What is seasoning?
Seasoning is simply oil baked onto the iron that prevents rust and provides a natural, easy-release finish that continues to improve with use. Seasoning can refer to both the initial finish of the cookware as well as the ongoing process of maintaining that finish.
Seasoned iron is the only known non-toxic and forever-renewable nonstick. All other non-sticks are made with toxic and/or disposable synthetic coatings.
Seasoning will help you achieve your desired level of natural nonstick that you build and maintain yourself. It keeps renewing as you cook with fats and oils, with careful washing. Our pans season exactly like cast iron (or carbon steel skillets and woks). It is very easy to 'build your own', once you've followed instructions (see below), or found your own seasoning ritual, like the many millions all around the world using seasoned iron/steel already know.
How to season:
Firstly you need to prepare your pan. The best method is to use something abrasive like fine sandpaper, steel wool, a diamond sponge or a course scourer and scratch the surface of your pan all over (including the under-body and handle) - remember, you can not damage US-ION™, this method will only aid in developing a strong seasoning foundation. Next...
1. Oven-season for corrosion-resistance:
Warm your pan to approx 120° F
With cotton or paper towel, wipe a seed oil, rice bran oil, canola oil or shortening over ENTIRE pan very thinly, so that all of the visible oil is gone and the surface only appears polished (essentially wipe on and wipe off again).
Place pan upside down in approximately 480° F / 250°C oven for 1.5 hours, then switch off heat and cool in oven for a half hour.
Repeat 1-3 times to establish the best seasoning foundation.
2. Stove-top season for best natural nonstick:
Heat pan to high on stove, drop in a teaspoon of one of the seasoning oils above and wipe all around with a paper towel (held in tongs for safety). Continue wiping for around 20 seconds as the pan smokes, ensuring oil is polished on very thinly and doesn't pool or remain in lumps. Cool for 1 minute.
Repeat for 10-15 minutes until base is black. You now have a great foundation, but it's only the start.....don't expect Teflon-level nonstick, and don't expect great nonstick from the beginning, particularly for delicate foods like eggs/fish. It takes time!
NB. Ensure strong air extraction and ventilation to avoid breathing smoke.
3. Old-school seasoning while you cook: Continue building on your new seasoning foundation consistently over time with lots of cooking with fats/oils, while washing carefully each time to preserve the black seasoning as much as possible. Don't scrub this valuable natural nonstick off!
Seasoning will improve with more seasoning and cooking with fats/oils, as long as you wash correctly to save as much of the black seasoning as possible.
Here is a great video of the boss (Mark Henry) in action using the stove-top method.
We do recommend that after every use whilst the pans are still new, you clean then this way:
1. After cooking, simply scrape out under hot running water while the pan is still very warm. Do not use soap, as it will erode the seasoning. Use a wooden or steel scraper to remove food residue, then you may finish up with a brush, but be careful not to take off too much of that beautiful black seasoning that you have achieved!
2. While the pan is still very warm, dry thoroughly with a paper towel. Apply a thin layer of oil and store. Once a pan is well-seasoned, cleaning can be as easy as wiping out with a paper towel.
NB. No dishwashers, ever, and no need for soap. Rinse under hot running water and lightly scrub with brush. If anything is stuck, scrape with a wooden spatula, preferably, to remove food scraps while preserving the non-food black seasoning.
Tips and Tricks
- If the seasoning on your pan is sticky, this is a sign of excess oil building up and not fully converting to seasoning. To remedy this, place the cookware in the oven, upside down on the top rack and bake at 480° F degrees for 1.5 hours. Allow to cool and repeat if necessary.
- Occasionally when your seasoning works a little too hard with acidic foods or really high heat, you may notice some dark residue on your towel when cleaning. This is perfectly safe and normal, and will go away with regular use and care.
- If your pan develops rust, gently scrub it away and you can either keep cooking or spend a few minutes stove top seasoning as per the instructions above.
Enjoy the pride in building your own healthy natural nonstick on an innovative US iron pan that will last for many generations, with a little of this kind of care.