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What is Preseasoned Cast Iron Cookware?

Preseasoned cast iron cookware? Surely that must be a dream, right? Cooking with cast iron means you must first spend time applying oil and heating your pan properly in the oven to season it. Many meals must be cooked in a cast iron pan to create that black, nonstick surface that is the goal of every cast iron aficionado. Right?

While that once was true, you can now get high quality preseasoned cast iron cookware that is ready to use right out of the box. Manufacturers have found a method of applying a vegetable oil electrostatic spray to the cast iron pans and then they are subjected to a high temperature gas oven to create a layer of seasoning and that wonderful black patina that we all strive for. The preseasoning covers every inch of surface area, so your pan already has the beginnings of a cooking surface.

The beauty of cast iron cookware is its even heating, its heat retention and its natural nonstick surface. That nonstick surface is usually the result of years of constant use. The preseasoned cookware allows you to achieve that natural nonstick surface with less effort, at least initially, on your part.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Of course the biggest advantage to preseasoned cast iron cookware is your initial seasoning is already done. Just keep treating it as you would any other cast iron pan to thicken the seasoning layer. You can take it right out of the box, rinse it out and fry up a nice pan of bacon. Voila! There's your second layer of seasoning.

Preseasoned cast iron has been highly recommended by Cooks Illustrated magazine as a healthy alternative to nonstick cookware that may release unhealthy fumes at high temperatures. Cast iron can handle high temperatures without a problem. Preseasoned cookware comes in a wide variety of options, from traditional Dutch ovens and skillets to more unusual woks and smoke boxes.

Some people have said that the preseasoned layer is too thin, or that it seemed to flake off after cooking a few meals. Of course, you can treat your preseasoned pan just like a bare pan and season it again when you take it out of the box.

If you notice flaking and peeling later on, you should work on removing the loose seasoning and then reseason the pan, just like you would in any other cast iron pan that needed it.

Cost also plays a part in this. Preseasoned cast iron will be slightly more expensive than unseasoned cast iron. For example, a small, unseasoned skillet may go for $18, while the same size already preseasoned may go for $24. Granted, this isn't a big difference for most people, but if you find you're more critical of preseasoning than the next person, you may be a bit upset that you could have saved $5.

Companies that Make Preseasoned Cookware

There are several cast iron cookware makers of preseasoned cast iron cookware. If you search online, you'll be able to find several more than if you just check out your local shops.
  • Lodge Cast Iron is probably the best known company. Located in Tennessee, they have been making cast iron cookware since the late 1800s. All of their bare cast iron now comes preseasoned, including their Logic, Pro-Logic and Signature lines. Their prices are in the low to middle range for cookware.
  • Emerilware, whose spokesperson is celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, also makes a line of preseasoned cast iron cookware to accompany his other cookware.
  • Range Kleen also has several different pans that come already seasoned. They are priced about the same or maybe a little less than Lodge.
  • Heuck is another mid-range company that offers preseasoned cast iron in several designs.
  • Cabela's preseasoned cast iron cookware comes in a large variety of styles and is very economical.
  • Cajun Cast Iron is another source. This company prides itself on traditional cast iron.
  • If you search camping gear stores, you can find TexSport cast iron camping cookware that comes preseasoned. This lets you go camping and your pots are all ready for you. Of course, they can be used for every day as well as camping trips.
  • Rome cast iron makes more camping gear like pie irons.

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