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how or where do you store your cast iron? rack ideas

 
master steward
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Some day, we would like a lovely pan rack above the island in the Fisher Price House kitchen. We're not there yet, and we're out of both cupboard and wall space, so I found these nifty racks at Costco.



(uff - that's a lousy image!)

We keep serious grease/oil/fat in the pans, and helpful housecleaners keep stacking them together, inside each other. Which greases the bottom of the pan that is placed inside a larger pan. Not good for the stove top. These racks are okay for now, but I'm still dreaming about something better.

So I searched permies and I found a couple examples.

David has this lovely pot rack:


(more about it here)

Delilah hangs hers on the wall:


(in her post about the drying rack hanging above/front of them)

What else do you have or suggest? How do you store your heavy and greasy cast iron?

 
gardener
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We keep ours in the oven, or on the stovetop. But it's 2 pieces plus lid and a bacon press.
 
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Our 3 skillets (and tortilla press, and griddle) go in the drawer at the bottom of the oven.  I have stored cast iron in the oven before but don't recommend it unless you 1) keep it relatively dry of oil or 2) remember to take it out before preheating the oven.  Oily pans create a lot of smoke.
 
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I have two racks in my kitchen area, one over the wood cookstove and one over the island. I got those racks from Amazon and couldn't be happier with them. I also have a monster rack in the basement near another woodstove that holds the cast iron I'm not currently using. I think hanging racks are the way to go with cast iron.
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Jocelyn Campbell
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Carol Nelson wrote:I have two racks in my kitchen area, one over the wood cookstove and one over the island. I got those racks from Amazon and couldn't be happier with them. I also have a monster rack in the basement near another woodstove that holds the cast iron I'm not currently using. I think hanging racks are the way to go with cast iron.



Yay for pictures! Welcome to permies, Carol and thanks for the awesome examples!

I've always wondered if folks worry about the weight of heavy pan racks attached to the ceiling. Yours look plenty sturdily attached though.



 
pollinator
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We have a pretty big kitchen (24 x 24) so we dedicated cupboard space under our meat preparation area to hang our skillets, pots and frying pans. We also put dowels in to the cupboard next to it to keep cookie sheets, cutting boards and the like separated.
 
Carol Nelson
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Yes, Jocelyn, they are very firmly attached. My husband is quite dedicated to sturdiness and I think they could hold a lot more weight.

One rack is screwed well into the ceiling joists (is that the right word??) and the other is screwed to a board that is screwed into the joists. That was done in order to center it the way I wanted.

Anyway, I love the setup. It is so much easier to get to my pans that I use every day.
 
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We don't keep ours hung up, would like to, but old house with small kitchen, apparently 'back in the day' the kitchen wasn't as important for a big room as it is now.
We just stack them up and store in the oven. Yup, got to remember to take them out when preheating the oven, get pretty hot if you forget Lol!
They do not have to be oily, wipe them out under hot water, toss them on the burner to dry them out and put a thin layer of oil on them. I like to use just a few drops of oil and wipe it around when it's HOT with a coffee filter, paper towel sucks too much off IMHO.
 
Les Van Valkenburgh
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Carol Nelson wrote:I have two racks in my kitchen area, one over the wood cookstove and one over the island. I got those racks from Amazon and couldn't be happier with them. I also have a monster rack in the basement near another woodstove that holds the cast iron I'm not currently using. I think hanging racks are the way to go with cast iron.


Love those racks, Awesome!
 
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I keep a lidded 13 inch skillet sitting in a 16 inch skillet on the bottom rack of the oven. I keep my pizza stone on the middle rack. It takes longer to preheat but the thermal mass keeps it really hot which is awesome for baking and even more awesome for pizza night when you have to open it every ten minutes to rotate a pie or put in a new one
 
jonathan white
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But I also have a couple shelves in the kitchen loaded with cookware
 
pollinator
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Carol Nelson wrote:I have two racks in my kitchen area, one over the wood cookstove and one over the island. I got those racks from Amazon and couldn't be happier with them. I also have a monster rack in the basement near another woodstove that holds the cast iron I'm not currently using. I think hanging racks are the way to go with cast iron.



I'll second those racks.  I have them in our commercial kitchen.  They are sturdy and will hold a lot of weight if anchored as yours are into the wood joists.  Cast iron woudn't be a problem i would think.  
 
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I think I have attached a photo here, but I'm not sure.

But --our rack for cast iron pans is made of rebar hanging off trimmed-down oak flooring screwed to the ceiling.

