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I received a cast-aluminum pan as a hand-me-down from my mother's grandmother. As far as I know it was never seasoned while in my mother's possession. A little food will stick on occasion and I wash it just as a I would a cheaper teflon-coated pan.

Can I / should I season the pan or am I better off just leaving it as it is? Anything else I should know about taking care of this guy? I'd like for it to last as long as possible.

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    If it's really aluminum I think you are better off hanging it as a decorative artifact. – Escoce Nov 10 '15 at 12:42
  • To add to my comment, are you sure it isn't cast iron? That's a big difference. – Escoce Nov 10 '15 at 18:59
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    @Escoce why? Cast aluminum pans are quite popular, and fully functional. Yes, cast iron has its advantages. It has disadvantages too. Dismissing all other types of pan as "decorative artifact" sounds snobbish. – rumtscho Nov 11 '15 at 11:49
  • I was thinking more about health impacts. I know the jury is still out about the links between aluminum and dementia, but so far the evidence points that way. Not snobbish, just too much of a risk for me whether it has been substantiated or not. – Escoce Nov 11 '15 at 22:56
  • Relevant Skeptics.SE question: skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/5798/… – Agos Nov 12 '15 at 11:07
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Yes, cast aluminum should be seasoned. Here are some instructions from cookingforengineers.com:


How Do I Season It?

  • Wash the cookware with hot soapy water.
  • Dry it and then coat it thoroughly with vegetable oil. The easiest way is to pour the oil onto a paper towel and work it well into all the surfaces.
  • Put the well-coated cookware into a 250 degree oven and leave it there for 2 hours.
  • Never use scouring pads or detergent on cast ware. Simply wipe it out using a damp cloth.
  • If food starts to stick to the cookware, just season it again.

How Do I Look After It?

  • Repeated washing in a dishwasher will strip off any seasoning, can cause discoloration and is not advised. Remove the staining by boiling something acidic like tomatoes or apple peelings and then re-season.
  • Don't leave it to soak in soapy water
  • Don't use steel-wool pads to clean it
  • You can use non-abrasive cleaners or a paste made with baking soda and water. Use either of these with a gentle, synthetic scourer and your sheet or cast aluminum will shine!

Here's one more tip I learned the hard way. Don't use aluminum cookware on glass ceramic stovetops! The aluminum can permanently discolor the glass, or perhaps even fuse to it. I've never actually seen an aluminum pan fuse to a stovetop before, but I did permanently mark my stovetop the first time I put an aluminum pan on it.

  • I've had no problems with Calphalon pans on a ceramic cooktop; perhaps the problem you cite only happens with non-anodized aluminum. – Daniel Griscom Nov 11 '15 at 11:29
  • @DanielGriscom : I suspect it's the seasoning that's sticking, not necessarily the aluminum. (from prior experience w/ not fully cured seasoning). Not sure about the discoloration, though. – Joe Nov 11 '15 at 15:11
  • It was a brand new, non-anodized, unseasoned frying pan made from sheet aluminum that hurt my stovetop. Perhaps "hurt" is the wrong word because the damage was only cosmetic. The stove's manual warns against using aluminum, but I didn't remember that when I bought the pan. – mrog Nov 11 '15 at 15:40

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