I cooked a sauce of dry spices, coconut milk, ginger root and lemon grass in my steel carbon pan. I finnished the sauce of with the juice of one lime fruit.

I thought that the coconut milk would protect the seasoning by neutralizing the acidity of the lime juice, but when I cleaned out the pan, the seasoning in the bottom was destroyed -- down to the steel.

It is a deBuyer pan Mineral B type.

The seasoning is from flaxseed oil, Sheryll Canter style with six layers of oil polymerized on top of each other in a 250 degree Celsius oven etc.

My question is: is it safe to eat the dish with the corrosive sauce, in the sense that it contains the residue from the corroded seasoning?

Cheers Mats

  • 2
    While food release for nonstick coatings like PFOA/S have been studied to a degree, it might be harder to find an answer for your specific seasoning method. Unrelated: you're going to strip and re-season that valuable pan, yes? :)
    – zanlok
    May 29, 2020 at 19:03
  • 1
    Cheers @zanlok. I certainly hope polymerized flax seed oil is nothing like Teflon or the like, but the ammount of seasoning that had been broken down in this clearly acidic sauce made me want to get someone else's thoughts. Thanks for reflecting. The pan is in safe hands. I will give it another round of scrubbing and reseasoning...again. Cheers.
    – Mats
    May 30, 2020 at 17:45

2 Answers 2


You have some misconceptions here.

First, coconut milk doesn't neutralize any acid, it is just fat in water, probably with a very mild acidic pH itself. For neutralizing an acid, you need a base (and it has nothing to do with the perception of diminished sourness coming from eating fat alongside the acid).

Second, it wasn't the acid that stripped away the seasoning. Bases strip seasoning, acids don't. And you need something a lot more corrosive than an edible sauce for that. The advice to not make highly acidic sauces in iron pans is connected to concerns about rusting the pan underneath the seasoning. Your seasoning probably went away because flaxseed tends to make nonrobust seasoning.

As for the safety, it is obviously safe in the strict sense, polymerized oil gets created in everyday cooking too and nobody has created a regulation forbidding us from serving food where that has happened. This means that you won't keel over from food poisoning tomorrow. If you are asking it in any other sense (e.g. whether it has long-term effects on your health), this is a topic which is explicitely excluded from discussion on our site.


Personally I would avoid eating that sauce for the following reason.

The seasoning on your pan is basically a bunch of polymers which were created when you heated the flax seed oil to a very high temperature. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasoning_(cookware)

When you "disolved" your seasoning in your sauce those polymeres are what went in to the food. I would recommend not eating those for the same reason I would not recommend to eat food fried at a high temperature in low smoke point oil (such as flaxseed).

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