This is my very first skillet. And as such, I ignored many things to take better care of it.
I just read at "6 cast iron pan myths busted":
There are only two ways to really screw up a cast-iron pan.
1) Not rubbing it down with oil before storing it after use and
2) Getting it very hot and then dumping water into it which can form cracks.
Well, guess what I had been doing "regularly"?
Have a look at these photos I shot to show its condition:
This one below shows some scrapped dried grape-seed oil I had just started cooking with. Contrary to the olive oil I was using before, this one drys up and leaves this coating on the sides.
So I wanted to know, is this skillet worth salvaging?
Or am I better off getting a new one and take better care of it?
I have had several cast iron skillets that looked much worse. I just take steel wool to them, clean them up as well as possible, put a good coating of oil on them and they are good as new. If they are bone-dry (or just to be on the safe side), you can always start the seasoning process over again. As long as you didn't crack the cast iron, you should be just fine.
"People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do."
I think the only time a cast iron skillet is ruined is if it's cracked, and that only prevents it from being used to cook things containing liquids or fats. I'd be willing to bet a cracked cast iron pan can still bake a thick corn bread batter. Even so, a cracked pan can always be repurposed to live another life as something else, like a doorstop or boat anchor.
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James Freyr wrote:I think the only time a cast iron skillet is ruined is if it's cracked, and that only prevents it from being used to cook things containing liquids or fats. I'd be willing to bet a cracked cast iron pan can still bake a thick corn bread batter. Even so, a cracked pan can always be repurposed to live another life as something else, like a doorstop or boat anchor.
This is great forum!
Thanks for sharing that James :)
My obsessive searching for information on this led me to this page which compares many different oils for their different strengths and weaknesses. Of note is "Grape Seed Oil" where they make the following comment "One caution: it's a fast drying oil so you want to clean up splatter right away because cleaning will be a lot harder in a few days. On the other hand, this makes it very good for seasoning bare steel and cast iron cookware." - this is the only oil where they even mention cast iron.
So I tried grape seed oil for a couple of months. Everything started to get a gummy residue on it. I have switched back to bacon squeezins, palm oil and sunflower oil. I'm looking around for organic lard (since I'm not raising pigs right now).
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Karen Donnachaidh wrote:There's lots of good information in Paul's Cast-iron Skillet Article. In regards to grape seed oil, ...
Thanks for sharing this.
I love learning that grape seed oil is great for the cast iron seasoning process.
I'll try palm oil and sunflower oil for cooking.
Too bad I had just bought 1.5 gl worth of grape seed oil at Costco :(
I had read somewhere that the olive oil is great for salads, but not healthy when brought to high heat. Contrary to grape seed oil.
I find an angle grinder with a wire wheel on it works better (and much easier) than steel wool or sandpaper. I have a flea market selling friend who always soaks dirty, crusty cast in lye and water for several days, to get it clean to sell. We use tallow or fat to season.
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I have found cast iron pans, inside crack houses that I am tearing down. Three of them had quite a quantity of food in them, that was allowed to sit for months. It was a moldy mess. I scraped out the crap, and put them all in the oven, with it set on the cleaning cycle. It all flaked off, and I was effectively working with new pans again.
That little bit of rusty crusty isn't a problem at all. Don't you dare go wasting your hard earned money on a new pan! That pan is going to be beautiful.
I use kosher salt and a paper towel to wipe my messy cast iron pans out. The salt is big enough to be abrasive -- all you need is some elbow grease.
The bigger problem is dropping a hot pan into cold water. Yikes -- that sends a shiver down my spine. Did you warp it? Does it sit flat on the kitchen counter, or does it rock now? Once you warp a pan, you can't fix that.
Scrub that gunk off and re-season it. Stick it in a hot oven or on the gas BBQ and wipe a bit of oil on it every 30 minutes or so. I just use a folded paper towel and wipe the fat onto the hot surface. Then, if you really want to get it looking lovely, go to the grocery store and buy a nice fatty pork roast. Season the roast with a bunch of salt and some black pepper, perhaps a couple sprigs of rosemary. Then plop that big beautiful piece of meat into the pan and cook it 375 for 30 minutes till you get a nice dark crust on it, and then turn the heat way down to 200 for another hour or two. The meat will have that lovely, salty crust on the outside, and will be tender and lovely inside. But as you cook that bad boy, all that lovely pork fat will be splattering all over your pan (and your oven). Let it run down the sides, and coat the inside as well as outside of your pan.
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Palm oil use is something you might want to read about. I lot of forests are burnt down to produce Palm oil
In addition to its impacts on the climate, conventional palm oil development causes severe damage to the landscape of Borneo and Sumatra and has been linked to issues such as land erosion and the pollution of rivers. The root systems of rainforest trees help to stabilise the soil and therefore if the forests are cleared, land ...
John Daley Bendigo, Australia
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