|This family is in love with cornbread. Here is a true statement – cornbread is best in an iron skillet. I’m not even going ask if you think that’s true, because it is. And I don’t care what you say. :-p If you haven’t tried the cornbread recipe above, you might want to. It will make your family love you and bring you flowers. Barry gets really excited when I say I’m making cornbread. BUT in order for your cast iron skillet to work, it needs to be seasoned. Why? Seasoning makes it just like a non-stick pan….well, except for all the hazards of using non-stick. I really am not fond of non-stick pans, but I have several. As they die, I will replace them with nicer iron skillets, cast iron enamel, or stainless steel. I’m secretly feeding them arsenic so they die quickly. SHHHHHHHH!
You need your pan, and some oil/shortening. I used coconut oil because it’s my new favorite kitchen food. It needs to be a solid shortening. You could use Crisco, but try coconut oil or palm shortening. You won’t be sorry. This pan was given to me and I wasn’t sure if it had been seasoned or not, so I went ahead and did it just to be safe. I hate food that sticks. I have nightmares about it.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat that skillet down. I mean, really lay it on thick. Cover every inside surface that might come into contact with food.
Pop your skillet into the oven. I like to put mine upside down and put a piece of foil underneath. That keeps any drippage from making my fire alarm go off….and let me just tell you, sometimes it does. Barry said recently “Uh honey, the house is smoky.” There’s always a critic. I choose to think the smoke is good for my complexion.
|So, why are we doing this? Cast iron has a porous surface….sorta like a teenager. When you season it, the shortening fills the holes and makes a smooth surface. As the skillet gets hot, the oil goes into the holes. When the skillet cools, the holes close back up and trap the oil. Cool, huh? The more you use and season your skillet, the more non-stick it will become.
After one hour, take your skillet out and let it cool. While mine is still warm, I wipe it down a bit with a paper towel, hoping to push more oil down into the holes and also to wipe up any extra oil. When it’s cool, you’re ready to go! You may only have to do this a few times a year if you use your skillet regularly and let the butter/oil in your recipe work its magic. If your skillet ever looks “dry” you need to do this process again.
|Here’s a tip, don’t clean your skillet with soap. When mine is dirty, I just wipe it out with hot water and a dishrag. If it’s really dirty, you might have to use a scrub brush….but NO SOAP. Soap is not happy for an iron skillet. You’ll have to start your seasoning process all over again. When you’re done washing, dry your skillet thoroughly. Water can make your iron skillet rust. We don’t want that! If you take care of it, an iron skillet can last for generations. You can put it in your will and let all the kids fight over it……and it also doubles as a weapon in case of a home invasion.Now, here’s another tip…..you don’t always have to clean your skillet. Nope. Leave some of that oily goodness in there baby. If I make cornbread, when I’m done I usually just wipe the crumbs out and put the skillet away. The less I have to wash, the better. I love my cast iron baby…..uh, skillet.
Now, I’ve been meaning to get one of those mitt handles just for a cast iron handle…..but I haven’t. So, here’s a warning. That handle is STINKING HOT! I have grabbed it on numerous occasions and gave a big holler. Please be careful. In the event of a burn, apply salve immediately. I use Skinners (thanks Suzanne!). Really, it’s the best I have found. I use it and my mom uses it. Last year I gave it as Christmas gifts. It’s good stuff, y’all. I’ve stopped several blisters right in their tracks by applying Skinners immediately. I keep it in the kitchen if that tells you anything. I really should look into getting an aloe plant too…….but my Black Thumb of Death keeps me from it.
Now, go forth and fry something!