best way to clean and season cast iron

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Ang in AZ, Oct 4, 2004.

  1. Ang in AZ

    Ang in AZ Active Member

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    what is the best way to clean and season cast iron? Yesterday I found a Lodge skillet at a thrift store. Looks like it wasn't used too much. but needs a cleaning. and will it need to be seasoned ?

    Thanks, Ang
     
  2. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    Clean it by either putting it through a self-cleaning cycle in your oven or tossing it in a woodstove or campfire and letting it "burn" for an hour or so.

    To season, I wipe the entire piece with Crisco and "bake" it in the oven at about 250 degrees for an hour or more. Then I repeat the process.

    You may want to do a search regarding this topic as it has been asked about a bazillion times. (I'm beginning to sound like Moopups!)
     

  3. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    Herself has a large collection of cast iron cookware. She always burns off any buildup over our outside firepit, and then after its has been srubbed, she puts the coats the piece with cooking oil and puts it in a very warm oven a few times.
     
  4. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    :) Hi! Try the "search" function on the forum and you will indeed get lots of replies on care.

    That said I can tell you how NOT to care for them..LOL When my cousin was recovering from surgery and her dh was doing the cooking, he thought he'd help her out and clean her cast iron dutch oven. She smelled something horrible coming from the kitchen, struggled painfully out of bed and saw smoke coming from the oven.

    Opening the oven door, there was her much loved dutch oven, empty, with this awful smell coming from it. When her dh came zooming in the door to find out what was wrong she yelled at him about ruining her dutch oven. His feelings were really hurt as he had payed close attention to her when she had cautioned him in the past about not letting the cast iron rust and always protecting it with oil. Well, he protected it allright..he coated it with WD-40! LOL

    LQ
     
  5. DW

    DW plains of Colorado Supporter

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    To season I use solid type shortening because I think the oil makes it sticky.
     
  6. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    I clean cast iron by using hickory chips to build a coal bed inside the pot and let it burn out over night outside. When cool, I wash it with soap and a scour pad and coat it with beef tallow and oven cure it at 400 degrees until its blackened and glazed. A bit of honey mixed into the tallow helps to carmelize the tallow glaze.
     
  7. Ang in AZ

    Ang in AZ Active Member

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    Thank you for your responses. I will do a search

    Ang
     
  8. almostthere

    almostthere Well-Known Member

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    Well, he protected it allright..he coated it with WD-40!


    Well, bless his heart!!!!

    :haha: :haha: :haha: :haha:
     
  9. oberhaslikid

    oberhaslikid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I did a few pieces I bought for my sister at a yard sale,on the grill out side and they turned out ok.Clean the piece and then coat it with crisco and place on the grill and let it bake till the smoke stops and turned the fire off and let set till the next day.
     
  10. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    oh no wd 40 !!!

    hehehe, must have been a good day to look for cast iron , but i had the opposite, i went to a new flea market in town , and found 2 "wagners 1891 origninal brand" cast iron skillets , they were priced 90 and 100.00 respectively , i was laughing and smiling to myself, and the lady asked if everythign was ok , she got pretty miffed when i explained her "antique" cast iron skillets were about 15-16 years old ..... she said her grandma died last year and left them too her, i said, yeah , she probobly bought them the year before she died !

    she got pretty miffed BOUT THAT, , and for the life of me , i cant see why ...
    LOL
    she said they were her grandmothers, who had gotten them from her mother, and were AT LEAST 100 years old .....i didnt have the heart to tell her the wagners pans she was talking about had the "seasoning instructions and the word "original"" on them, and wagners didnt start casting them with that on it till the 1990's

    but ,,,,, so thats life !
     
