If your pans and other cast iron cookware are well cared for, they will last a lifetime. Curing or seasoning is the process by which you fill the pores of the pan creating a smooth, non-stick surface. this should be done to the entire pan, even the lids.
Basically, you clean the pan thoroughly and cover it in shortening. Place it on a cooking sheet and put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 min. Take the pan out and drain the excess oil, then put it back in upside down, this time for a couple of hours. Make sure you read these full instructions and important tips for curing cast iron
Even if your pans come "pre-seasoned" make sure you read the instructions for any specific cleaning details, and keep in mind that they will need to be re-seasoned regularly to keep them from sticking. Repeat seasons won't take as long, but it is one of the many important things to do when caring for cast iron cookware
. Here are a few other useful tips:
- Don't wash cast iron in the dishwasher
- Scrub any rust spots with steel wool and mild soap
- Boiling water in your pan will wash away the seasoning
If you've invested in quality cookware, it will only work for you as well as you care for it. Take the time to season or cure it, then maintain it well.