Cast iron usage need not seem so hassling or mystical. Still, many are reluctant to cook on cast iron cookware. Do you know why? The possible reason for this could be the uneven seasoning cast iron issue.
The good news is it is pretty simple to prevent cast iron seasoning spotty if you know the science. Sounds humorous, but yes, there are several ways to take care of it. However, the key rule is “never rush the seasoning or drying process.”
In addition to this, you have a lot to learn about cast iron seasoning and care. We’ll discuss some of the best seasoning practices, which will stamp out cast iron seasoning blotchy issues. Let’s get started!
Common Problems with Cast Iron Cookware
Cast iron cookware has been a staple in almost every kitchen for centuries. It is nearly indestructible, which is why people love to keep it for years. Cast iron fits nearly any setting, from in the oven to stovetop and even the campfire.
However, there are also reasons why some people don’t prefer to use cast iron. Prior to knowing the best seasoning practices, you should be informed of the problems associated with it.
N.B: Don’t worry about these issues anymore because we’ll tell you how to fix them.
Cleaning Cast Iron is not Easy.
When you search for how to clean cast iron, you’ll find a lot of ways. Some say using salt is best, while others prefer specific metal tools. Actually, all these opinions make things more complicated.
In reality, you can simply clean your cast iron cookware like other pans. Just soap and water are enough. It will remove the cast iron seasoning flaking without harming the seasoning. Make sure to dry your pan after cleaning it.
Uncertainty about Seasoning Cast Iron
Many of us think seasoning is complicated. But, the truth is it is way simpler than your think. We’ll tell you the best ways to season cast iron below. The most practiced way is to season with vegetable oil.
Coat the cast iron pan with a thin layer of vegetable oil. Place the pan upside down in an oven at 350o for an hour. Don’t forget to put a foil under the rack to grab any excess drips.
Turn off the oven and leave it inside until it is cooled down. After it has returned to room temperature, coat the inside of the pan with a small amount of oil. Thus, your cast iron pan will remain lubricated and well-seasoned.
Food Sticks to the Cast Iron Pan
Many people indeed encounter the issue of food sticking with cast iron. You may wonder, why is my cast iron sticky? Well, this happens when the cast iron cookware is not seasoned correctly.
But sometimes, you may still encounter cast iron sticky after seasoning the cookware correctly. The possible reason could be the lack of fat used while cooking or cooking with high sugar content.
Scrub out all of the burnt or stuck using the rough side of a sponge. After the cast iron skillet sticky residue is removed, clean and dry it thoroughly. Then re-season it.
Rust on the Surface of the Pan
Sometimes old cast iron pans have rust on the surface. It happens if there are any cast iron pan sticky remains for a long time. Sometimes rust accumulates when you don’t dry the pan correctly. Also, it forms when the pan is exposed to moisture for a long time.
If there is slight rust, you can scrub the rusted area using steel wool. Or a soapy scrub pad would remove the rust. However, if the rust is super old, soak the pan in vinegar for at least one hour. By then, the rust will be gone by itself.
After the rust is removed, dry the pan thoroughly. Season the pan and repeat the seasoning process on the rusted part.
Some MYTHS about Cast Iron Seasoning
There are different opinions as well as myths when it comes to seasoning cast iron cookware. First of all, many have claimed using vegetable oil for seasoning is a bad practice. They think it severely harms the surface of the cast iron pan.
So, you need to know that it’s an absolute misconception. There is nothing wrong with using vegetable oil. In fact, it contributes to seasoning every time you cook. Cooking with vegetable oil further accelerates the seasoning process.
Then, some people think not removing the excess oil can lead to uneven cast iron seasoning issues. It doesn’t matter if there is any extra oil remains on the pan. When you keep the pan with oil in an oven, the oil heats up and runs more quickly.
In the meantime, the oil doesn’t get a chance to bond with the iron. This leaves spots on the pan without seasoning. These spots will be sticky sometimes. How to fix it? Simply repeat the process until the surface of the cast iron pan is thoroughly seasoned.
How to Prevent Uneven Seasoning Cast Iron Issues?
An uneven seasoning issue on cast iron is really annoying. You may have given your best to season it properly. Chances are, you’ve tried everything, but nothing seems to work.
Even after seasoning the pan many times, the surface still has an uneven finish. The food sticks, and it results in cast iron seasoning splotchy. Good luck that you have finally come to the right place.
Below we’ll discuss different methods of seasoning cast iron cookware. You can quickly season your cast iron cookware with some things available in the kitchen. Follow the solutions below and eradicate the uneven seasoning cast iron issue.
1. Season with Flax Seed Oil
Flaxseed oil is mainly known for its health benefits. As a versatile oil, do you know it is the best oil for seasoning cast iron cookware as well? Flaxseed oil is mainly preferred for many reasons, including;
- It has high amounts of Omega-3
- It contains high amounts of unsaturated fats
- It has a low smoking point
All the above qualities will help with the polymerization process of cast iron seasoning. Omega-3 produces the hardest of polymers which creates a very stable surface. So the oil will not flake off into the food you are cooking.
