My cast iron skillets are somewhere in the attic. I’ve hunted through all the boxes a few times and still can’t find them. I know they made the trip from Cedar Hill when we moved last year but I still can’t put my hands on them. So because I wanted to make a recipe that requires a cast iron skillet I went hunting for some at thrift shops this past week. I found a large 12 inch, a 9 or 10 inch and a Dutch oven with a lid. I also bought a Lodge cast iron skillet to see what I thought of it.
My thrift shop finds.
The Dutch oven had rust (mostly inside the lid) which I started cleaning with Kosher salt and a scrubbing sponge, but it didn’t come out until I used steel wool. After scrubbing up all the pans, I applied a coat of Crisco shortening inside and out and placed them in the oven upside down with a cookie sheet to catch all the drips so I didn’t start any fires!
You can see the rack on the bottom catching drips. The lid to the Dutch oven is on the left, and I actually went ahead and reseasoned the Lodge skillet even though you’re not supposed to have to do this.
Here’s a view of the pots cooling after baking in the oven for 1 hour with Crisco shortening (I put inside and outside).
This was after seasoning 1 time. I am probably going to season some of the pans a couple of times to get a really nice and smooth finish on the inside.
Here are a few tips.
TIPS FOR CLEANING AND SEASONING CAST IRON SKILLETS
1) Don’t soak cast iron skillets like you would aluminum. Rinse out with hot or warm water and towel dry immediately. If you leave any water on the skillet it may rust.
2) Most websites tell you not to use soapy water on your skillets. I will tell you my mom always did and it never bothered hers. But she kept her pans well seasoned. They were slick on the bottom surface and she didn’t allow them to get yucky with corrosion and goop all over the outside like you see on some of the old pans just out of someone’s attic. Nor did she ever allow her pans to rust. It is probably a good motto to leave off the soapy water unless you’re a really experienced cook with cast iron.
3) If you can’t get stuff off the back or sides of the skillet they can be soaked in a mixture of 1/2 water and 1/2 vinegar for a very short period of time. You will probably have to reseason them anyway if they have gotten into that kind of condition.
4) The best way to clean them after use is with a wash cloth and Kosher or coarse salt. If there is rust or sediment in the pan you can use steel wool pads.
5) To season a pan once it has been cleaned, using a paper towel, coat the pan with a layer of Crisco shortening (or lard if you have it). I coat mine inside and outside. Then lay them face down on the oven rack with large cookie sheets on the bottom to collect any drips. Laying them face down protects the pans from pooling the oil into certain spots. Bake in your oven about 1 hour at 350-400. You may need to regrease and reheat the pan again a couple more times to get a good finish especially if it has not been well cared for.
6) Take care of your cast iron and it will take care of you. Keep it well seasoned and food doesn’t stick. It’s also much healthier than cooking with aluminum or teflon.
- The Secret to a Well-Seasoned Cast-Iron Skillet (thedailysouth.southernliving.com)
- How To Clean and Season Rusty Cast Iron Skillets (federaljack.com)
- Benefits of Cast Iron Cookware (emilyslittlehomestead.wordpress.com)
- 5 Reasons Why Cast Iron Is The Greenest Choice For Cooking (beverlyhillsfarms.com)
- Cooking with Cast Iron (artofmanliness.com)