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Seasoning and restoring Cast Iron cookware

May 28, 2016
Cast Iron Skillet

 

Let me start this with a review I read on Amazon recently for a Cast Iron Skillet.  Someone gave it 1 star rating and I could not help but laugh when I read it.  The reviewer said “This skillet is very small, and the texture is very rough, which makes cleaning it and drying it a nightmare. I can never get it dry enough to keep from rusting. “.  First, cast iron cookware has been used for hundreds of years and should not be washed!  Cast Iron pots and pans last for ages, with some people handing down the family skillet from generation to generation.  But Cast Iron is just that, it is bare, raw metal.  It has not been treated with any special cancer causing non stick chemicals.  It does not need any special chemicals, in fact it is easy to make Cast Iron non stick and it is just as easy to keep it that way.  It is also easy to restore an old badly rusted skillet that you find in someones root cellar or a flea market.

Just a few tips to keep in mind with Cast Iron:

  1. it will work on most any cooking surface, including gas and electric stoves as well as open camp fires
  2. it distributes heat very evenly
  3. cast iron is seasoned with a cooking grease or oil to make it non stick and does not use any potentially toxic non stick coatings
  4. cast iron should never be washed with water and soap, it should be scraped and wiped when done, this applies to anything cast iron, including cast iron BBQ grates, like in the Weber Q series
  5. Do not polish it smooth, it needs to be rough to allow the grease to stick to the pan for it to properly season, it is like painting a car, you do not paint right over a waxed car, you sand it first to make it rough so the paint will stick.

Restoring Cast Iron Cookware

  1. soak in a solution of half water half vinegar for 4 hours
  2. scrub off as much rust as you can with a kitchen pad
  3. bake right in the coals of an open fire or in an oven for a few hours
  4. wait for it to cool
  5. scrub it again, most of the rust should flake off easily
  6. seasoning it again will remove any remaining rust and make even the oldest cast iron skillet look like new again

Seasoning Cast Iron Cookware

  1. wipe on vegetable oil or lard, some oils like Olive oil should be avoided as they will leave a sticky coating
  2. cook in oven for an hour at 350 degrees
  3. wait for it to cool
  4. wipe it off with paper towel to remove excess grease

 

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