Borough Furnace skillets are pre-seasoned with organic flax seed oil and are ready to cook on right out of the box. The first few times you use your skillet it may stick a bit more than is typical. Pre-heating your pan and warming your cooking oil before adding food will help to prevent this. Frozen items will tend to stick more, as well. It is best to thaw your food and pat it dry before cooking for the best result. Once you start cooking in your skillet more, you will begin to build up a better nonstick cooking surface from the oils and fats in your food - this is the "seasoning". Cast iron care is organized around protecting this seasoning and building it up over time.
Initially you may see some color changes in your seasoning as you begin cooking with it. This is a normal part of breaking in your cast iron and the color will darken over time with continued use. The deep black associated with cast iron comes from layers of seasoning built up from cooking (or sometimes through artificial means by the manufacturer.) If a deep black appearance is important to you, consider cooking frequently with butter or lard to deepen the color more quickly.
For normal cleaning, brush the skillet out with a dish brush or scrubby sponge under a warm tap, but without using soap. Dry the skillet right away. We also like to rub a tiny amount of our cooking oil onto the pan surface afterwards to further protect the iron from moisture. If you need to scrape anything out of the skillet more intensely, you can either rub it while dry with coarse salt or try a copper scrub pad under the tap. Copper is a softer metal than iron and will not scratch the surface of your skillet.
Once you start cooking in your skillet, you will begin to build up a nonstick cooking surface from the oils and fats in your food. The cooking surface will become more and more nonstick as you use it over time. You never want your skillet to stay wet for a long time, as the iron can rust. If the skillet does accidentally get rusty, just scrub or sand the rust off and re-season the pan. Or - if you start to notice that your cooking surface is starting to stick more, you can also just re-season the skillet to get back on track - or cook with a little bit more oil until the surface improves with use. Essentially, all skillet problems can be solved with re-seasoning, so don’t worry too much about it!
If your seasoning starts to degrade down the line, you can re-season the skillet it at home to get it back on track. There are a lot of resources online about skillet seasoning, but this what we recommend. Your skillet got four coats of seasoning using this method before it shipped out:
1) Warm the skillet in the oven at 200 F for 10 minutes.
2) Take the skillet out and rub oil onto the skillet - and then rub it almost all the way back off, leaving only a very thin layer. You don't want the oil to be drippy as it can flake off if too thick. We use organic flax seed oil (available in the refrigerated health food section at most grocery stores), but you can use lard or other cooking oils. Olive oil, however, is not good for this - it leaves a pretty soft surface..
3) Put the skillet back into the oven, placed upside-down, at 500 F (for flax seed oil, 400 F for vegetable oil) for an hour. After the time is up, leave the skillet in the oven until it is cool enough to touch. It should not be sticky. If it is sticky, it needs more oven time.
4) While the skillet is still warm, repeat steps two and three up to four times.
The real benefit of seasoning comes from cooking on the skillet, but this base layer of flax seasoning will seal the iron and get you started. Unlike cookware with artificial coatings that degrade over time, your skillet will only improve with use.
Please feel free to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org should you have any questions about the care of your skillet as you use it.