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Using a cast iron skillet ain't so hard!  RSS feed

 
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Teresa McCoy wrote:Having read your article, I would offer a few observations:

~ it is possible to take an old cruddy cast iron pan (that bargain you found at a flea market!) and remove the old seasoning that might be rough and flaking: spray the pan well with oven cleaner - do this outside as the fumes can be harmful!; put the sprayed pan in a plastic garbage bag, close and tie the top of the bag and let it sit overnight outside; the next day or the day after that, scrub the pan well and see if more of the same treatment is needed; repeat this process until you have reached the bare (grayish) iron. Wash well with soap and water, scrubbing hard. Dry completely, then start the seasoning process: rub the entire pan inside and out with shortening, such as Crisco brand. Line a baking sheet with foil, lay pan on bottom up, bake in a slow oven (250 to 300 degrees) for several hours, let cool. Repeat the seasoning process several more times until the pores are sealed and the seasoned pan has a nice, smooth, black, glossy look to it. I reconditioned my grandmother's skillet and it is ready for the next 50 years. It was hard work and took several days, but it was worth it!



Thanks for this suggestion.

This year I managed to burn one pan and remove some of the seasoning on another causing it to rust.

Can any one offer suggestions on what would be best to fix these?
 
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Location: Northern Maine, USA (zone 3b-4a)
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Teresa McCoy wrote:Having read your article, I would offer a few observations:

~ I have a problem with your use of the term oil/grease throughout the article. Our grandparents used lard, bacon grease, cooking oil, and butter. Today we might use butter for frying eggs and canola/safflower/sunflower/olive oil in place of the lard and bacon grease.

~ a quality cast iron pan can be heated quite hot on a stove top with no problem - i.e. Cajun blackened fish or pan seared steaks can be cooked at high temperatures in cast iron

~ the best way to season a new cast iron pan is not to cook cornbread, but to fry French Fried potatoes in as much oil as the pan can safely hold; by heating the oil to the proper temperature for making fries, you will start the process of sealing the pores in the untreated, raw iron pan

~ another way to clean cast iron after use is to sprinkle some coarse salt in the pan and scrub with dish cloth or brush; the abrasive action of the salt will help to loosen any remaining food particles

~ it is possible to take an old cruddy cast iron pan (that bargain you found at a flea market!) and remove the old seasoning that might be rough and flaking: spray the pan well with oven cleaner - do this outside as the fumes can be harmful!; put the sprayed pan in a plastic garbage bag, close and tie the top of the bag and let it sit overnight outside; the next day or the day after that, scrub the pan well and see if more of the same treatment is needed; repeat this process until you have reached the bare (grayish) iron. Wash well with soap and water, scrubbing hard. Dry completely, then start the seasoning process: rub the entire pan inside and out with shortening, such as Crisco brand. Line a baking sheet with foil, lay pan on bottom up, bake in a slow oven (250 to 300 degrees) for several hours, let cool. Repeat the seasoning process several more times until the pores are sealed and the seasoned pan has a nice, smooth, black, glossy look to it. I reconditioned my grandmother's skillet and it is ready for the next 50 years. It was hard work and took several days, but it was worth it!

   easy way to clean a caked cast iron frying pan is put in red hot coals of a fire. pull it out the next day. burns off everything.  season with crisco or bacon fat. just like brand-new! my grandfather taught me that and i still have his wagner skillet. he was a cook in the logging camps and he cooked with nothing but cast iron.
 
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cast iron seasoning. Didn't read all 11 pages of previous posts but I did scan for anything about seasoning with flax oil. Didn't see any so here's my 2 cents worth based on my research & experience with it about 5 years ago ...

... apparently modern pork is different than "the good old days" pork so it doesn't season like "the good old days". Followed by many pages of scientific data. With many more pages supporting the use of flax seed oil to season cast iron. So I gave it a try. Had an old skillet, the flax oil, & it was winter. Not a summertime activity in Texas. The final results are very impressive. Worth the time & electric bill.

1. Put cast iron in oven & adjust for max heat.
2. When temp stabilizes at maximum remove the cast iron & coat with flax oil. (very smokey process)
3. Put back in oven & turn heat off. Allow to cool to room temp.
4. Repeat about 8 or 10 times. After about the 3rd coating patches of a shiny teflon like coating begin to appear. Repeat until the entire cast iron is well seasoned.

That particular skillet has been used & often abused almost every day since. Just now getting to the point of needing another treatment. Next time every piece of cast iron I own will be seasoned with flax oil. I'm convinced it's the next best thing to heirloom pigs.


 
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Mike Barkley wrote:Cast iron seasoning. Didn't read all 11 pages of previous posts but I did scan for anything about seasoning with flax oil. Didn't see any so here's my 2 cents worth based on my research & experience with it about 5 years ago ...

That particular skillet has been used & often abused almost every day since. Just now getting to the point of needing another treatment. Next time every piece of cast iron I own will be seasoned with flax oil. I'm convinced it's the next best thing to heirloom pigs.



I had never heard the pork difference referenced alongside cast iron.  The modern pork diet is high in corn.  Must be something about that in the fat that behaves differently.

I love documentations like this with your actual experience!  This means a lot and I may use flax seed on our next cast iron seasoning regimen.

Peace
 
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Peanut oil is another very good oil to season cast iron with.  It has a high smoke point.  That said, I use bacon grease or lard mainly for seasoning.
 
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