Our $8 grocery store pan wasn't cuttin' the mustard. After only a few months, it was warped and stupid.
It annoyed me.
What a better time to take the teeny plunge into cast iron than when you have no other option.
We have two small(ish) cast iron pans that we've always used, but not for the *tough stuff*. You know, like fried eggs. But since I wasn't going to spend any money on a new pan, I figured I better learn how.
And since that time, I've never looked back.
Girlfriend loves her cast iron skillet.
And I'll tell you why.
The first skillet was a gift from my parents, which makes me happy to think of whenever I use it. The second, and smaller skillet, was a gift from a wonderful lady in our church who has since passed. It was well seasoned, having been used for years in her own kitchen – full of love and flavor.
How many things do we own like that now days? Items that actually get better with age? Items we can pass down to our children with all their history and use? Maybe it's my nostalgic nature, but I think that's rad.
And, let's be honest, what's a homestead without a cast iron skillet.
After I learned how to properly season the cast iron, I have been able to use it for everything. Mixing sauces, browning meats, frying eggs, sauteing vegetables, mixing omelettes, reheating food – you name it. The seasoning makes these skillets naturally non-stick (which, in my humble opinion, greatly beats Teflon coated pans…on which the toxicity verdict has been made).
But don't worry, I'm not going to get all dooms-day on you and tell you that if use commercial non-stick pans you children will grow mutant arms out of their foreheads. I'm not here to be anti-Teflon. I'm here to be pro-cast iron.
Since we don't own a microwave, all of our food leftovers are reheated in our cast iron – so it was really important to me that they remain non-stick.
Here's how I seasoned them:
Step One: Smear the entire skillet in oil of choice. I used half coconut oil and half bacon lard.
Step Two: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a large piece of foil on the bottom rack and then place the cast iron skillet, upside down, on the top rack. Let it hang out in the hot oven for about two hours. Then, shut the oven off and let it cool down in there.
Voila. Easy as pie.
You will easily be able to tell if your cast iron skillet needs to be seasoned: the surface will appear rough, rusted, and stuff will stick to it.
Don't worry, it's not rocket science.
So if you're out and about at garage sales or antique stores this beautiful spring, might I encourage you to give an extra look at that aged and worn cast iron? After all, a skillet like that has a story to tell.
Plus, it makes the food taste better.
Trust me on that one.