If the photo doesn't show up, could someone tell me how to add it?
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pollinator
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I have mine in a drawer in the kitchen - stacked. I don't keep grease in them: I add a little lard after drying them and burn it of on the stove before cooling and putting it away.
 
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my guy used re-purposed barn scrap wood on the wall for the cast iron skillets; and we finally hung the pot hanger i bought at auction several years ago for other assorted pots/pans, which made room for a couple of dutch ovens on pantry shelving... (note the 'new' ceiling, too - metal roof from a fallen shed.  i'm liking the extra effort he made for not celebrating my big 6-0, lol!!!)  
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Here's our tiny but functional kitchen inside our 16x14' canvas wall tent. I built a hanging rack out of 2x4s and screwed in some strong metal hooks for hanging the pots and pans. The chains holding it to the even larger hooks set into the ridge beam were measured to put the height of the pot rack where it was still reachable by my girlfriend yet also 3" above head hazard for several 6'6" friends. This rack is built to hold 10 pots/pans.

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Tent kitchen overhead hanging pan rack.
 
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Jocelyn, I like the rack you got. We live in a mobile home built in the '70's. I don't trust the walls or the ceilings to hold weight, so I needed another option. I was thinking about a basket that would roll under the table to store my dutch oven and chicken fryer, but I couldn't think of anything for the skillets and corn stick pan. Thanks.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Oh my goodness, SO many good pictures since I last visited this thread! Thank you, thank you for all of the eye candy! (I doled out some apples. )

I found another epic pot rack from an architect friend who designed this cabin on Whidbey Island in Washington State.



Edited to add source.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Just found another idea that I liked!



From https://www.urbanexodus.com/jason-siri; about Jason and Siri of http://localrootsfarm.com/.

Now, where could I install a bar like that?

 
Liz Hoxie
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Look at the way that bar is sagging in the middle. I'd be removing cast iron a piece at a time until it stopped sagging. Multiples are a good idea and rebar might look good.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Liz Hoxie wrote:Look at the way that bar is sagging in the middle. I'd be removing cast iron a piece at a time until it stopped sagging. Multiples are a good idea and rebar might look good.



True. I did notice the sagging. Though in my imagination, I was thinking of a stronger, thicker bar, or with less pans on it, if I ever installed one myself.
 
pioneer
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Found this pic.
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pollinator
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We've anchored a 3/4" plywood board to the wall with heavy duty screws directly to studs. The pans are hanging on more heavy duty screws through  short sections of 1/2" copper tubing. Super solid and gives me something to get anal about in the kitchen as the pans fit only one way, lol!
 
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Jocelyn Campbell
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Bernetta and Brian - apples for those great pictures! I wish I had some wall space near my stove! At this point, I'd have to use the dining room wall on the far side of the kitchen.

 
Jocelyn Campbell
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More pictures from this homesteading group post on Facebook:














 
Jocelyn Campbell
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My counter space is seriously suffering. And, the counter rack I use and showed here in the very first picture of the first post, has some downsides. If the pans are too large, or you're running a food processor or something nearby, they slide out and crash to the floor. Not good.

We don't have any practical wall space to use, so today, Paul and I were discussing what kind of rack we'd like to hang above the kitchen island. There are some unique challenges in that the ceiling is vaulted, or peaked/slanted, and the island is at an angle in the kitchen and at odds with the slanted ceiling. It's really hard to describe the 3-D scenario.

Paul would like to build a stout framework out of roundwood, and have lights and a shelf in it. I wasn't so sure, until I saw a bunch online that were close, but not exactly what I'd like.

This one is not quite right - it could be made so much better.

I like that is is wood (albeit looking a bit cheap), and has an open, airy shelf, and the lights are somewhat unobtrusive. Dowels with s-hooks don't look strong enough for what I'd like to hang.


This stylish/expensive one really appeals to my aesthetic.

Though it seems to be more of a nice light fixture than really able to hold much in the way of pans and pots (says it will take up to 50 pounds) and no shelf.

This utilitarian one doesn't say what weight it could hold. I'd have to do more research.

Stainless steel pots are obviously a lot lighter than cast iron, so while this would be a quick solution, I'm not sure it would be sturdy enough either.

This DIY version had a unique idea with the copper pipes.

I could see this made with roundwood around it, though I don't know exactly what or how we'd put lights in it. It might be open enough to let in the light from our recessed can lights in the ceiling above (depending on how we make it and how much I might put on top).

Alternatively, I kind of like the idea of just two rails over our island (not over the sink):

A couple sturdy iron rails, with or without fleur de lis ends would suit me, not block as much light; the downside being that they would not double as a storage shelf.  

