Cast iron skillets have been around since, well, the Iron Age. Then about 50-years ago, people decided to make the move to Teflon—an idea that turned out to be both terrible for our health and the planet.
These days, thankfully, people are moving back to more environmentally sound natural products, like cast iron. And they’re brilliant. They work on any heat method—gas, electric, induction, oven, BBQ, or open fire. And they just get better the more you use them.
All Ironclad cookware is made in our foundries in Auckland, New Zealand and Sydney, Australia. Each skillet is hand-poured, not machine-made. The material we use is a raw high-grade recycled iron. It’s lighter, but still tough as. The iron is certified, and the design built to last. But like all good things, a little preparation is required.
If you’re new to the world of cast iron skillet cooking, the first and most crucial step is called “Pre-Seasoning”. It takes a little time, but you only have to do it once. Do it right and your children's children's children will thank you.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED Dish soap. Running water. An oven. Grapeseed oil or seasoning balm. A dry cloth.
1. WIPE/WASH Scrub thoroughly once all over with soap and hot water.
2. RINSE AND DRY Rinse all the suds off, then dry. We mean bone-dry. Some grey residue may still show on the cloth here.
3. PRE-HEAT Warm your cookware on the stove top until hot enough for the balm to melt into the surface. Pre-heating in this way ensures it’s completely dry and opens the iron’s pores to better soak up seasoning.
4. OIL Using a clean cloth or paper towel, rub the balm (or about one tablespoon of grapeseed oil) over the entire surface, inside and out, including the base and embossed areas. You’re rubbing seasoning into the surface, not onto it. Wipe off any excess. The end result should be a thin coat of oil, giving a dull matte finish and dry appearance.
5. BAKE Turn the heat up to 180°C. Place upside-down in the middle of your oven. Bake for another 10 minutes before removing to wipe off any excess oil.
6. CRANK THE HEAT Return your cookware upside-down to the middle of your oven. Turn up the heat to 220°C and leave it to bake for at least an hour.
7. COOL Turn off the heat and allow to cool completely in the oven - ideally overnight. Then you’re ready to go!
A big challenge with buying a pre-blackened skillet is that you never really know what ingredients were used to get it that colour.
To avoid anything unknown ending up in your food, we've created our own homemade conditioning balm. An all natural blend of New Zealand kawakawa, beeswax and grapeseed oil, this aromatic balm will keep both your cast iron and your gut healthy.
And it's easy to use.
After cleaning, warm your pan and evenly apply 1/4 tsp of the conditioning balm with a cloth or paper towel. As your pan cools the balm will create a beautiful (and natural) black cast iron finish.
Once your Ironclad Legacy Cookware has been pre-seasoned, it’s simple to care for—no dishwasher required and preferably no soap. Easy-peasy.
1. WIPE/WASH When possible, simply wipe out with a dry paper towel. Otherwise rinse with hot water, ideally when still warm from cooking. For any hard to remove food, use a scrubbing brush or wooden spatula.
2. DRY Ensure your cookware is dried thoroughly after each use.
3. OIL Before putting away, apply a teaspoon of your chosen oil or conditioning balm to the entire surface with a dry cloth or paper towel.
The older your Ironclad Pan gets, the better it gets. Register here for your Ironclad Three Generation Guarantee™ and take good care of it so that it will last the distance.
KEEP THE HEAT LOW TO START WITH
In the early life of a cast iron skillet, your food may stick a little. It is a good idea to be generous with your cooking oils and fats to build up a non-stick base. Keep the heat to low or medium as your initial layers of seasoning develop. Some dishes are better to break your skillet in with; caramelising onions or frying chicken.
AVOID ACIDIC OR LONG SIMMERED FOODS IN THE BEGINNING
Acidic foods like tomatoes, wine, citrus, and vinegar can eat away at the skillet’s seasoning. So until your Ironclad Pan is better established, it’s best to avoid heavily tomato based sauces. You’ll know your skillet is broken in once your layer of seasoning has become reliably non-stick. Then a little acid here and there isn’t an issue.