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Seasoning Cast Iron
For the initial seasoning (or when the seasoning on your well-used cast
iron gets a little thin), you can (re-)season it as follows: rub
little vegetable oil over the whole thing with a paper towel (I use a
2:1 mixture of canola oil:lecithin that I keep around for greasing
things [see "greasing without
With a clean paper towel rub all the excess off so that
only a very thin film is left (If the layer is too thick, it will get
sticky instead of dark and shiny). Then set the the item in a
degree oven for about 15-20 minutes, until the fresh oil darkens.
It may be a good idea to open windows and turn on the fan if you've got
one because this can get quite smoky (and maybe take the smoke alarm
down or battery out temporarily--don't forget to put it back when
you're done). Once the fresh oil is dark,
it out, let cool until not quite too hot to touch, and repeat as needed
to make a nice, dark, shiny--not sticky--finish. Use a hot pad to
hold the paper towel if you're not patient enough to let the wok cool
down between layers. This procedure
a nice, slick layer of carbonized grease onto the surface that keeps
food from sticking and protects the iron underneath from rusting.
A good seasoning should last for quite a while as long as you
don't soap or scrub it too much--just a quick swipe with a
soft-bristled scrub brush should be enough. Wipe it dry or set it
over low heat or in a warm oven to keep it from rusting.
Re-seasoning takes fewer coats to restore a good slick finish.
This wok has been treated only with a lecithin-oil mixture--no solid
fat required. It took about 10 rounds to go from bare metal
(The rough cast iron was first smoothed with long session of sanding
with this attachment for my drill, before the initial seasoning.
The wall of the wok tapers from quite thin and delicate at the
edge to thick at the base, making it especially nice for stir-frying
efficiently. Well worth all the effort, from raw rough iron to
the smooth and seasoned result.)
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