Welcome to Guide to Life , a series of tips, tricks and insights designed to help you get the most from your gear. If you cook, you need to know how to season a cast-iron skillet. (And if you don't have one, you need to get a cast-iron skillet .) In this video, Home & Drinks Editor Will Price walks us through the process and drops more expert knowledge throughout. Seasoning is a layer of polymerized fats that's baked onto a reactive cooking surface to protect the cooking surface against the air around it and the food cooking on it. In this case, the fats will be from neutral cooking oil, and the reactive surface is the cast iron of your pan. Reactive metals can leech toxic compounds into food; seasoning prevents that from happening. Before you start, here's Everything You Need to Know About Cast-Iron Skillets . What You'll Need: Cast-iron skillet (enameled cast iron does not require seasoning) Oven Neutral cooking oil (canola or similar) Oil rag How-To Steps: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Clean the pan thoroughly. Dry off the pan and place it in the oven for 10 minutes. Apply about half a tablespoon of neutral cooking oil to the cooking surface. Place the skillet in the oven, cooking side facing down. After 15 minutes, wipe down the skillet to evenly spread any collected oil. Put the skillet back in the oven for at least an hour.