What is seasoning?
Seasoning is preparing a cast iron cauldron or other cast iron cookware for use. There are two objectives in this process:
1. Coat the cast iron to prevent rust; and
2. To create a natural, permanent non-stick cooking surface.
Seasoning is an easy, but very important first step when using cast iron. Unlike synthetically coated cookware, cast iron can be seasoned, re-seasoned, and its cooking surface restored. When you season a cast iron utensil, you are preventing rust and providing the cookware with a natural, permanent non-stick surface. Remember: Seasoning takes time and repeated use before a pan develops the shiny, black surface.
How to season your cauldron.
1. Wash new cauldron with hot, soapy water. (This is the only time any cast iron should ever be touched with soap.) Rinse and dry completely.
2. Apply a thin coat of cooking oil or melted vegetable shortening (i.e. Crisco) to the entire surface (including lid if applicable) both inside and out.
3. Line the lower oven rack with aluminum foil (to catch any drippings) , and preheat oven to 350° F (180° C).
4. Place cauldron (and the lid) upside down on the upper oven rack, and bake for one hour.
5. Turn oven off and let cauldron and lid cool before removing from oven.
6. Store in a cool, dry place. If you have a lid for your cauldron, place a folded paper towel between the lid and the utensil to allow air to circulate.
Tips for care and cleaning
After use: Clean using a stiff brush and hot water only. Towel dry immediately and apply a light coating of vegetable oil to cookware while still warm.
NEVER wash any cast iron cauldron in dishwasher. Remove any heavy food or grease build up (including resins and incenses) in a self cleaning oven or with steel wool, sandpaper, etc. Then re-season.
NEVER wash cast iron cauldron with soap or dishwashing detergents as it will cause rust, and in cooking, a metal taste. If this happens scour off the rust and repeat the seasoning process.
NEVER use any cast iron to store or save food in.
NEVER leave liquid materials in cauldrons.
And remember that seasoning is an on-going process. The more you use your cauldron or any other cast iron, the better seasoned it gets. That’s why witches have extremely wonderfully shiny black cauldrons, “They Just Keep Looking Better”.
Information provided by Jenwytch:
(modified and edited from http://groups.msn.com/Ravensgrove/thetencommandmentsofcauldrons.msnw)