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Using a cast iron skillet ain't so hard!

 
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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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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
 
pollinator
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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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I learned alot about cast iron this winter in northern maine, I used my woodstove and cast iron for every meal. I seasoned using bacon the first cook, it is what grandma told me to do, lol . I store it in my cabinets and use it on my propane stove now that it is warming up. I love the taste and how easy cleaning is. I have not experienced any problems with pitting, wish I could advise.
 
Mike Barkley
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If memory serves it is because the pig's diet AND the pig itself has changed. All I know for sure is the flax oil works very well.
 
steve bossie
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Jolene Jakesy wrote:I learned alot about cast iron this winter in northern maine, I used my woodstove and cast iron for every meal. I seasoned using bacon the first cook, it is what grandma told me to do, lol . I store it in my cabinets and use it on my propane stove now that it is warming up. I love the taste and how easy cleaning is. I have not experienced any problems with pitting, wish I could advise.

hi Jolene. I'm up in the st. john valley. i still have my grandfathers cast iron. if that skillet could talk! he was a cook at a logging camp in the allagash for 40 yrs. only man i knew that could make a 3 cousre meal on the tailgate of his truck. he would even make biscuits in a cast iron dutch oven! would cook for us on hunting trips. we'd eat so much no one wanted to go back out in the afternoon!
 
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Cast iron can pit if you cook acidic food and leave it in there for a long time.  It's a very old timey way to get some iron into your diet to cure the disease of pale ears.  However, you need to wash out the acidic substance well, then re-season.  Repeated seasoning will fill in those tiny pits.  I would NEVER be without at least a skillet & griddle of cast iron.  They do such a superior job cooking anything by smoothing out any hot spots and gentling down the heat while you cook - home-cut hashbrowns or pancakes, or even pan-baked breads never cook as well on anything else!

As for seasoning, use whatever higher smoke point fat (a frying oil/fat, as opposed to salad oil) you normally cook with, I've never found it matters all that much as long as it will take enough heat to open the pores of the iron for good absorbtion.
 
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Lorin B wrote:What causes pitting in cast iron?  Is there a way to remove or smooth out the pitting?

Julie L.



Pitting could be due to a cheap manufacturing process.

But be happy to a degree.

Women should be using *ONLY* cast iron cookware.

Reason:
women need 18mg of daily iron intake.
Cast iron gives off a small amount of iron (acids from foods eat away some of it - red meats have a bit more sulfur released when cooked).
Every little bit helps!

I do wonder what impurities cheap cast iron has in it.

Cadmium perhaps?

Dunno - not a metallurgist.

https://www.britannica.com/technology/cast-iron
 
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