Aluminum pans can quickly lose their luster and deteriorate if left without proper care, leaving you on the hook for purchasing new pans frequently. Seasoning them will extend their life and keep them looking shiny and new, use after use. So, if you have purchased a new set of pans or have an existing set that isn't already beyond hope, season them before your next meal! This will protect them from heat and food enzymes that can cause damage, rust, and oxidization. This helpful guide will show you how to do this effectively to save your pans and your wallet.
Step 1 - Wash Your Pan
Always wash an aluminum pan with warm water and dish soap before you season it. This will remove dust and dirt that can cause scratches and discoloration. Do not soak the pan as this can damage the coating. It can also cause any Teflon inside to flake off. When you have finished, dry the pan with a soft cloth.
Step 2 - Season the Pan with Oil
If you have an electric range, set the burner to pre-heat over low heat. If you have a gas stove, however, make sure to set the burner to its lowest setting, as you do not want to burn the outside of the pan. Meanwhile, wipe the inside of the pan all around with vegetable oil. Don’t forget to the sides; these are often left out.
Next, put the pan on the stove to heat up. Don’t leave it unattended at any time as this can be dangerous. Leave it on the burner only until all of the oil is gone. You will probably see the oil heating up and possible some steam rising, but it will probably take around 20 minutes before it has all evaporated. Remove the pan from the stove using an oven glove and leave on a protected surface to cool.
Step 3 - Rewash the Pan
The next stage is to do a final quick wash using warm water and soap. Always make sure you wash your pan by hand since putting it in the dishwasher will damage it. Dry it again with a soft cloth, and store it carefully to prevent unnecessary scratches.
Step 4 - Maintain the Condition
When using your seasoned aluminum pan, make sure you pre-heat it first and always use oil or butter. Never let the oil in the pan burn, and when you are cooking food in it, try not to let anything sit too long as this can damage the surface of the aluminum, especially if you have to remove burnt pieces with a scraper. Help keep food from sticking by stirring it frequently. This shouldn't be hard if you watch your meals since you should never leave an aluminum pan unattended. This metal conducts heat well and quickly, so anything inside can burn before you know it.