Iron Age — Sealing Your Pan

Your cast iron deserves to be pampered, so here is a method for sealing your pans to keep them in tip-top condition.

Got an old pan? Just found a vintage beauty that needs help?


If you have an old dirty or rusty pan, clean it down to the bare metal first. A gunky pan can be sprayed with oven cleaner and left in a plastic bag overnight to remove grease; rust usually responds well to scrubbing, or a soak in vinegar and water.

If you find a vintage one that needs more help, you can take it to Blast It (info below).



by Cinda Chavich

Start with a clean cast iron or carbon steel pan, season it well (and regularly) and you’ll have a nonstick workhorse in your kitchen for life.

  1. A new skillet should be washed well with hot water by hand and dried well before seasoning.
  2. Rub the entire surface of the pan, inside and out (including the handle) with a thin coating of canola or grapeseed oil* (use a paper towel, oil should not pool), then heat on the stovetop or in the oven until the surface looks dry. Cool, rub with more oil and repeat (up to a dozen times, say some experts) to create a hard, polymerized sheen.
  3. The best way to keep a pan seasoned, and improve its non-stick qualities is to use it. Frying bacon or chicken, caramelizing onions or searing a steak will give your skillet a boost of seasoning. Acidic foods can break down the seasoning, but you can just clean the pan well and start the process again.
  4. Apply a very thin coating of oil to your pans after each washing, drying off any excess, to prevent rusting.



“The best fat polymerization comes from oils rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids—the compounds that give ‘drying oils’ the ability to thicken and harden once exposed to air. After testing dozens of seasoning methods with all kinds of fats, our favorites are organic grapeseed oil and sunflower oil.  These oils break down into tough but thin coats of seasoning that build well on each other over time.

Saturated fats like lard and coconut oil aren’t the best choice for oven-seasoning; as they break down, they don’t open sufficient bonding points for carbon molecules to adhere to the molten polymers. On the flipside, beware of drying oils that are very high in unsaturated fatty acids, such as flaxseed oil. While flaxseed oil is a popular choice on the internet, we’ve found the seasoning it produces can be brittle and prone to flaking. Grapeseed strikes a good balance, is easy to find in most supermarkets, and it’s also a great everyday cooking fat.”



Scotty will sandblast your cast iron down to the “white”

For  $30-$55, depending on how badly it’s damaged and how big it is. Or, he will teach you how to do it yourself and you can use his equipment and save yourself a few dollars.

2639 Turner St.  Off of Bay Street just before the bridge on the left 50 meters up the road.)

250 480-7263


Photo by Rayia Soderberg on Unsplash

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