 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Deb found some more cool ideas that she posted in the Cool shelves and hangers thread:

Deb Stephens wrote:I love coming up with new ways of hanging things -- from sticks and antlers as pegs for clothes to old gates suspended from the ceiling to hang pots and pans (using S-hooks). Here are some other ideas I've collected over time ...

For pots & Pans ...
or  or even this ...

 
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Cast iron is heavy. I really prefer the ones that look sturdy and are *really* well attached. Also, being short with crappy shoulders/hands, I particularly liked the ones on walls or under counters, so that I'm not bringing something heavy down from above my head.

Have you considered something at ~waist height that is on rollers so it slides out from under something like the kitchen table?

Some of the hanging ones look cool, but safety first!
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Good points, Jay. I'm thinking that the one that looks like a bike wheel would work for stainless or copper pans, but would bend underneath the weight of cast iron.

Our kitchen is in a 1400 square-foot, 3 bedroom (though the bedrooms are *tiny*) double-wide trailer. It's a decent sized kitchen for the house, but a very small kitchen for 8 or more adults sharing the space, let alone cooking for events with 20-50 attendees. Which is to say that our kitchen is PACKED.

So, there is no longer any wall space for pans.
There is no space underneath a table that could have any kind of storage for pans - legs need to be able to fit under just about all table spaces.
The cupboards are all full (packed).
The tops of the cupboards and the tops of the two (yes, two full size) refrigerators are even full.
The counter tops have more on them than I would like.

Here's one corner of our kitchen from Philip / Akhu. You can see that our cast iron lids are in a rack on the counter, and what you can't quite see behind that and the KitchenAid is that there is a second row of pint jars of spices for which, some day, I'd like a second row of shelving to get them off the counter so that we can more easily wipe up underneath them.



And here's how much we pack our kitchen some times - this was 4 years ago.


Paul wants to build a shelf for our cast iron pans, with lights underneath, about head height over the kitchen island, perhaps about the same level as the light above the dining room table. I wasn't so excited about blocking the view from and *light* to the stove and the sink areas by something like that. Then, I found the light fixtures/pan racks that were more airy and open than the wooden chandelier we have - the ones I put in my post just prior to bringing Deb's photos over.

Still noodling on the best solution.

 
Jay Angler
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Hey Jocelyn, you might think this is a crazy idea, but even so, it might spark a good one from you, Paul or someone else:

How about putting a single sturdy hook on the front of the upper cabinets close to the stove - one cupboard for each pan assuming the pans are narrower than the cabinet doors?
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Jay Angler wrote:Hey Jocelyn, you might think this is a crazy idea, but even so, it might spark a good one from you, Paul or someone else:

How about putting a single sturdy hook on the front of the upper cabinets close to the stove - one cupboard for each pan assuming the pans are narrower than the cabinet doors?


I like your efforts to help, Jay! Paul wanted to hang some things on our cupboard doors, too - it might have been the pans, but I can't recall for sure what it was now. Though I didn't think that was a good idea because the hinges are not very strong. In fact, we've had some seem less than durable from the dozens of guys who sort of slam the cupboard doors around.

Though I am starting to think about things a bit differently, just from posting more about it here. There is a wall behind one side of the dining room table where we could put some shelves up high enough that diners would not bump their heads (even Paul!). If we had shelves up there, I could put the hotel pans that we use for larger events (occasional use, not every day use) up there. Then, the bins where the hotel pans currently reside, could be removed from under the shelves by the dining room window. Maybe a cast iron pan shelving system or rollable rack could go under there. Hmmm.

Even if I had that space for cast iron pans, I think I'd still want to hang the lighter pans and collander/strainers, etc. from above the island. Our other pans are in the cupboard under the island. If that opened up, I think it would be a perfect spot to install slats (vertical separators of some kind) to hold baking sheets, cooling racks, cutting boards, the large pan lids. Putting the latter two in that cupboard would free up even more counter space!

 
Jay Angler
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I'm much happier about the concept of hanging lighter things. If you were prepared to have nicely painted labels above the hooks, visitors might even put things back in the right places.  

Have you considered having a lighter rack on a pulley system?  That way it can be at a comfortable height for short cooks when needed, but can be pulled right up to the ceiling so it doesn't block light or views when it's not in active use? If it was a round one and had a Hanging Plant Pot swivel just above the tools, it could be spun like a Lazy Susan to bring the tool to the person.
 
Those are the largest trousers in the world! Especially when next to this ad:
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