The most economic and often the most long lasting pans are those made of cast iron or carbon steel. An indication of their value is in every commercial kitchen where they are banged,bashed set light to, and generally abused but they last for years. They are also considerably cheaper than their stainless steel or non-stick counterparts. Why then does every domestic kitchen not have mild steel fry pans and woks?? The reason normally is because you need to understand the procedure called “seasoning”. A mild steel or carbon steel pan or a bare (not enamelled) cast iron pan needs some preparation and occasional attention.
When the pan has been manufactured it is coated with a light engineering oil to stop it rusting, so the first thing is to wash it well in hot soapy water. Dry with a paper towel.
Put it on the stove and heat until completely dry and allow the heat to increase to 220/240 C. Put a teaspoon of lard or vegetable shortening or even quality vegetabe oil (but not cheap oil or olive oil,) into the pan and with a wad of paper towel move it quickly round the pan until all internal surfaces are coated. Allow this to smoke and burn, (best to do it with the windows open). The intention is to create a ‘patina’ of carbon across the surface. Carbon is the same as diamonds and once you have wiped the surface several times a carbon steel pan wil change from steel grey to a lovely nut brown. Don’t be afraid you are unlikely to do any damage to the pan but you may burn your fingers!!
This process may take up to 1/2 hour depending on how brave you are and what heat source you are using. We sell both cast iron pans and griddles, also carbon steel frypans and woks. We will also season your pan at no extra cost. Having been seasoned the surface is as good as non stick with no nasty chemicals and you can renew the surface whenever you wish. Good cooking!!