Cast iron cookware is still as popular today as it was over 150 years ago. That is because cast iron will literally last for generations if properly seasoned and cared for. The seasoning process is the most important because it seals and protects the cast iron from rusting and wearing down but also makes the cast iron non stick and easy to clean.
The seasoning process is very simple, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, cover your cast iron with oil and bake for one hour. That’s it! But because the oil is what seals and protects the cast iron, what is the best oil to use? A lot of people like to use grapeseed oil because it seems to provide a very non stick surface, however grapeseed oil contains high levels of omega 6 which can be unhealthy. Flaxseed oil is another favorite to use because it is a dry oil which provides a hard tough film. Vegetable oil is also said to be the best oil for cast iron cooking just as good as the grapeseed oil or flaxseed oil.
Back in the day, they simply seasoned their cast iron with lard. Which is pork fat that is cooked down from the fatty tissue of pigs. It has a really bad reputation but is actually better for you than butter and contains lower sodium. If you don’t have lard you can use shortening, which in my personal experience is the best to use to season your cast iron. I base my conclusion on the cast iron skillet that I have hanging in my kitchen that was passed down to me from my great grandmother. It is still shiny and black and I cook in it often. It was seasoned with shortening.