seems to be sticking a little more, it may be time to bake on another coat. We always reccomend wiping on a very thin coat of oil after cleaning and washing - this ensures that your skillet will be ready to go the next time you use it.

 

 

cast iron on the left, carbon steel on the right

cast vs sheet

Porosity:

The difference in porosity is largely a result of the differences in surface finish. Cast iron has more texture and a more absorbent surface. It will soak in more of the oil during seasoning and builds coats of seasoning differently than carbon steel. When seasoning carbon steel, the coats of oil need to be extremely thin. Often carbon steel is seasoned on the stovetop rather than in the oven, so the skillet can reach higher temperatures to better dry and burn off excess oil .

 

Other Differences:

Generally, carbon steel a little thinner and lighter. Our skillets are similar in thickness with the carbon steel at 3mm and the cast iron are between 2.5-4mm thick with the bottom being a little thicker than the walls.

Carbon steel and cast iron are seasoned in similar ways, they both are extremely versatile, can be used over any heat source, can be extremely non-stick and both will last forever.

Materials aside, other considerations between the two include the shape – cast iron usually has steeper sides and is better for baking, while the low flared sides common to carbon steel excel on the stove top.

 

Enamel Coatings:

Vitreous or porcelain enamel is essentially a glass coating that can be applied on materials with a melting point over 1500 degrees (F) which is the temperature required to melt and fuse the enamel. For cookware enamel is only used on top of Iron based materials. Enameled cookware never needs to be seasoned. Enamel is a lifetime coating, while it is possible to chip enameled products last for a very long time. Depending on the type of enamel, thickness and sheen some pieces can have issues with food sticking while others are extremely non-stick.

The table below highlights some examples of pan types are ideal for different foods and methods. The big disclaimer here is that any of these types of pans can be used for any of these foods and methods and that everyone has different opinions on which may be best.

Food / Method
Carbon Steel
Cast Iron
Enameled Iron

Stovetop Veggies

X

X

X

Eggs / Crepes

X

Baked Goofs

X

X

Outdoor Cookin

X

X

Searing Meat

X

X

Long Simmers / Reductions

X

X