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Why season cookware?

Carbon steel pans rusting in your kitchen cupboards can be a thing of the past.

May 24, 2016

Why season cookware?


Fed up of rusty carbon steel cookware lounging around in the depths of your drawers (kitchen drawers)?

Frustrated with EVERYTHING sticking in your wok or on your ribbed grill whenever you attempt cooking in them?

It may be a very simple remedy. That wok you purchased for under $20 at the Asian supermarket, really IS a bargain, you just have to know how to care for it.

Here is my advice and you’ll be thrilled with the results. We even make omelettes for Pad Thai in our woks at Matters of Taste. Because we season our woks, the omelette just slips out of the pan golden and wobbly; perfect.

This method can be used on flat hotplates on most BBQ’s too (not if stainless steel though, sorry can’t help you there).

When purchasing items such as a steel wok, paella pan, crepe pan or a cast iron grill it may be covered in a protective coating. It will need a thorough clean with warm soapy water to remove this oily residue before seasoning the cooking surface to render it non-stick.

  1. Once cooking surface is washed and the cooking surface is dry, very thinly coat the  surface of your equipment with vegetable oil. Use a piece of absorbent kitchen paper to spread oil out evenly., this assists salt to stick to surface.
  2. Place a generous amount of cheap table or cooking salt onto the oil-coated surface. Spread salt out, until the entire cooking surface is covered with about half a centimeter in thickness.
  3. Place the equipment on the stove over a high heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Move the salt around using a large metal spoon. It will smoke so turn on an extraction fan.
  4. Switch off heat and allow equipment to cool down for a few minutes.
  5. Tip salt into a non-melting container. Don’t tip into the bin as salt can melt the plastic bin liner and possibly the bin itself! The cooking surface should now be blackened.
  6. Carefully, wipe the surface with a soft cloth – it will still be very hot.
  7.  Cool for a couple of minutes, then whilst still warm rub surface with vegetable oil. Using clean absorbent paper remove any excess oil. Store as usual.

Now the surface has been seasoned it should be easier to cook with. Should you find food is still sticking after a few uses, you may need to scrub clean and re-season as per the above method.

This process may have to be repeated periodically if when food starts to stick on the surface. This all depends on how often the equipment is used. The more it is used, the less it will stick.

Wash thoroughly with hot soapy water after every use and wipe dry. Using a piece of absorbent kitchen paper wipe a thin film of cooking oil over the surface to avoid any rust appearing. Then wipe again with clean piece of absorbent paper. After a while we have found oiling after use is not necessary.

Enjoy using your ‘like new’ piece of equipment.

3 Comment(s) Kitchenware

  1. I love your idea to season my kitchenware. I’m planning on cooking paella tonight so I guess I’ll have to buy some extra salt at the store on my way home. I can’t wait to see how the food won’t stick to my kitchenware anymore. Thanks for the advice!

  2. Can this technique be used on a used skillet? I’ve seen a couple in a neighborhood antique shop and am considering buying one. But have been leery (leary?) thus far by not wanting someone else’s “seasoning”. So could I buy a used one, and would this technique start me over as if it were a new skillet, or would some residual seasoning remain?

    • admin

      The idea of seasoning is to remove any residue on the pan as well as rendering it non-stick, so in theory it should work. Ensure the pan is not coated with anything like a Le Creuset pan is. Good luck!

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Meet the team

Tracey Cotterell

Tracey Cotterell
Tracey Cotterell


Tracey has been in the food industry since completing her Diploma in Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management in 1982 in the UK. She worked for an outside catering company in London, then joined her parents in rural West Sussex running

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Tracey Cotterell

Tracey Cotterell


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