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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BARE AND SEASONED?
We offer our cookware in two finishes: bare and seasoned. Our bare skillet is ideal for people who prefer to season their own cookware, and will need to be seasoned (by you) before it is used. This skillet will arrive coated with oil and bagged to protect it from the elements. Just wash it and season it however you like. Our seasoned skillet has already been seasoned (by us) and will arrive ready to go, right out of the box.
WHAT IS SEASONING?
Seasoning is a layer of fat or oil that is baked onto the iron to protect it and aid in its non-stick properties. The bare iron is coated with oil both inside and out, and when heated, the oil goes through a chemical change called polymerization, transforming the liquid oil into a hard shell. This layer of seasoning is surprisingly durable. Despite its name, seasoning does not affect the taste of your food. There are some who insist that the seasoning holds flavor, and the taste of past meals will find its way into whatever you’re currently cooking. This is not only hard to believe, but also pretty gross, and we’ve found little evidence to support it. Seasoning will build up over time as additional oils get cooked into the iron, but you shouldn’t be able to taste yesterday’s pork chops in tonight’s hash browns, assuming you cleaned your skillet properly. Related note: seasoning is both a noun and a verb. The noun refers to the layer of polymerized oil; the verb refers to the process of applying this oil.
WHAT TYPE OF SEASONING IS USED ON YOUR SEASONED COOKWARE?
We use a blend of canola, grapeseed, and sunflower oil. Our oil blend is 100% certified non-GMO and contains no animal products, so it’s vegetarian/vegan friendly. It is also soy and peanut-free, for anyone with allergy concerns.
WHY IS MY SKILLET COPPER BROWN INSTEAD OF BLACK?
Many people think of cast iron as being black in color, but cast iron actually begins its life the metallic gray color you associate with silver or stainless steel. For those of you who order a bare Stargazer skillet, you’ll see it arrive in this gray color. When we season our skillets, we apply two thin coats of our seasoning oil blend, which gives the skillet the copper brown color you see in person and in the photos on our website. As you cook with the skillet, you’ll notice some change in color, especially on the cooking surface. Your skillet will turn darker in some areas and the coloring will appear uneven at first. Don’t fret! That’s perfectly normal. We intentionally apply our seasoning thin, as it’s best with our surface finish to have the seasoning build up slowly. Over time, these darker spots will even out and the color will become more uniform, eventually turning the black color most people typically associate with cast iron.
WHAT DO THE NUMBERS ON THE BACK OF THE SKILLET HELPER HANDLE MEAN?
The numbers refer to the date your skillet was cast in YYYYMMDD format. For example, a skillet that says 20180615 was cast on June 15, 2018.
FOOD IS STICKING TO MY NEW SKILLET. I THOUGHT CAST IRON WAS SUPPOSED TO BE NON-STICK?
Don’t be discouraged. There is a break-in period with cast iron and your patience will pay off. You should use a little extra cooking oil the first 2-3 times you use your new skillet. As the seasoning builds up, food will stick less and less. After cooking in your skillet a few times, you’ll find the food releases effortlessly.
IS YOUR COOKWARE OVEN SAFE?
Yes. You can even use it for baking. Please be careful handling the cookware after removing it from the oven, it needs plenty of time to cool.
IS YOUR COOKWARE DISHWASHER SAFE?
No. It would probably survive but we don’t recommend it. Our warranty does not cover damage due to dishwasher use.
CAN I USE YOUR COOKWARE ON MY GLASS/CERAMIC OR INDUCTION STOVE?
Yes. Our cast iron cookware can be used on any cooking surface: gas, electric coil, glass/ceramic, induction, grill, etc. We take great care to smooth the bottom surface of our cookware to avoid damage to glass/ceramic stove tops, but as with all cookware, please be gentle when moving the skillet. Avoid sliding the skillet if possible; it’s safer to lift and set.
IS YOUR SKILLET CAST AS ONE PIECE OR ARE THE HANDLES ATTACHED AFTER CASTING?
Our skillet is cast as one piece. After casting, the cooking surface is machined smooth, so that’s why the inside surface has a different finish from the rest of the skillet. No need to worry about any pieces coming loose or falling off!
WHAT KIND OF COOKING UTENSILS SHOULD I USE WITH CAST IRON?
Any kind you like. You don’t have to worry about scratching cast iron with metal utensils. In fact, we recommend metal utensils. The best tool for the job seems to be a basic, old-fashioned metal spatula. Find one with a straight, flat edge and rounded corners. The flat edge will help you get under your food, while the rounded corners will prevent any gouging.
CAN I USE SOAP TO CLEAN MY CAST IRON COOKWARE?
Yes. Some people advise against this, concerned that the soap will damage the seasoning. The fact is that when the oil polymerizes to form a hard seasoning layer, it becomes very difficult to break down. You would have to soak the skillet in soapy water for a long time to see any effect on the seasoning (but please don’t try this).
I FOUND RUST ON MY SKILLET, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Don’t panic! Rust won’t damage your skillet unless it is left rusty for an extended period of time. Rust just means that part of your skillet wasn’t thoroughly coated with seasoning and the iron is reacting with the air. After all, rust is just iron oxide and is completely harmless. All you need to do is scrub the rust off with some hot water and an abrasive scouring pad or steel wool. Dry thoroughly and re-season immediately. No harm done.