  11. UpstateNY

    UpstateNY Active Member

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    I prefer cast iron when I am cooking. My wife loves her reverware. Anyway, for years I was buying cast iron and cleaning and seasoning. The basics have been covered, but please be warned that my newly seasoned iron is ok but not that great. unlike other things new is not good when it comes to cast iron cookware. So, follow the advice and season the cookware as described, but when you go to use it realize that seasoning is just the first step. Using it and caring for it after that is the next and most benificial step. cast is some tough stuff, so go ahead use a metal spatula and scrap away (something that non-stick teflon people fear, hence all the plastic utensils out there). After use let the pan get hot, burn that stuff and give it a scrap to knock the big chunks off. Next wash with soap and a sponge, (I try to avoid brillo pads etc. usually the heat and scrap have taken care of that) then using a paper towel I put a light coat of veg. oil on it (as light as I can). Sometime I put away then other times I will warm the pan and give it another rub down with a dry towel. (depends on mood and time) The point is that by using the cast iron, clean but not scrubbing back to pure metal with scouring pads and putting a light coat of oil on after use in time they just get better and better and better. The first couple years my wife hated them, I was smoking up the house seasoning them, they burned food and everything stuck. Now she is starting to use them more and more. Her reverware is getting old and my cast is just coming on. lol Time and use are the best seasoning for cast iron. Do not give up on that newly seasoned pan, give it time and it will only improve. Time also explains why I have a royal fit if I find one of my pans left outside (I have kids also) and it is rusted. Because that means I have to go back to step one, re-season and wait again for that pan to come back to prime. Seasoning, to "season" invokes the idea of giving something time to improve.
    "Seasoning" in one or two steps is a contridiction, time and use will season your pans. So start your pans off using one of the above methods, but realize that this is just step one to an ongoing seasoning of your cast iron.
     
  12. whiterock

    whiterock Well-Known Member Supporter

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    After my house burned the only thing to come out of the ashes was VERY rusted cast iron. I used a wire brush on a drill to clean the rust off before starting the seasoning process. My great gradmother's muffin pans looked like "new" after the first seasoning session.
     
  13. ratherbefishin

    ratherbefishin Well-Known Member

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    I found[after many years of looking] an old cast Iron waffle maker- really rusty.I bought a couple of 2 liter bottles of Coke and soaked it in that for a couple of days- then a lye bath.A few minutes with a stiff wire brush restored it beautifully, then coating it with vegetable oil and overnight in the oven completed the job.I replaced the wooden handles and it;s making waffles just as good as the day it came from the foundry 100 years ago-and will for another 100 years.
     
  14. Lt. Wombat

    Lt. Wombat Well-Known Member

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    Ang you have it made as for seasoning it. Being you're in AZ just leave it outside during summer and it will probably get hot enough to cook with, let alone for seasoning it :haha:
     
  15. Mel-

    Mel- Well-Known Member

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    my mother and grandmother told me never to use soap on cast iron. to cook it off if you couldn't scrub it off, the soap would cut through the seasoning and you'd have to start over.

    mel-
     
  16. ibcnya

    ibcnya Well-Known Member

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    I was raised with cast iron skillets and recently my mother who says what she thinks asked me and the wife why we cooked with that old junk. Ha! And she grew up with cast iron. Go figure.
     
  17. Mudwoman

    Mudwoman Well-Known Member

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    There is a restaurant/catering service in Utah that uses cast iron for cooking all their food. Wonderful pots that seem like teflon. We used them to cater a family birthday and so, I asked the guy how they do it.

    At first only use your cast iron for frying. Fry bacon, fry sausage, fry fish, fry hamburgers etc.

    Never clean with soap and water. Only hot water. Then recoat with oil before storing. Soap removes the oil that is needed for seasoning. The whole idea of "seasoning" is to get the oil/grease in all the pores of the skillet and hardened.

    Never use water/acid based foods in your cast iron until it is fully seasoned or you will be starting all over. Soups with tomatoes are a no-no for a while. After acidic foods, you will need to only use your cast iron for frying for a couple of times to restore the "seasoning" Any acidic food will remove some of the oil/grease from the surface.

    I now have a skillet that is just wonderful. Took me a year of frying only in it. I have another one that I have only used for baking cornbread and I put oil in it and heat it in the oven before I put in the batter. After 2 years, it is wonderful. Both are like cooking on teflon. I have another skillet that I have been working on and it isn't there yet, but it is so tempting to use the other ones.
     
  18. Wilbur

    Wilbur Well-Known Member

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    ROTFLMAO!!! I am sorry- I put this post headline and the one beneath it together when I was reading and saw the title:

    "best way to clean and season a cat"!! :haha: :haha:

    I almost fell over! LOL Sorry- just had to say that I am glad I mis-read it!