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.
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 in mineral oil to protect it in transit. 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.
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, peanut and gluten-free for anyone with allergy concerns. All of the oils used in our seasoning are certified kosher as well, but please note that our factory where the oils are mixed and applied is not certified kosher.
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.
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).
Stargazer cookware is designed with a concave bottom, convex cooking surface and uniform thickness. We do this so the material has room to move to prevent a wobble or spin. The air gap underneath the surface is much smaller compared to a heat ring.
Don’t be discouraged. There is a break-in period with cast iron and your patience will pay off.
You'll want to use a stiff brush or chainmail scrubber to remove any food stuck to your skillet. For the really stubborn bits, add a little water, bring it to a gentle boil and use a spatula to scrape them away.
Note: You should use a little extra cooking oil the first few 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.
Always remember to preheat your skillet on LOW for 5-10 minutes before turning up the heat or adding any food. This will aid in non-stick cooking and prevent any damage to you skillet due to thermal shock.
You'll want to add a maitenance seasoning layer. Your seasoning may look splotchy as it builds but it'll darken and even out as you continue to cook with your 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.
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.
For induction cooking, we recommend preheating your skillet for a few minutes between 150-200°F and doing most general cooking between 250-350°F. Induction cooktops heat up very quickly, so preheating on a low temperature will ensure even heating of your cast iron.
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 or you left it wet for too long. 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. Dry thoroughly and re-season immediately. No harm done.
Always be sure to dry your skillet immediately and completely after it has been exposed to water to avoid rust.
No. It would probably survive but we don’t recommend it. Our warranty does not cover damage due to dishwasher use.
Our skillets are made entirely here in the United States. Each skillet makes four stops on a journey through multiple states. The final stop is at our headquarters in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania where they are finished by hand and shipped directly to our customers.
Yes, 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!
Yes. One of the best features of cast iron is that it can be safely used in or over any heat source. You can even use it for baking. Please be careful handling the cookware after removing it from a closed heat source like the oven, grill or from over the fire. It needs plenty of time to cool.
These 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. It's your skillet's birthday!
All of the oils we use are certified kosher. This includes the oils in our seasoning blend as well as the mineral oil used to coat our bare skillets. Please note that our factory where the oils are mixed and applied is not certified kosher.