Seasoning can be delicate at the beginning of your cooking journey with your carbon steel pan. Below are some foods that may remove or damage your carbon steel seasoning, especially in it's early phases.
Lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, and other citrus fruits are known for their high acidity levels.
Certain berries such as cranberries, blueberries, and raspberries have a relatively high acid content. If cooking down, the acidity and high sugar content may damage seasoning.
Different types of vinegar, such as white vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and apple cider vinegar, are highly acidic.
Tomatoes and tomato-based products like tomato sauce, tomato paste, and ketchup have a high acid content.
Wine, particularly white wine, can be acidic due to its tart taste. Additionally, cooking down sweet wines may cause caramelization which can damage seasoning.
Onions themselves are not inherently bad for seasoning. However, certain caramelized dishes, such as caramelized onion, can sometimes be aggressive towards the seasoning on pans if left for extended periods or cooked at high temperatures.
Fermented dairy foods like sour cream and some yogurts can be acidic due to the fermentation process.
Fermented and/or pickled foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles can be acidic due to the fermentation process.
Remember that the seasoning on pans is a delicate layer of polymerized oil that provides a non-stick surface and protects the pan. To maintain and protect the seasoning, it's recommended to avoid prolonged exposure to acidic or abrasive substances and to clean seasoned pans gently using mild detergents and non-abrasive cleaning tools.