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Are trans-fats an issue in seasoning oil/fat selection for a cast-iron pan? Which oil/fat is best for a reliable seasoning?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 19, 2013 at 12:55 AM

Hello!

If trans-fat consumpution is problematic, is trans-fat formation while seasoning a cast-iron pan problematic?

This site claims that trans-fats are integral to a good seasoning surface. It recommends flaxseed oil as a seasoning oil. The methodology appears sound, but what of the (potential) health risks?

Will the trans-fats (e.g. in a soybean oil pre-seasoned cast iron pan) affect food cooked in the pan adversely?

Are other fats (e.g. Ghee, lard, coconut oil) better for seasoning?

Are there other concerns (such as soybeans' ill health effects in general that should be taken into account when selecting a seasoning oil/fat?

--

I am purchasing a cast iron pan (and perhaps some other cookware) that's meant to last for awhile; should I seek a pre-seasoned pan or unseasoned pan, or strip the seasoning from a pan?

What oil/fat should cast iron cookware be seasoned with for optimal durability, non-stick quality, and minimal health risk?

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on June 20, 2013
at 05:55 PM

I get my bacon from Costco (usually Farmer John brand). Finances being what they are prohibit me from buying the good stuff. =) I've seasoned my pans in a camp fire, on a grill, and in the oven. The information at http://www.macheesmo.com/2011/03/repairing-a-cast-iron-skillet/ is exactly what I've done for years. If you are starting with a new pan, just skip to the seasoning part. To begin with, I do two coatings and reseason if needed. I cook greasy things in my pans all of the time, so I don't reseason often.

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on June 20, 2013
at 09:52 AM

Hmm--fascinating; any further reading/sites/investigation you could point me towards regarding how seasoning & maintaining seasoning works, chemically? Also - as answered above and seen in other places, if without the ability to polymerize, why would cast-iron pan owners report very good seasoning with lard, coconut oil, etc.? Is it possible their reports aren't accounting for something, or are there potentially other mechanisms which keep cast-iron pans' seasoning working, even when using a saturated fat to season?

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on June 20, 2013
at 09:41 AM

Also, out of curiosity, where do you obtain your bacon?

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on June 20, 2013
at 09:40 AM

Hmm--fascinating. So, even without polymerization and oxidizing theorized in PUFAs and unsaturated fats, your cast iron seasoning is fairly durable? (I am a bit worried--this is the first cast iron set of cookware I will be attempting to care for properly.) How many layers, and at what temperature do^ you season with?

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3 Answers

1
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 19, 2013
at 02:59 AM

PUFAs are what you need for seasoning. They're oxidizable and polymerizable. Saturated fats are actually the worst in terms of seasoning ability because they lack ability to oxidize. Flaxseed is a great oil to use for it, I seasoned my cast iron with an old bottle of sesame oil (which is mostly PUFAs) and it works great.

Once seasoned, the amount of oil that can leech out is quite low. I wouldn't sweat preseasoned pans myself.

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on June 20, 2013
at 09:52 AM

Hmm--fascinating; any further reading/sites/investigation you could point me towards regarding how seasoning & maintaining seasoning works, chemically? Also - as answered above and seen in other places, if without the ability to polymerize, why would cast-iron pan owners report very good seasoning with lard, coconut oil, etc.? Is it possible their reports aren't accounting for something, or are there potentially other mechanisms which keep cast-iron pans' seasoning working, even when using a saturated fat to season?

1
618fc5298c4a96b817c4918c795a875f

(1217)

on June 19, 2013
at 01:52 AM

There is this mighty tool called the "search bar" and if you type in a keyword, it gives you access to questions that have been answered again and again! It's like magic!

This is a great question and when asked previously it got some very good, detailed answers. Have a peek:

http://paleohacks.com/questions/5031/how-to-season-maintain-a-cast-iron-skillet#axzz2WVlATRtE

1
61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on June 19, 2013
at 01:19 AM

I wash the pans with dish soap and hot water to remove pre-seasoning. I've had the best luck using bacon grease for seasoning and use coconut oil if (gasp) I run out of bacon grease. I have never used flax seed oil and cannot speak to whether or not it is a good choice. A well seasoned pan will act like teflon without the funk.

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on June 20, 2013
at 09:41 AM

Also, out of curiosity, where do you obtain your bacon?

1f9b52f29960095986234231d91e1967

(529)

on June 20, 2013
at 09:40 AM

Hmm--fascinating. So, even without polymerization and oxidizing theorized in PUFAs and unsaturated fats, your cast iron seasoning is fairly durable? (I am a bit worried--this is the first cast iron set of cookware I will be attempting to care for properly.) How many layers, and at what temperature do^ you season with?

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on June 20, 2013
at 05:55 PM

I get my bacon from Costco (usually Farmer John brand). Finances being what they are prohibit me from buying the good stuff. =) I've seasoned my pans in a camp fire, on a grill, and in the oven. The information at http://www.macheesmo.com/2011/03/repairing-a-cast-iron-skillet/ is exactly what I've done for years. If you are starting with a new pan, just skip to the seasoning part. To begin with, I do two coatings and reseason if needed. I cook greasy things in my pans all of the time, so I don't reseason often.

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