Moreover, as the oil is highly saturated, it will form a stronger seasoning. It takes less time and energy to season because of its low smoking point. All together, flaxseed oil is the best option to prevent uneven seasoning on a cast iron pan.
2. Preheat the Cast Iron Pan Before Seasoning
This is where most people make mistakes. They often forget to preheat the pan. It may not cause any severe issues, but it does affect the seasoning outcome. As you know, cast iron takes time to heat, and it distributes the heat unevenly.
So before you apply the oil, preheat the pan at first. This will help the oil to heat up uniformly. Thus, it will create an even seasoning.
3. Season While Keeping Your Cast Iron Cookware Upside Down
This is especially for seasoning on an oven. Many people do not turn their cast iron pans upside down while placing them in the oven. Possibly, this is not a usual process. So, what happens if you don’t keep it upside down?
The excess oil on the pan will accumulate unevenly on the pan. This will coat the pan unevenly and leads to the uneven seasoning on your cast iron pan. Thus, the food will stick to the uneven part of the surface.
Here you aim to create a nonstick finish. You will achieve it by placing the pan upside down in the oven. This will allow excess oil to drip off and leave an even coating throughout the pan.
4. Use a Thin Layer of Oil
Many people splash a lot of olive oil all over the pan to make sure every single point is lubricated. Well, it’s a bad practice. It even doesn’t work if you use tons of oil. In fact, doing this will cause uneven seasoning on cast iron cookware.
So what happens when you use too much oil?
It prevents the polymerization process from working correctly. Thus, you’ll end up with an uneven coating of seasoning on the cast iron cookware. So, make sure you are using a thin layer of flaxseed oil, olive oil, or vegetable oil. With a paper towel, spread it equally all over the surface of the pan.
5. Repeat the Seasoning Process Again and Again
If you think you’ll get a perfect result with just seasoning once, you are the wrong folk. Seasoning only once will not give you what you are expecting. However, some people prefer to season until they are satisfied.
Well, we prefer to season the cast iron cookware three times. It will help to add smooth layers of seasoning. Yes, season it again and again. Wipe oil with paper towels and bake the pan for one hour.
Repeat the process three times to spread the consistency of the seasoning. It may be a tedious thing to do. But, spending a few hours in a day will help you achieve long-lasting results. You can do it when you have free time.
How to Season the Cast Iron Cookware on the Stovetop?
Stovetop seasoning is mostly followed and preferred by famous cooking personalities and chefs. The reason is the method is simple and manageable. There is no kitchen without a stove, whether it is gas or electric.
Why is stovetop seasoning favored?
- The process is super-fast. You’ll need as little as 10 minutes to finish the whole process.
- It saves time, money, and energy.
Put it on the stovetop to preheat the pan. Then apply a thin layer of oil throughout the surface of the pan. Turn the flame on full and wait until it generates a lot of smoke. So, don’t forget to turn off the fire alarm.
How to Season the Cast Iron Cookware on the Oven?
Oven seasoning is the standard method of the season which many people follow. In fact, it has been the go-to seasoning method for both new and old cookware for the last two decades.
Why is oven seasoning favored?
- It is too easy. Just place the pan upside down into the oven and let the oven do the rest.
- The process is less messy as it doesn’t create smoke.
Apply a thin layer of oil in the pan and place it upside down inside a real hot oven for an hour. After an hour, remove it and let it cool down. Then again, repeat the process at least three times or until you are satisfied.
How to Strip Seasoning from Cast Iron?
There are two ways you can strip seasoning from cast iron.
Method 1: Using a Wood-burning Stove
Use a wood-burning stove or build a campfire in an outside firepit if possible. Burndown some coal in it until you are left with hot ash. Now put your cast iron pan facing down in the ash and leave it overnight.
Remove the pan the next day from the ash. Wash it with hot soapy water, and you can use steel wool to remove stubborn rust, flakes.
Method 2: Using a Self-cleaning Oven
You can also use a self-cleaning oven if you don’t have a wood-burning stove. Place the pan upside down in the oven and run it with a self-cleaning setting. Once done, allow it to cool inside the oven.
Then remove from the oven and wash it with hot soapy water. You can use steel wool if needed to clean the remaining seasoning or stubborn rust. Note that this method will stink up all around. So make sure you open all the windows while doing it.
Indeed, it is challenging to get perfect seasoning on cast iron cookware. But if you keep the above things in mind, you’ll surely achieve it. You can try all these ways to get rid of the uneven seasoning cast iron issue. Also, you’ll be able to salvage your precious cast iron cookware.
Hi, I’m Julia Mitchell and through this blog I want to put forward all my experiences and expertise to help you find the best kitchen items possible. I have been working in research and development of kitchen tools for the last three decades. Throughout my professional career I have come across various kitchen products and I use that experience to assist people in getting ideal kitchen items for their requirements. If you have any further doubt, you can email us and we will get in touch with you immediately.