Cast iron cookware is one of the best on the market. It is durable, easy to clean and maintain, and non-stick. However, for it to be non-stick, it has to be seasoned every 3-6 months. A lot of people season cast iron pans with animal or vegetable oil, or even bacon grease. However, not many people know that you can season cast iron with coconut oil. Let’s find out how.
Can you treat a cast iron pan with coconut oil? Yes, you can treat a cast iron pan with coconut oil because it has antibacterial properties that will remove all the bacteria in the pores of your cast iron pan and form a thin smooth protective layer. Coconut oil is a healthy fat that is beneficial for your health. Plus, if you treat a cast iron pan with coconut oil, it will not give a smell to your house since it starts to smoke only at very high temperatures.
You can also use unrefined coconut oil for cast iron seasoning as it will work just as fine. Unrefined coconut oil will just give more smell to your house while seasoning but this can be changed if you open the windows. So, if you do not have refined coconut oil, you can use unrefined.
How to Season Cast Iron with Coconut Oil
To season cast iron with coconut oil, take the following steps:
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
- Pour the coconut oil into the pan and spread it with your fingers over the surface of the pan (the oil can be pre-cooled). The warmth of your fingers will help melt some of the coconut oil, and it will coat the pan in an even layer. Make sure the entire inner surface of the pan is greased (pay special attention to the walls!). You can also grease the bottom of the pan on the outside, but this is not necessary.
- Place the pan upside down on a baking sheet and place in the center of the oven.
- Hold the pan in the oven for an hour and a half to two.
- Switch off the oven without opening the door. When the pan has cooled down enough to be handled with bare hands, remove it from the oven.
This procedure can be repeated 2-3 times. It will harden perfectly and you won’t have any problems cooking.
Every time you cook in a cast-iron pan, add the healthy fat of your choice (coconut, butter, ghee, lard, or any animal fat) — the protective layer will get thicker and stronger, preventing food from sticking.
Some people think that coconut oil becomes toxic once it is heated. But is it true? No, coconut oil does not get toxic while heating up to 200 degrees. So you can season your cast iron pan with it. However, you should not heat coconut oil at over 200 degrees because even refined oil is oxidized, releasing isomeric fatty acids that accumulate in the body.
Tips on How to Season Cast Iron with Coconut Oil
- Wash the cast iron pan and dry it. Put it on the stove.
- Pour the coconut oil so that it completely covers the bottom of the pan and touches the walls. Do not fill the pan entirely as the coconut oil will splash on the stovetop when boiling.
- Heat the coconut oil and lower the heat so that the oil is on the verge of boiling.
- Wait for the coconut oil to stop smoking. It usually takes about 30 minutes.
- Coat the cast iron pan walls with oil.
- After finishing cast iron seasoning, wait for the cast iron to cook down to room temperature.
- Remove the coconut oil and wipe the cast iron with a paper towel.
How to Prepare Cast Iron Cookware for Seasoning
Cast iron cookware can only be hand washed. Wash the new pan or skillet with hot water using the soft side of the sponge. If the surface is oily or odorless, you can add a drop of detergent or lather the sponge with laundry soap.
Wipe the washed pan with a clean cloth or microfiber cloth. And remember that cast iron should not stay wet! Now you can proceed to the seasoning.
Cast Iron Cookware Care and Maintenance Tips
- Food should not be left in the pans, it should be put in other containers.
- Wash the cast iron cookware immediately but do not fill it with water if you do not have time to wash it.
- Cast iron does not like sudden temperature drops. If the pan is hot, never fill it with cold water and vice versa.
- Cast iron is prone to rust. Never keep a cast iron pan wet.
- Do not destroy the non-stick oil film that closes the pores. So that nothing sticks to the cast-iron frying pan, you should not wash it with grease-removing agents, boil water in it and rub it with washcloths and hard sponges.
- To wash cast iron cookware, let it cool slightly, then remove any food leftovers with a paper towel and add hot water. If the pan is really greasy, you can add a little salt.
- Use a soft washcloth or sponge to wash. Wipe the washed frying pan dry, hold it for a minute on the stove, and grease with a thin layer of vegetable oil.
- If something was burnt in the cast iron and you can’t do without detergents, it’s okay. Clean the cookware thoroughly with a detergent and salt, but after a general wash, bake them with oil, like new, to re-create a protective film against rust and scorching.
- For all its massiveness, cast iron is very fragile. Do not drop pans and pans or keep them from falling off the shelves. Cracked pans cannot be repaired.
By properly preparing a new cast iron pan for the first use and adhering to the recommendations for further use, you will significantly extend the life of this expensive purchase.